How Bob Dylan Is Testing Music In The Fine Art Market This Summer

Photo: AFP

Bob Dylan revealed this spring that he recorded a new version of "Blowin' in the Wind" to be auctioned off this summer to one single buyer, via Christie's Auction House.

The new version of "Blowin' in the Wind" was recorded and mastered for a revolutionary new audio medium called Ionic Original, an analog format that represents "the pinnacle of recorded sound."

The song will head to auction on July 7. It's expected to sell for between $700,000 and $1,200,000.

Dylan's longtime collaborator T Bone Burnett revealed to Variety in a new interview that the Ionic Original project is meant to restore value to music and challenge the idea that music needs to be "mass produced."

Original canvasses from visual artists are often sold at auction for hefty sums; why can't musicians do the same? they reason.

"There are two things I think it is important to know for people who are concerned about the exclusivity of what we are doing," Burnett explained. "An Ionic Original is not a 'copy.' It is an original recording. We are not contriving scarcity. This is actually scarce. It is a unique, handmade, original recording. We have all been conditioned to accept the terms of and react to things from the frame of mass production. This is not that."

Recorded music has been increasingly devalued over the past two decades, Burnett continued. Ionic Originals are one way musicians can take matters into their own hands, bringing music into the fine art market.

"Because music is to the United States as wine is to France — it's the most valuable and important part of our culture," he said. "And for the last 25 - 30 years, we've had parts of the audience telling us that we ought to put our music out for free. This is a chance for us as artists to work at complete autonomy."

Burnett confirmed that he and Dylan have recorded more Ionic Originals, but he would not say how many. "Blowin' in the Wind" was chosen as the first release because of its historic relevance and transcendent appeal.

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