Hello music junkies, enthusiasts, and lovers of all shapes and sizes of music media; before we get started, please let me introduce myself. My name is TONE Scott – I am a career-long American Music Industry professional, having held chairs at several major and independent recording companies, I’ve been an artist manager to many prominent names in music, as well as a platinum-selling songwriter, composer, and music producer (currently active). I am a published music journalist, having written feature articles for many music publications (including Goldmine), as well as a content creator hosting an active YouTube channel (as part of the illustrious YouTube Vinyl Community), where I share bits & pieces of my career, but mostly my experiences; both the ups and downs, of my life as a serious Music Collector, which is now slightly over three and a half decades and running.
Ok, so let us dive in. Music Collecting: whatever genres and formats and protocols an individual decides fits themselves or suites them, is more personal than most people perceive it to be. A music collection and the curators’ practices can reflect many aspects about a person, from the topical and the obvious such as buying habits and shopping preferences, to then much deeper and more intricate character traits such as personalities, vices, expertise’s, and even particular states of mind… yes, I mean OCD.
For example – as important as it is that we, as active music collectors, do our best and go out of our way as much as possible, to continue to support the independent record store, many find that the ease of eBay or Discogs, or purchasing directly from any number of boutique independent record labels online, takes precedence over hopping in the car, catching a cab, or the bus or the subway and taking a short trip down to their local record shop. Some might see this as doing a disservice to the hard working and underpaid independent record store owner, and might characterize that as being selfish or uncompassionate, while some might see it as simply time constraints, and the only way to “get their fix,” by utilizing the plethora of online music vendors.
Then there’s always the seemingly ego-filled debates; and prominently this one, about whether the warm analog resonance of vinyl records trumps the “crisp and clean with no caffeine" sound of the almost-purely-digital compact disc… or vice versa. Most of these “conversations” lack any real source-information and are based heavily on opinions and personal audible preferences. Some might see this as a healthy way to volley discussion about their shared enthusiasms, making the collector seem no more than passionate and die-hard. Some might simply see this more as narcissistic, even maniacal behavior only to justify why they continue to fill their shelves with what they have already spent thousands of dollars on and multitudes of years collecting.
And, there’s always collectors like me, who, if it contains great music and is in great condition, will readily add it to the shelves in their music room, regardless of the format or the genre. Speaking of Genre, this topic is probably the most identifying factor signaling who you are at your roots, as a music collector. Music and the genres, sub-genres, and styles that we collect and listen to, can dictate so many visual and noticeable intricacies about an individual. Genres and styles can easily and readily influence hair-do’s, jewelry, clothing styles, colloquialisms and slang, the visual art we’re attracted to, how we decorate our spaces, to even what type of friends and acquaintances we gravitate to, and so on.
There’s also the polar-preferences of 'early original pressings' vs. the remastered pure virgin vinyl 'audiophile reissue,' and why one means more to an individual than the other. Let’s not leave out the OCD contenders – where and where-not to grab or touch your vinyl records; what direction to wipe them when your cleaning; what type of poly-sleeve is best to store them in; what direction they should face on your shelves; what inner-sleeve is best to keep the actual vinyl record in; do I only collect a certain grade of record and nothing below it; do I store the actual record outside of the album jacket but in the poly-sleeve, or, do I just keep it in the jacket and store it like normal; do I leave that original sealed-pressing ‘sealed’, or do I open it and play it as was meant to be, do I put forth the effort to remove every hairline scratch on every one of my CD’s by getting them resurfaced... need I go on? There are so many more things that could be mentioned and addressed regarding the definitive habits and protocols, preferences and practices, and how those things clearly can define who you are not just as a music collector, but reflect just as much, you as an individual.
Taking all of this into account, I think the most important factor; something that applies to every one of us who brands themselves a "collector" or "curator" or "music fan" or the like, is that you have taken-on a journey, immersed into one of, if not thee best past-times, life styles, and responsibilities that’s ever been given to mankind – the appreciation and preservation of music… and that’s beyond something special.
So, what kind of music collector are you?
Contact TONE Scott at GoldmineMagazine@GoldmineMag.com. Please put Adventures in Music Collecting in the subject line.