Is music collecting over? Bobby Owsinski, in his article Taking the Collecting Out of Music for Forbes, seems to think so:
In today’s streaming world of Spotify, YouTube and Pandora, the spirit of the music collector has been effectively killed. You might say that playlists are collections, but when there’s little in the way of a financial or physical expenditure in the pursuit, there’s also little to lose, and a level of passion becomes dormant as a result. There’s not much to be proud of, nothing to show off, nothing to pursue, and precious little to cherish. Music is stripped of what may be a pivotal emotional connection.
I’ve been a collector since I was little. First, collecting baseball cards, followed by comic books, and later music. When I first started collecting music, cassettes were the medium of choice with vinyl on the way out. A few years later, CDs became the way to buy and listen to music.
Back then, I really enjoyed the excitement around buying a newly released album and reading the liner notes. It was an event, often shared with friends. For big releases, the music stores would often open at midnight on release day to let super fans get the CDs first.
While I love the convenience and portability of MP3s, there doesn’t seem to be the same connection between listening to an album and the act of buying it. You couldn’t just download an album whenever you wanted. You had to make a special trip to the music store and hope they had the album in stock.
I’ve spent countless hours in music stores over the years. I used to just browse through the sections looking for a cover that looked interesting. I’ve learned about a lot of music I never would have heard of as a result of this.
Nowadays, a music collection is basically just a folder on your computer. I certainly enjoy and appreciate the convenience of downloadable music and don’t necessarily long for the “good old days,” but I do miss the days of liner notes being an important part of the album experience. It was also fun to go to a friend’s house and sift through his collection.
Do you still collect music? I’ve recently gotten back into collecting, via vinyl, and it’s been fun going to record stores again.