Yes, Someone Is Actually Selling 24-Karat Gold CDs

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Sure, gold’s been going through the roof.

But 24-karat gold CDs? Yes, someone is actually doing this, predictably on legacy remasterings.  The company is Camarillo, CA-based Audio Fidelity, and the latest releases are James Taylor’s Sweet Baby James (1970) and Heart’s Greatest Hits (1998).  These are numbered, limited edition releases that will be available starting Tuesday (and part of a much larger collection).

Think that sounds ridiculous?  Well, not necessarily: for starters, not everyone is downloading discographies from Rapidshare or assembling playlists on Spotify, and there are plenty of older listeners who simply enjoy tangible discs and platters.  “The people who are in the audiophile world are ones that still want to sit down and listen to music – they don’t want to be moving, they don’t want to be in their cars, they just want to be sitting down and enjoying a cigar and a glass of wine and listening to an artist,” Audio Fidelity founder Marshall Blonstein recently told the Huffington Post.

This is that tribe of super-listening audiophiles, a group that often maintains impressive physical collections (and oftentimes an impressive bank account).  Exactly what the current market is for ultra-premium quality is a bit unclear, though Audio Fidelity may be exploiting a worthwhile niche.  Audio Fidelity also offers high-end DVDs and 180 gram LPs for vinyl connoisseurs.  Those generally receive pressings of about 5,000, with ‘virgin vinyl’ production the norm.

But how long can this party last?  Blonstein pointed to a demographic that is closer to “40” instead of “20,” and 40 frankly sounds young.  Which sort of resembles the live concert business, a sector drawing huge revenues from established, legacy artists, with lifelong fans willing to pay handsome premiums – for now.