I’m a huge fan of records in the vinyl format. Well, it seems I have finally hit the mother lode as far as organizations go that are interested in keeping alive the vinyl format and doing wonderful new creative things for it. This organization is the Third Man record label, led by SuperGenius Jack White, founder of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, and The Dead Weather.

Five years ago, when there weren’t hundreds of articles gushing about the comeback of vinyl, Jack White, with his band The White Stripes, came up with a brilliant idea for releasing some their singles in a new way. They placed an order with Japanese company 8-Ball Bandai to purchase about 1000 small record players — specially made to play three-inch vinyl records. The records could only hold one song on one side and the player was called the “Triple Inchophone.”

In a time where every other company was focused on how many songs they could cram into every millimeter, Jack was more interested in making great art and something small and pretty. Unfortunately, due to miscommunication, all but 400 record players were destroyed and now the players can be found with all the tiny records pressed by Jack for over a thousand dollars on eBay.

Last week, Jack launched a bold new initiative, leaving me once again wondering where the fertile mind of Jack White might go next. A club space in Nashville, present home of Third Man Records, has been set up with carefully calibrated reel to reel tape recorders and other equipment.

Artists on the label, starting with the Dex Romweber Duo this last Thursday, will perform in the space, and anyone in attendance will be given the chance to purchase a pressing of that evening’s performance on beautiful blue and black vinyl.

Afterward, anyone will be able to go to the store they have set up there to buy the concert — but strictly on all black vinyl. In other words, only people in attendance will be able to get the colored vinyl. To me, this is supreme genius.


  1. Is Jack White more about music or marketing? His live and recorded musical style seems to prefer the scratchy sound of early Edison wax recordings and I don’t understand why that sheen of standoffishness is part of his musical want.
    Why is this “supreme genius?”

  2. Excellent question, David. The supreme genius to which I refer is in the idea of only selling the most exquisite colored vinyl to people who make the effort to trek out to the concerts themselves. In 2010, you can order practically anything you want online from an unlocked iPhone to a Russian bride — but you won’t be able to order these special albums from them!
    I think Jack is all about the music and getting it out to people — yet in an age when entire albums are downloaded in 10 minutes over a high speed connection, it’s nice to see some music that you can only treasure in a blue and black format. 🙂

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