On April 8, FACT reported that a copy of electronic pioneer Aphex Twin's album "Caustic Window" was available on Discogs for the very reasonable price of $13,500. (UPDATE: The disc has actually been up on Discogs for five years, as shown by comments dating back to 2009.)
The owner confirmed to FACT the authenticity of the records, which in turn was verified by initial dealer Rephlex Records via photos of the run-out groove, the non-grooved periphery of a record often used for edition identification.
Available only in test-pressing form -- "Caustic Window" was never released officially after it got to that stage in the production process in 1994 -- the LP is, understandably, extremely sought-after by Aphex Twin fans. After the LP was taken off Discogs, and then re-posted, online forum We Are the Music Makers (WATMM) proposed the idea of a Kickstarter to digitally distribute copies of "Caustic Window" for listeners who otherwise wouldn't be able to afford the hefty price tag.
Rephlex agreed to allow a license only to the first 500 people to contribute to the Kickstarter campaign. The WATMM administrator, known as Joyrex, negotiated the price down to $8,368, which means that those contributors would only need to pay about $16 per digital download (75 percent of forum voters agreed they would pay $25 for a digital copy of "Caustic Window").
Once the Kickstarter price is met, Joyrex will contract a high-quality digital rip of the LP, which they will then distribute after the physical LP itself is put up for auction on eBay (where, coincidentally, some Sun Ra master tapes are also available starting at $20,000). The proceeds from that transaction will go one-third to Rephlex/Aphex Twin as a royalty payment, one-third to the Kickstarter contributors, and one-third to a charity that "all will vote or agree upon."
"All agree that it’s a good chance to give the hardcore fans a unique chance to own something that will never see the light of day otherwise," he explained in his full statement to FACT.
It's probably only a matter of time before illegal copies of "Caustic Window" appear online, but the democratic process behind the distribution of the album restores at least some faith in the idea of actually paying money for music.