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Are You Guilty of Not Listening to the Physical Music You Buy? (Full Disclosure: I Am)

I am.  Hell, yeah.  I’ll go into a record store and pick up a CD, a box set or a piece of vinyl and then neglect to listen to them.

Hardcore collectors will understand this.  The thrill is in the acquisition of the prize and the knowledge that you have physical custody of it for all time.  Some might call that “hoarding,” but I call it “collecting.”

In other cases, I buy the physical artifact because I want to support the artist.  Chances are I already have access to tons of their digital stuff, but I’m willing to throw the artist (or the retailer) a few bones just because I want to help out.

And then there are the times when I just plain forget that I bought something.  If your music collection is sufficiently large enough, I know you’ve accidentally bought the same CD at least twice. I have.

But that’s not to say that I never listen to these purchases–I do.  To some of them.

But I’m not alone.  A new survey out of the UK says that 26% of young people in that country purchase music in physical formats don’t buy to listen.  They just want to possess.  To collect.  To hold on to.

Any of this sound familiar to you?  Read more at Hypebot.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

Alan Cross has 37874 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

2 thoughts on “Are You Guilty of Not Listening to the Physical Music You Buy? (Full Disclosure: I Am)

  • I thought I was the only one! I feel such guilt. I bought that music to support the artists but to listen to as well. I never stop. I’ve probably bought at least 20 forms of music (cd, albums, even cassettes and mp3s) just since January and haven’t listened to ANY of them. Right now (and back in 2014 when this post was new, it didn’t have the same poignancy as right now). I am listening to as many live shows as I can on youtube. Starting to look for Live DVDs of my favorite bands. Something, ANYTHING, to give me an approximation of a live show. I cannot passively listen to music. No road trips in the future. I can’t listen while I work unless I’m doing ‘zen work’; I liken it to anything where I don’t need to concentrate and can just zone out. I don’t have much work of that nature.

    I could have written your entire post although I don’t feel like a ‘collector’. I don’t know why that word feels so awkward. I have a music collection. I buy music in physical mediums as much as I can. Therefore, I am a collector. I just can’t identify with that word. I hoard data for sure! Therefore, it should follow that I could be called a music hoarder but, nope, that resonates even less.

    My database of my collection is an Excel spreadsheet. I’ve messed up and not referenced it but it’s always up to date on my laptop and I keep a copy with me on my phone albeit less up to date. I too have bought the same album more than once even when I am being on top of things. I rely a lot on my amazon orders page.

    ….I seriously can’t believe that this isn’t just me. Gobsmacked, for sure.

  • Long story, but I hadn’t had a device with a working CD drive for years. (One part is that my Playstation 3 died, and Sony didn’t license the Playstation 4 to play CDs!)

    Finally got the optical drive in my desktop computer working again, so I could at least rip the stuff I’ve bought and listen that way. I HAD to to be able to listen to my Ned’s Acoustic Dustbin album, which was only released on CD.


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