Monday, February 4, 2013

RANDONESS: Buying vinyl collections – a philosophical dilemma

February 4, 2013 By Mark Settle
Despite being a dedicated advocate of digital DJing, I still and always will find myself completely enamoured with vinyl. Not necessarily from an audio quality perspective (it’s not all brilliantly mastered and pressed), but from the viewpoint of it being real. It’s tangible, and there’s a real process in buying, playing and owning it. And with each piece of vinyl there is a memory – some bad (why in God’s name did I buy that without listening to it?), and some utterly amazing that are burned into my psyche as if they happened just yesterday.

So I find myself with a dilemma. My record collection isn’t that big, partly because I never had huge amounts of cash to buy just any old vinyl, nor the space to store it, but also because I was quite selective about what I bought. I had to like it before I dropped a large percentage of my tiny income on it. But now I have the new studio, and a ridiculous amount of space. Combine this with a renewed desire for tangible real things, I want to buy a lot of vinyl. But I find myself with an internal conflict. I could drop by eBay and bid on all manner of vinyl job lots with the sole intention of very rapidly building an expansive and enviable wall full of vinyl. But for me, this equates to the current malpractice of “collecting” hundreds of thousands of tracks across terabytes of drives for nothing more than bragging rights. To dredge up an old maxim, they would not be platters that matter.

So here I am with the headline philosophical dilemma – as much as I’d love to own an obscene amount of vinyl and post a ridiculous number of pictures on Facebook, I keep coming back this — to me music a very personal thing and not a just a commodity. So vinyl owners — where do you stand on this? Are you a hopeless vinyl junkie who absolutely has to have any  old vinyl? Or are you a tad more sentimental and selective about your collection? Would you rather know each and every record in your collection and tell the story behind each of them? Or do you want to pull a muscle pose in front of a wall of vinyl regardless of what it is?


 ** Librarian Notes: I think early on I was just a collector of Jungle/DnB vinyl because buying it was difficult in the Mid-West. When I first moved to DC in the 2000's and DnB / vinyl was falling out of favor I would buy full collections without regard for who was making the music as long as it was Jungle / DnB. Though this buying spree I've made up the bulk of my collection. During this phase I've meet some awesome people, heard loads of tales about the days of old and amassed an excellent collection of classics.

Now I'm going though the process of encoding my vinyl which has allowed me to gain some perspective to my collection. Both finding amazing tracks I did not know that I owned and weeding out tracks that are not my cup of tea. Eventually I will sell them or give them away but thats natural I suppose, spring cleaning? ba ha. Eventually I want my collection to be the musical foundation for "any and all of my children (if I'm so blessed)". When I pass I hope to pass it along to them or someone else who I believe in. I wish to do this because my beginnings as a DJ started this way, a DJ I respected said take whatever you like. BA HA he may not have expected me to take so much but he ever questioned it and I'm still indebted to him for that. Thanks Douglas Black.

 -The Librarian

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