The New York Times wrote an article back in August 2020, with the headline “How Much Is An Album Worth in 2020: $3.49? $77? $1,000? Maybe $0.”
Tool announced a price of $810 USD for the “Fear Inoculum” Ultra-Deluxe vinyl version. The version, includes five discs of 180-gram vinyl, with music on one side and etched art on the other. The sets are also autographed, but are only available to fans who bought the Toolarmy VIP tickets to the forthcoming dates on their tour. In other words, they are seriously exclusive.
Go to Discogs and you will see physical albums (vinyl especially) selling for a lot higher than what they are worth or purchased for.
Wu-Tang Clan made just one copy of “Once Upon A Time In Shaolin” and auctioned it off for $2 million dollars in 2015 to Martin Shkreli who lost it when the Feds seized his assets in 2018. While this was more gimmick and marketing and not for every artist, it definitely opened up the minds of artists.
While it was always known by the fans, it also became a common viewpoint amongst the artists that purchasing “physical” music is not always about the listening experience to the fan, but a valuable artefact to own. In other words, if the artists stopped chasing the mass and focused on the core to provide them with Super Deluxe releases, we’ll they could make some serious money.
Ask David Coverdale. He has commemorated major album releases with fantastic box sets for the super fans who all paid higher than expected.
Metallica have been doing the same.
Def Leppard have been doing large box sets of time periods. Slaughter are now doing deluxe Vinyl editions of albums. Gene Simmons unleashed “The Vault”. Sell a 1000 of them at $1000 dollars and that’s a cool million.
Each artist has a fan base who will either pay nothing for music or will pay for the normal album release or would stream or would pay a lot more for a Limited Edition Deluxe version.
Like how I paid $129USD ($259AUD with postage included) for the new Coheed and Cambria Super Deluxe album. The band has no problems moving 20,000 units at that price and that’s a cool $2.58 million.