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Ongoing History Daily: The psychology of collecting music

If you collect physical music—CDs, vinyl, tapes, whatever—have you ever asked yourself why you do it? There could be several reasons.

It could be that you like being able to hold your music in your hands with all the visual and tactile sensations that come with that. It could be that you want to own something rather than just rent music from the streaming services. Maybe you’re after the rare and the obscure and are hoping that whatever you collect will increase in value one day.

But here’s one aspect of music collecting that’s overlooked. When you have a library of music you love, material that means a lot to you on an emotional level, it’s sometimes just nice to be surrounded by it, which creates a sort of safe space because you’re in the midst of familiar and meaningful object.

Record collections as security blankets? Think about it.

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 37907 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

One thought on “Ongoing History Daily: The psychology of collecting music

  • There’s another reason for owning your own vinyl or CDs. Streaming services feature remastered works and sometimes the remastered version is inferior to the original, with some of the worst hack jobs compressing the original to the point it’s almost unrecognizable.

    Also, there are concept vinyl records or CDs, where one track is set to follow another in a timed fashion. Streaming services may remaster the original to cut it into individual tunes so the timing of the original experience of hearing an album side intact is lost.

    An egregious example of this is the original LP of Abbey Road by the Beatles. The concept album is butchered in remastery via Amazon Music.

    Another piece that was compressed to death was “The Rhythm of the Heat” by Peter Gabriel, also in Amazon Music.

    Ruining those works is sacrilege for anyone who heard and loved the original releases.


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