Why Collect Records?

Why Collect Records?

Record collecting is a strange hobby, people shouldn’t do it.

Not only does a top collection cost as much as your house, you need an extra house to store it in. Okay, that’s an exaggeration, but I live in a townhouse and my records take up half the space in my living room. When you’re in discussions with your partner about having to upsize to accommodate a hobby that already costs a small fortune...

Maybe the hobby is becoming a problem?

Being a self-indulgent fool with minimum responsibilities probably has a lot to do with it... it isn’t just that. I’ve had other habits, equally self-indulgent and detrimental. Some I've removed from my life entirely, others I may have a slightly more complicated relationship with, nonetheless, I manage. The record thing though… I’m a deep-fried, double glazed fiend with sprinkles on.

There are collectors out there who do it purely for the sound. I’ve listened to some high-end home systems while delivering records. There’s no doubt, the right rig and the right records fundamentally improve the listening experience. I get it. But mine’s a different obsession entirely.

My setup is relatively inexpensive (I stress the word relatively), it's definitely expensive enough that I have to consider it an indulgence. It's not like I’m one of those collectors that has cabinets full of mint condition, original release rarities or expensive audiophile pressings, either. I have a few of those. Mostly though, if I see music I like from the past on vinyl or hear something new that I want to get, I buy whatever release is available for a reasonable price. Rare and collectible versions if I can get them, they don’t even have to be in the best condition. If I go for a reissue, a numbered, limited box-set edition on coloured vinyl, if possible (I’m that kind of asshole). Ultimately though, my collection’s full of reissues on black and I’m happy with that.

Owning the music is the main thing, for me, and vinyl records are the best medium to do that. The larger artwork, the beauty of the records themselves and the elegant simplicity of turntables, make me feel like I have that music. I have it and it has a tangible place to exist in my life. A prominent place, to be sure. When I need my music – and that’s often – I know where to find it. That one positive aspect outweighs the all the negatives, for me. It's the reason I buy records when I could easily stream the music for free.

I stand by the original statement on this post: Record collecting is a strange hobby, and people shouldn't do it.

But I can't help it.

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