Warner Music Group’s Rhino Records has announced a high-fidelity “quarterly premium vinyl series” that’s kicking off with reissues of The Cars’ eponymous 1978 debut album and John Coltrane’s Coltrane’s Sound (1964).
Rhino reached out to Digital Music News with word of the Hi-Fi vinyl series today, making clear off the bat that each of the two quarterly releases will be available to purchase exclusively through its website. Additionally, the WMG subsidiary emphasized that the involved records, contrasting the majority of vinyl today, will pull from analog masters as opposed to digital versions.
Of course, it was only last week that a judge approved an estimated $25 million settlement from Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab, which was named in a class-action lawsuit (and subjected to ample audiophile criticism) over alleged misrepresentations. Specifically, the company is alleged to have attached an “Original Master Recording” label to products that incorporated “direct stream digital” into the production process.
But Rhino Hi-Fi vinyl is being “cut from the original analog master tapes by” veteran mastering engineer Kevin Gray, per the reissue product descriptions of The Cars and Coltrane’s Sound, which are limited to 5,000 numbered copies apiece.
Priced at $39.98 (plus another $7.99 for shipping and handling), the 180-gram Optimal-pressed records at hand will likewise boast “glossy covers and ‘tip-on’ jackets,” according to Rhino.
Plus, the products are expected to feature “exclusive content,” referring here to “a new interview with guitarist Elliot Easton” as well as “producer Roy Thomas Baker’s tracking notes for ‘Good Times Roll’” with The Cars. Coltrane’s Sound, on the other hand, will per Rhino include “notes and images from the master tapes” and “an archival essay by legendary producer Tom Dowd.”
Rhino is set to announce its next Hi-Fi releases “in the coming weeks,” higher-ups disclosed, and the project represents just the latest in a line of recent efforts to capitalize upon strong vinyl demand in the United States, Japan, and a number of different markets.
March saw Metallica purchase a 70,000-square-foot pressing facility, for instance, whereas Universal Music’s Interscope Records earlier in May unveiled a collection of (extremely) limited-edition vinyl from acts including Billie Eilish, Nine Inch Nails, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, Lady Gaga, Dr. Dre, Blackpink, Lana Del Rey, Machine Gun Kelly, and 50 Cent.
Superfans willing to part with $2,500 – neither taxes nor an approximately $12.50 shipping charge is included in the massive price tag – can purchase the products, which are said to feature Gucci-designed packaging and new artwork crafted by high-profile visual artists. Net profits will be donated to the Iovine and Young Foundation, per Interscope.