The Record Company President and His Record Collection

I have a huge record collection, but it pales in comparison to some of the record industry guys I know. These people have been in the business for more than 30 years and since records and CDs are their stock and trade, it’s natural that they have an easier time accumulating stupidly large libraries. Plus with access to foreign labels and subsidiaries, a lot of trading goes on between territories. These guys (and they’re ALWAYS guys) have stuff on their shelves that the world doesn’t know exists.

One of these people is Steve Kane, president of Warner Music Canada. How many records does he have? Let me put it this way: when any of us mere mortals needs new shelving for our collections, we go to Steve to see what he’s had done.

Steve was recently profiled in the Globe and Mail.

Steve Kane’s 1956 Seeburg Select-O-Matic jukebox clicks, whirs, then delivers a blast of music. The opening riffs of Picture My Face, the explosive 1978 single from first-wave Hamilton punk band Teenage Head, flood Mr. Kane’s basement from a seven-inch single. “I’d have to say I’m buying more vinyl than I am CDs,” says the president of Warner Music Canada. “Analog, I still buy. Digital I access.”

This is made evident by the sheer number of ad hoc vinyl storage units piled around the back room of Mr. Kane’s basement. The wall full of sliding shelves containing thousands of plastic CD jewel cases has seen a lot less traffic since Mr. Kane started streaming music online, but he didn’t anticipate vinyl’s cultural comeback when he built his basement music palace a decade ago. The vinyl collection that once spanned a 7.5-metre-long shelf running the length of the room has overflowed into spare shelves and boxes that spill out into the hallway.

The man in charge of guiding the Canadian arm of one of the world’s biggest record labels into an ownership-free age remains an ardent collector of physical music. He is fully aware his industry’s desperate need to adapt to the access-over-ownership business model of streaming music and his own digital listening habits have shifted the way of Spotify and Apple Music. But he can’t stop collecting, especially with the return of big-splash vinyl records. Since Mr. Kane first started buying albums as a preteen, he estimates he’s amassed at least 16,000 pieces of recorded music – CDs, LPs and vinyl singles – and it’s all here in his basement shrine.

Read the whole thing here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ 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.

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