The State Of Collecting

When I started collecting seriously in 2015, I had about 620 CDs.  Some people would say that’s a lot.  I remember in the 90’s, I started really building my collection by visiting pawn shops.  CDs were usually $5 each.  Now, they are $1-2 each at thrift shops.  The low cost allows me to indulge in albums I wouldn’t have taken a chance on at $5.

I say that I started collecting “seriously” in 2015 because that is when I started tracking my collection online with Discogs.  From that point onward, I am able to see when I added more to my collection.  The online site doesn’t give any statistics over time, but they do allow you to download your collection for you to analyze yourself.  I’m no Excel guru, so although I tried to create some pretty pictures and graphs, I was unable to get anything that was suitable.

In 2016, I added 207 CDs.  Looking through the filtered list, some additions catch my eye.  This is the year I got a couple of holiday CDs from a secret santa.  It’s the year I first heard Kraftwerk, one of those legendarily influential groups you should hear.  In fact, that was probably when I started really trying to experience “the legends” when up to that point, they were out of my normal musical orbit.  Some other artists that I’d never owned before, notable and not, include: Vince Guaraldi, Steely Dan, Eurythmics, Laurie Anderson, Cyndi Lauper, and The Pretenders.

In 2017, I added 254 CDs.  I was more actively seeking out sources for cheap CDs.  I would hit thrift shops and flea markets on a regular basis.  I learned that some thrift shops didn’t really have the turnover that others did, so some places had to be hit weekly and others could be visited less frequently.  I was also visiting my local record store for the more elusive titles, which came at a premium price.  Some new artists from this year: Madonna, Autograph, Roxette, Loverboy, Billy Ocean, Pointer Sisters, Billy Squier.

In 2018, I added 327 CDs.  My local record store had moved father away, so I was spending more time at thrift shops and travelling longer distances for flea markets.  I was also discovering other sources for CDs.  ReStore by Habitat For Humanity was a newer discovery.  Antique malls and indoor flea markets were another.  The latter were good sources as they were usually personal collections being sold.  Some of the new artists this year: Testament, Exodus, Dio, Krokus, Black Sabbath, Mercyful Fate (good time for metal), Adam Ant, DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Level 42, Aretha Franklin, Annie Lennox, Bruce Springsteen.

All of the purchase counts are exclusive of the duplicate CDs that I bought.  Usually they were upgrades to existing CDs I already had – maybe a foreign pressing, maybe an earlier pressing, maybe a target CD.  In 2018, I sold off 80 of those CDs to a local store.  I have about 30 queued up again.

Is it weird that I am adding to my collection every year a quantity that exceeds most peoples entire collection?  Maybe.  But as in just about any sort of addictive hobby, there will always be examples of those much worse than yourself.  I mean, I have 1500 CDs, but there are people out there with 10x as many.  I’m not even sure I have enough musical interest to span 10,000 CDs.  Since my music tastes only span a couple of decades, that should keep me from going full hoarder.  One collector posted his collection of 40k CDs and it consumed the entire wallspace of two adjoining rooms, plus multiple island cabinets in the middle of one room.  He also said he just returned from a trip to a couple of stores and bought over 160 more CDs.  So, it’s not as bad as it could be.