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Music Collector Role Call

Monday, January 7, 2013

Music Collector Role Call

I was organizing some CD's on my shelf this afternoon, making room for new stuff, and a thought came to mind... It's awfully hard to NOT be a music collector sometimes. It's no secret that we get sent a lot of our music for review purposes, and these days it's almost always a stream or mp3s and not physical CD's, but I come from a generation where we bought our music in a physical form of some kind -- we got artwork on a disc and cover artwork, lyrics to pour over, etc. So even now, even if I have the music already in digital form, I often like to still collect the CD's and even vinyls from my favorite artists. This requires the "music collector" to buy music once, twice, sometimes more to "collect" everything available. (Like those artists with special editions exclusive to different retailers? That's just MEAN to the collector!)

I'll find myself at the merch table of a favorite artist or on their website, staring at that "limited edition EP" or "limited edition vinyl" release that contains music I already own and something nags inside:

"You gotta get this. You gotta get it now or never."

The rational mind shoots back, "But I have this already. Is there a better way to spend this $10.00?"

You find yourself looking up at the t-shirts at the merch table -- there's something you don't already have. But your music collector instinct pushes your gaze downward towards that special EP that's not available anywhere but at this artist's live show.

"I don't even really like that song," you tell yourself.

"But it's a collector's item! If you don't get it now, it'll be $75.00 on eBay in a couple months."

"...or 75 cents."


I realize this is an exaggerated (even silly) example, but I know there are others like me out there -- others who don't need that dang physical EP CD or limited edition vinyl but for some reason have GOT to have it.

Let me hear you, music collectors! Any other fans out there who can relate?

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1. Brandon said...

It's so wonderful to read this.

I'm certainly a physical CD collector. I don't understand the gratification of sitting at home, clicking a button, and spending money on a file that just downloads to your computer. It's about the experience of getting a disc, taking it out of the wrapper, seeing the artwork - actually holding it in your hand! You can't hold a digital file...

I admit the temptation is there. Amazon will release a new record for a sale price of $3.99 for the cheap! But I take myself to the record store and spend $12.00 on it or so, but that's where I get my enjoyment...having that physical copy. It's about more than just the sound that is going into your ears.

2. Susie said...

I definitely prefer having the physical cds, but don't have the money to buy things twice, alas. I do burn discs of my downloaded music though, just as a backup. Call me old fashioned. ;)

3. Gabriel Jones said...

I will never forget September 22, 1998 when I went to my local Christian book store and paid 21 dollars (worth every penny) for dc Talk's Supernatural. The digital music phenomenon has taken a bite out of the experience of buying music. As a friend of many album art designers, I know how discouraging it can be for them. I do, however, think that vinyl is starting to make a comeback and that's ALWAYS a good thing!

4. Aaron S. said...

John, I'm a collector much like yourself. However, I've had to become fairly selective about what I will buy on CD or vinyl due to financial constraints. "Fairly selective" means I've had to create a sort of 'ranking' for which bands I will most certainly buy a limited edition CD/vinyl from if they release one. While this makes it easier to decide what to buy, it doesn't help when it comes to band that are in a sort of gray area--particularly bands who release a preorder for a very limited edition vinyl version of an album that I haven't heard. I either take a risk and buy it ears-unheard or wait, and often that's resulted in regret when it sells out and ends up on eBay.

That said, I do wish more of the bands I enjoy would start releasing limited edition vinyl (Sanctus Real, get on that!)

When it comes to buying special versions only available at shows for a band I like, that's a no-brainer: buy them. Support the band by purchasing merch like that.

