In my random browsing about CD collecting and storing, I came across a website for “CD collectors”. Some people were posting pictures of their collections and some would post pictures of their finds at stores. It was kind of cute, and I mean that in a patronizing way.
Post titles like “Started 2 weeks ago, full collection so far” and “After 6 months, this is my collection”. And then there’s a picture of a dozen CDs, or maybe two dozen. And when I think about my 800+ collection, I snicker a little inside. And when I see that the CDs are mostly new releases, I snicker a little more.
And boy, isn’t that pompous of me? It is, I admit it, and I accept that. I mean, I could make a post saying, “After 30 years – my collection” and there would be people snickering at me. “30 years and only 800? I bought that much in the last 2 years! My collection of 3,000 laughs at you.”
Despite the holier-than-thou ranking and hierarchy of collectors in which I probably place in the 70th percentile (The curve is exponential. Once you break a certain level, you are in rare company), at the same time, I am encouraged. These are people just discovering the joy of collecting physical media. Judging by their selections, they are young, which means there is still life in physical media. It’s not dead.
There is another reason for encouragement as well. I’m not going to pretend that piracy doesn’t exist, whether software or music or video. I can admit that I used to be a pirate. In the old, old days, we used to have dual cassette decks that would copy tapes. There’s really no legitimate need for a dual-deck unit otherwise. So, I had plenty of copied tapes. Why? Because I was young and poor. I also had lots of pirated software. Why? Exact same reason. I couldn’t afford $500 for Photoshop. As I grew older and started making money in my career, I didn’t need to resort to piracy anymore. I didn’t need to “settle” for a copy. I could get an original. And I started valuing having that original in my collection.
If these budding collectors are anything like I was back then, that means they are beginning to advance in their life, making a living wage, where they can afford the luxury of not stealing. That means the world is getting better. Also, they take pride in their collection. Consider the pride between showing someone 200 gigs of downloaded albums (which may elicit some praise from some people) vs. showing someone a collection of 100 CDs. “They’re all real. They’re permanent.”
You can copy off that 200GB of music to your friend and not feel a ounce of pain. But, giving up a CD from your collection, you’re actually losing something. It’s the same psychological trick pundits use when they encourage you to live a cash lifestyle. By handing over physical cash when you buy things, you feel a loss, more so than when you just swipe a credit card.
So even as these beginners are showing off their tiny collections, it’s still something to encourage and cheer on. They have many years ahead of them and decades and decades of music to discover and collect.