Frank Ocean’s 2016 album Blonde is one of the greatest studio albums of recent years. But why is Blonde so expensive to own on vinyl?
Copies of the original 2016 pressing typically fetch upwards of $500, with the second pressing often selling for north of $150.
The record is generally recognised as the most-coveted vinyl release of the last decade. It is currently ranked as the most-wanted record on Discogs’ database.
There are a few simple reasons why this iconic record is so expensive. Let’s dive in and find out why.
The first reason why Blonde is so expensive on vinyl is limited supply. As with pretty much all rare and expensive vinyl, the primary reason why it’s expensive is because relatively few exist.
Let’s find out more about the distinctive features of the two official pressings that exist.
The first pressing
The Blonde vinyl was first dropped on Frank Ocean’s website on 25 November 2016, and it was only available for 24 hours. It was priced at $35, and came with a gatefold sleeve, a poster, and a lyric sheet.
It is unknown how many copies were sold, but many fans reported an extremely long shipping time (the website stated it would be 8-12 weeks – it was often longer), with some receiving damaged copies, and some failing to receive the item at all.
The first pressing can generally be recognised by the fact that the title is spelled Blond instead of Blonde, and in the image, Frank has a bandage on his finger.
Depending on their condition, original first pressings tend to sell for around $500, but occasionally sell for up to $1,500.
In December 2022, Frank Ocean finally restocked the record, releasing a limited number from his website.
The second official pressing of Blonde featured two additional tracks – an alternative take of ‘Nikes’ and the track ‘Mitsubishi Sony.’
These second edition pressings tend to sell for around $150 to $200.
Other Blonde pressings
There are a number of other versions of the Blonde vinyl in circulation, but pressings have only been officially released twice on Frank’s website.
Unfortunately, there are many bootleg copies of the album in circulation, so be wary of imitations. As you will see on the record’s Discogs page, many fans have been scammed.
Aside from the fact that there are very few copies of Frank’s original Blonde vinyl, one important reason why Blonde is so expensive is its cult status.
Blonde is routinely touted as one of the best albums not just of 2016, but of the whole decade.
The record’s dreamy and psychedelic atmosphere, its touching and introspective lyrics, and Frank’s brilliant ability to blend elements of indie with R&B and hip-hop have given it a wide appeal.
Fans and critics love this iconic album, which only adds to its desirability.
It’s probably fair to say that in addition to Blonde‘s scarcity and its artistic brilliance, Frank Ocean’s general mystique adds to the appeal that the record holds.
The fact that he only made the record available for 24 hours, his rare (and sometimes bizarre) public appearances, and the seemingly endless length of time it is taking him to release any new material all add to his mystique.
The artist won’t even tell us straight whether the record is called Blond or Blonde, only adding to the mystery.
The record has a great story, and the man behind the record is one of the great enigmas of the music industry today. This only adds to the desirability, and therefore the value of the rare Blonde vinyl.
All of these factors contribute to why Frank Ocean’s Blonde vinyl is so expensive.
You might also like: