To me, digital has gotten good enough that I'm more inclined to seek out the
beer coaster version than a fuzzy wobble. (I have no 78s.) Fifteen years
ago, it was the other way around. My virtual, hard-drive collection gets as
much casual use as the other two, LPs and CDs, combined. But, if I need
something to read, I'll grab a LP or CD to have the texts. Given a tablet
and digital text, however, I might not do that. Whether younger people, who
are more accustomed to having everything reside on a screen, will find
that's all they need, or not, I'm curious to know. Will, maybe, the creepy
threats of total information awareness drive a wedge between citizens and
their beloved gadgets? Will the draconian over-reach of IP owners and
service providers encourage a revaluation of the tangible, actual, personal,
and permanent; things that still exist when off the grid and without
batteries, where the question of ownership isn't provisional? Will values
shift from unlimited consumption to the glorification of the limited select,
and make the unlimited capacity of digital devices less relevant than the
We collectors aren't typical, so we have to be careful about extending our
way of thinking to everybody else. I'm going to guess that consumption will
continue its split between those who are not materialistic when it comes to
music, and those who in some fashion are. Radio and streaming services will
work for the former, new and pre-existing stuff will be for those who must
possess. I wouldn't bet on that latter impulse going away; not for a
population that is in so many ways being gradually dispossessed.
From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
[mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Clark Johnsen
Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 3:35 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NYPL sells the vinyl collection -- I'm serious
Quite right you are -- there will soon be a swell of used CDs owing to
downloading and streaming. One must wonder though whether there will be a
backlash similar to that with LPs, wherein former owners regretted making
the switch to CD and had to repurchase their vinyl collections.
Lucky me, a house that ably holds 15K LPs and 30K 78s. Music in every room!
On Mon, Aug 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM, Carl Pultz <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Try this on: a collection of classical records was, for those of a
> certain age, a way of honoring a body of art that we respected and
> which also reflected a positive glow onto our self-images of being
> cultured, hip people. A remembrance of a time before public libraries,
> when the gentry had the books and shared their largess with those
> commoners whom they found worthy. Now it could be yours, timeless
> music, treated with care; not scratched up, passť, or otherwise
> disposable. So, we built it up with care and devotion, holding on to
> our collections until some change was forced on
> us: moving, downsizing, loss of independence, or death. Many holdings
> went off to other, somewhat younger, collectors, who are now repeating
> that cycle with even bigger, aggregated collections. We're now into a
> third or fourth generation for whom this accumulation is possible, now
> at lower cost in part because there is less demand.
> With perspective, we see a lot of the major label catalogs as being
> contractual obligation product, not really all that historically
> Plus, classical produced tons of reissues, attempts to squeeze a
> little more cash flow out of the back-catalogs, now simply redundant.
> You can guess what percentage of a random stack of classical albums is
> likely worth
> owning: maybe 5%? Probably higher from a good collection, but some you
> will already own. Even without the new formats, there is just more out
> there than can be digested.
> We're seeing a third wave of classical LPs washing up on a lonely
> shore, the first being from those who around 1990 'converted' to CD.
> It promises to be a tsunami. (Followed eventually by an ocean of
> unwanted CDs.) In my case, my older brother will leave to me his 5 or
> 6 thousand albums (unless he cleans house), and that would be added to
> my 4 thousand, crowding our little house, which I already have a hard
> time justifying. And there's my friend in Syracuse, who has a smaller
> but very select assemblage, who can't find anybody to take it on. My
> buddy who runs a very good record store has been choking on classical
> and doesn't want any more. Meanwhile, my digital holdings are growing,
> with each addition making the likelihood of any particular LP being played
that much lower.
> Is it cool to see something talked about on the ARSC list, like the
> very early stereo recording of The Origin of Fire, and be able to pull
> it off the shelf and put it on? Yeah, serendipity is what makes having
> a collection fun. But, it's kind of silly, too. Ray Davies called it
> plastic-wear. We may love it, but if it's not unique it's just stuff,
> like all the other crap we've loaded up the planet with.
> We built these collections because we could. Ah, the burdens of wealth.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List [mailto:
> [log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of [log in to unmask]
> Sent: Monday, August 12, 2013 10:22 AM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] NYPL sells the vinyl collection -- I'm serious
> Just wondering why there is so much classical to be had.
> Is this because:
> So much classical has been re-released on CD?
> Classical collectors are an older lot and prefer the simplicity of a
> CD player?
> Classical collectors are quicker to adopt new & better sounding formats?
> Is classical less collectible than other genres?
> Of course all of these questions are certainly arguable.
> I'm just wondering.
> joe salerno