In a tidy shop courtyard next to St Albans’ famous cathedral, a small independent record store is about to release a vinyl record that a band hopes could become the most expensive record ever made in the UK.
Only a physical copy of prolific indie band The Pocket Gods’ latest album, Vegetal Digital, was made and sold for £1m on their hometown Empire Records.
The “most expensive” charts in the music industry often throw out world-renowned artists such as the rolling stones, Madonna And U2 (the most expensive tour), and songs like Michael and Janet Jackson’s 1995 hit Scream (the most expensive music video ever), it seems like an unlikely feat.
But Hertfordshire frontman Mark Christopher Lee is confident they will find a buyer.
Why are they taking their chances?Well, they’ve long been protesting what they say is that Spotify and other streaming services don’t pay musicians fair royalties — an issue raised by well-known stars, including Taylor Swift Last few years, This is also the subject of the 2021 UK survey.
Emphasizing the fact that it only takes 30 seconds for a song to trigger a streaming payment, The Pocket Gods has been recording songs of this length since 2015; only The Rich Can Tour and We’re All No Hit Wonders Now are the ones you can One of the rapid-fire tracks found in the catalog behind them.
But Lee said it’s time to “stop complaining about Spotify” and do something productive to help artists and songwriters. So if a Vegetal Digital were to sell for £1m, the proceeds would be used to fund a new rival, Nubplay, an ‘ethical’ streaming platform.
It sounds ambitious, but the musician said he believes the record could be sold out within weeks.
‘Action speaks louder than words’
“A person who has a lot of money and wants to do something good with it,” he told Sky News, thinking about what kind of people might invest. “It’s a crazy world we’re entering…but we’re getting our feet wet and we want to create a better future for artists and songwriters. We talk about a great game, but actions speak louder than words, which That’s our goal” to do it again.
“Over the years, music – a lot of art – has depreciated. I can’t imagine a world without it.”
Lee said Nubplay will guarantee to pay artists and songwriters at least 1p in royalties per stream. “That doesn’t sound like much, but it’s 50 times the current rate we get from Spotify.”
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Founded in 1998 at Tower Records in London, The Pocket Gods is said to have been championed over the years by the likes of the late John Peel and Steve Lamacq, and broke the Guinness World Record for the most digitally released studio albums (75) and most songs on digital albums.
In early 2022, the band – now made up of founding members Lee (vocals and guitar) and Noel Storey (keys), Simon Herries (bass) and former Searchers drummer Scott Ottaway – released the album Nobody Makes Money Anymore, an album There are 1000 people 30 – is the second track.
“It’s going very well, and it’s spreading around the world,” Li said. “It has almost a million streams, which sounds really, really good, but we have about £450 in royalties. So, no, it’s not a great moneymaker, but it has gained us a lot of fans and helped us come up with this problem.”
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With the release of Vegetal Digital, the band will remove their backup catalog from the streaming service; if it does sell for £1m, it could become the most expensive album ever made in the UK. However, American hip-hop group Wudangpai’s seventh album “Shaolin Past” has won the title of the most expensive in the world.
As an early stance against streaming, the group made only one physical copy, which it sold to pharma executive Martin Shkreli in 2015 for $2 million (about £1.3 million at the time). However, Shkreli was jailed in 2017 – and last year, the US government confirmed it had sold the one-of-a-kind album to help pay off the $7.36 million the businessman forfeited after being convicted of fraud.
According to a 2019 article by the music company HMV, the top five most expensive album charts were The Beatles; “Once Upon a Time in Shaolin” was followed by The Beatles (white album), Elvis Presley’s “My Happiness” , Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the double fantasy of John Lennon and Yoko Ono.
But could Vegetal Digital be an unlikely contender for second place?Sold for £1m, will be ahead of Ringo Starr Auctioned in December 2015 for $790,000 (about £521,000 at the time).
“I’m excited to see and hear it,” said Empire Records manager Dave Burgess. “Of course we didn’t [a record selling at this price] forward. It’s really fun and exciting. I took the opportunity to get on board. “
Lee is documenting the band’s unique story in a film called Inspired The 30 Second Song Movie, which will be released in December.
He hopes the million-pound sale will be part of that. Can you invest in big name artists?
“Well, I did message Taylor Swift on Instagram to invite her to the launch,” he said. “Maybe we’ll see her there.”
Vegetal Digital by The Pocket Gods is on sale from Tuesday, October 4th, exclusively at Empire Records in St Albans