Jack White's "Freedom at 21" flexi-disc

In his eternal quest to find new and imaginative ways to produce and distribute vinyl records, the irrepressible Jack White recently distributed a 1,000-copy limited edition flexi-disc by way of helium balloons. You read that right. White's label Third Man Records printed 1,000 copies of a flexi-disc containing his song "Freedom at 21", one of the tracks from his debut solo album Blunderbuss (which will be released this Tuesday, April 24th). The flexi-discs were attached to blue helium balloons that were released into the air from the Third Man Records lot in Nashville on April 1st, leaving them to land where they may. Only a few copies have been accounted for (see details at the Third Man site). However, at least one of the flexi-discs has been sold on eBay for an astonishing amount of money. Here is what the Third Man site has to say about it:

On April 17th, an eBay auction for a copy of Third Man’s balloon-launched “Freedom at 21” flexi-disc realized a price of $4238.88. As far as can be discerned, this is the highest price ever paid for a flexi-disc record, topping out usual benchmarks from obscure Japanese hardcore singles of the early 80’s and Beatles fan-club Christmas offerings. Of the 1000 balloons launched, only a handful have been discovered so far. This release will surely continue to rival such rarities as hand-painted Dead Weather singles, 3rpm LPs and Triple-Decker records as yet another in a long-line of collectible, investible, hard-to-find vinyl from the folks at Third Man Records.

I must say I am amused by the unconventional way of distributing the disc; it gives whole new meaning to the term "record release". And, needless to say, I am jealous of the lucky people who have found copies of the flexi-disc on the ground and are selling them for big bucks on eBay. It's like money falling out of the sky during tough economic times.

What the disc's buyers on eBay are paying for is the novelty value of the physical item. The song itself is only going to be a rarity for a few more days until April 24th, when Blunderbuss will be released.

The song "Freedom at 21" sounds like one that could have been recorded by the Dead Weather, with an instrumental portion that is reminiscent of the White Stripes’ “Icky Thump”. With a simple yet powerful guitar riff and controlled drumming, the song uses slightly gruesome lyrical metaphors (much like that of the album’s first single “Love Interruption”) to describe a devil-may-care modern woman.

Jack White "Freedom at 21" (flexi-disc) (Third Man TMR 144) 2012

Track Listing:

a. Freedom at 21