Jack White launches bid to play first vinyl record in space

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With the aid of a ‘space-proof’ turntable and high-altitude balloon, the singer’s Third Man Records will try to beam Carl Sagan’s A Glorious Dawn from orbit

Jack White launches bid to play first vinyl record in space
Man on a mission … Jack White. Photograph: Jim Dyson/Redferns via Getty Images

Details of Jack White’s cosmic world record attempt have been confirmed: on 30 July, Third Man Records will bid to play the first vinyl record in space.

Following rumours of White’s astral ambitions, on Monday Third Man published a blog outlining plans to celebrate its seventh anniversary by playing a gold-plated 12-inch master of Carl Sagan’s A Glorious Dawn in orbit. The selection is described as “a moving arrangement of Sagan’s sagacious words, culled from his magnificent Cosmos series, previously pressed and distributed as a 7-inch in [Third Man’s] first year of operation, 2009”, and was chosen because it was the label’s three millionth record pressed.

It will be played via The Icarus Craft, a custom-built “space-proof” turntable attached to a high-altitude balloon designed by Kevin Carrico, who is responsible for assisting in the restoration of many of Third Man’s machines. Non-profit programme Satins – Students and Teachers in Near Space – will also assist with the mission.

To mark the occasion, Third Man will host parties at both its Cass Corridor and Nashville locations, in which fans can witness the mission, watch live bands and get hold of limited edition gold vinyl copies of the record. The launch will also be streamed online.

This is Third Man founder White’s latest world record attempt: in 2014 he recorded the fastest-released record with the song Lazaretto, while the album of the same name holds the record for most first-week vinyl sales since 1991. The White Stripes were formally recognised in the 2009 edition of the Guinness World Records for the shortest music concert ever after, on 16 July 2007, they played just one note at a gig in Canada. Following this, the judging panel received many applications from bands and performers seeking to beat the record, claiming that to appear on stage was enough to qualify. Much to White’s horror, the body eventually decided to scrap the shortest concert category.

“The nature of competing to make something the ‘shortest’ trivialises the activity being carried out, and Guinness World Records has been forced to reject many claims of this kind,” a spokesperson told NME at the time. “As such, we have been forced to cease listing records for the shortest song, shortest poem and indeed the shortest concert.”

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