My one main regret was missing out on buying House of Heroes' Suburba vinyl package that came with the B-sides EP on CD. I later tracked down the vinyl version of Suburba but have never found that B-sides CD. Help me out someone :)

5. Terry said...

I am a firm believer in physical copy. As a kid growing up in the 70's i was into Kiss, Aerosmith,Ted Nugent etc. The first record album i ever bought was Kiss "Alive". It was a 2 record set with a huge booklet on the inside.I remember listening to it and looking at the live pictures of the band inside.Although i listen to different music these days i still get a thrill when i buy a new CD,open that thing up, read the lyrics and check out the art work,as im listening to it.To me the packaging is part of the product as a whole. I love to see bands like Demon Hunter for example who place a lot of thought and importance on packaging.There is a lot that can be discovered about album through reading the lyrics and examining the artwork, things that cannot be discovered through simply downloading a file. Yes I do buy downloads when i have no choice, but physical product wins out hands down for me.
CDs with great packaging,just to name a few:
Starflyer 59- "Gold"
Saviour Machine- "Legend"
The Violet Burning- "The Story Of Our Lives"
The Choir- "Burning Like The Midnight Sun"
Mars Ill- "Backbreakanomics"

6. Phil H. said...

I totally know exactly what you are talking about. I would much rather pay more for the physical album than just have it in a digital format (I just shelled out $ this past week for the new SF 59 album on vinyl JUST because I didn't want just the download). And I also know the feeling of thinking back and wishing you had bought that certain CD/EP/Vinyl at a show or something (I am still to this day looking for FF5's Dance or Die on vinyl and Stavesacre's Against the Silence EP). I think I'd rather regret spending the $ at the time than regretting not buying it and having to search for possibly years for that certain item.

7. Ethan+C said...

Man this is totally me. Most of the Best Buys and things near me are slowly shrinking their physical music selection and it's killing me. I can't stand digital music. There's so much about the experience of going to a store an looking through what they have until you find the right album. Fighting that annoying plastic shrink wrap and the security stickers until you're finally hit by that new cd smell of ink and plastic before diving into the liner notes and laughing at the band member's absurd special thanks notes.

Stinkin Itunes

8. Scott Fryberger said...

Albums I own on vinyl and at least one other format (in no particular order, except the order I see them on my shelf):
Showbread - Who Can Know It? (vinyl, special edition cd/dvd, digital)
Sleeping Giant - Sons of Thunder (vinyl, digital)
Underoath - They're Only Chasing Safety (vinyl, special edition cd/dvd)
Mumford & Sons - Sigh No More (vinyl, cd)
Owl City - Ocean Eyes (vinyl, digital, cd)
Owl City - All Things Bright and Beautiful (vinyl, digital)
Project 86 - Wait for the Siren (vinyl, cd)
mewithoutYou - Ten Stories (vinyl, cd)
Gideon - Milestone (vinyl, digital)
Hands - Give Me Rest (vinyl, digital)
As Cities Burn - Son, I Loved You At Your Darkest (vinyl, cd)
Jars of Clay - The Long Fall Back To Earth (vinyl, cd)
Listener - Wooden Heart (vinyl, cd, digital)
mewithoutYou - It's All Crazy! (vinyl, cd, digital)
Adele - 21 (vinyl, cd, digital)
Anberlin - Dark is the Way, Light is a Place (vinyl, cd, digital)
Andrew Huang - Love & Desolation (vinyl, cd, digital)
David Crowder*Band - Give Us Rest (vinyl, cd, digital)
The Ember Days - Emergency (vinyl, digital)
Emery - The Weak's End (vinyl, cd)
Foster the People - Torches (vinyl, digital)
xLooking Forwardx - Down With The Ship (vinyl, digital)

9. BunnySlippersMan said...

Hahaha yeah John that's me! I've bought many a CD just cuz its limited. I LOVE physical copies, especially when I open up the booklet to see a free poster or something.

10. Michael+Weaver said...

John... You get me, brother.

11. Ian DeVaney said...

I'm the same way. I usually refrain from buying special addition albums if I already have the original, but I always buy physical copies of my favorite albums.
I love flipping through the album artwork and reading all of the lyrics whenever I get a new album. Plus, I never have to worry about losing my music if my computer crashes, and I can upload the music in a higher quality format than low quality mp3s.
I'll occasionally buy a second copy of an album if it comes out on vinyl as well.
I can't understand why people prefer digital downloads over physical copies. I hate iTunes, and the only way that I ever buy music off of it is if I can't get a hold of the album anywhere else.

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