I use a computer database because its cheap & has other uses. Another alternative I've been exploring recently is an off-the-shelf program called Music Collectorz. See http://www.collectorz.com/
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I wrote my own in Microsoft Access. I primarily collect Jazz. If I were doing Classical mostly I would do it differently because I would want to know composer, conductor, symphony/orchestra, soloists, etc. Classical is much more difficult to keep track of. I basically use a lame method there of Composer, if that's what the album is primarily focused on, or conductor/symphony/soloist if that's the focus. For some that's not so straight forward, but for me there is a reason I bought the disc and that's how I catagorize it.
On another note, how many people do you know that sort their albums alphabetically by FIRST name? I have found many people that do this, and I can't figure out why. I guess I'm too used to phone books, look up by last name first right?
Reading your post I get the sense that your question is not so much "how do you keep track of your collection" but "is there a method to determining what you have, what you want and if the former should fund the latter".
The answer to this depends on how you view your collection. For some they want a historical collection, certain records will be representative of certain movements within music. Some of these are more historical markers than they are listenable. Others want a comprehensive collection but oriented to a specific genre or artist. The Beatles collectors, the punk collectors etc. Others take an investment point of view and as rare or limited editions come out they buy multiple copies whether they need them or not. This oftentimes is again limited by genre.
So in the end it comes down to how you view your collection. I myself have a few records for "nostalgia" value. However if I need the money to fund current purchases it isn't too hard to weed a few things out. This is easier to do with CD's than it is with LP's because it's harder to sell LP's and get any money out of them. So is the trouble worth it? To me not generally. As I get older however the trouble of moving all this stuff gets tougher and I have been thinking about cleaning things out just for the sake of size. But then I have a couple thousand records and about double that in CD's. I live in a studio apartment and I collect books as well. I don't foresee myself settling down anytime soon so the space aspect gets tough.
So only you know the answer to your question but these are some of the styles of thinking that go into it. And with classical I have quit thinking comprehensively. I realized that I was never gonna be able to listen to it all and that I wasn't going to like it all anyway. So I have scaled down to a few composers and works that I really like and want to get more intimate with. For instance I have 8 different versions of Bruckner's 8th Symphony. This way I get to know the work and the multiple interpretations help that. Do I listen to all Bruckner's symphonies? No, I have heard them all but concentrate mainly on the 4th and the 8th. For Mahler it's the 1st, 5th, 6th and 9th. I listen to Schubert leider but find his symphonies uninteresting etc. This comes down to taste and how you want to spend your time. Again, it doesn't hurt me to have some LP's up on the shelf but if needed the money or the shelf space then I think it would be worthwhile to sell some choice items to fund some future purchases.
The method I used for keeping track of memos, reports, and the like, I called "Vertical Chronological Filing System". In other words, after using an item throw it on the top of a pile. This also works for CDs. What you use frequently naturally rises to the top of the pile. Every so often, throw away the bottom half of the pile.
This is not completely a joke...it actually works as well as any other system I tried. People were astonished that I could come up with memos in a few seconds ("let's see..down about 3 inches") that would take them an hour of searching through file cabinets.
i only have about 400 lps and i dont know where i would put another 400...but i would find a place. so no, do not sell off some of your collection. im 25 years old and i regret selling off some of my cds and video games when i was 12-18 to pay for other stuff.
tastes change yes but you will eventually come back down memory lane, listen to the lps and realize that you dont like the records for nostalgia sake but they are actually great records.
if you have any doubts whatsoever, do not sell.
"However if I need the money to fund current purchases it isn't too hard to weed a few things out. This is easier to do with CD's than it is with LP's because it's harder to sell LP's and get any money out of them."
My experience is the opposite. Look for used CDs on ebay, people can't give them away. Recent vinyl releases are limited, one example Elliott Smith's XO LP sells on Ebay for $100+ regularly. I bought it new 4 years ago for 10 bucks. The fact the vinyl is limited new and used drives the price up. Most used music stores buy CDs at about $2 dollars each and sell for $6-8.00.
Anyway, Jsujo is asking if you sell your music (not asking about database software) I do not. Anything I have that would make it worth my time, such as Elliott Smith "XO", I want to keep and the LPs I would weed out would only bring in 6-10 bucks on ebay so it isn't worth selling. Although everything I have ever purchased was out of interest for the artist (or genre), even if it was a let down or I don't listen to it, it is part of my musical history. If you are somebody who buys LPs in bulk at the flea market to fill out your collection you may have loads of stuff you should sell. So yeah, I guess it depends.
"If you wanna find
Landslide by Fleetwood Mac you have
to know that I bought it for
someone in the fall of 1983 and
then didn't give it to them for
Well, while not the most tactful response, Modsound is offering a
backhanded suggestion that folks actually read the question being asked
before offering advice that doesn't pertain. This is a common problem
in threads on all discussion boards.
The original question appears to be asking how one decides what to
keep and what to sell, not how one catalogs a collection.
Thanks for the responses...and true, I dont need a database..
I dont have many LP's that were flea market shelf-fillers at all, so when I sell, I know its a good LP...But I battle with the notion of advancing and changing as compared to the accumulation..(although there is a staple of LP's that I will never sell).
Since I posted this, I have sold some LP's and I feel ok about it..some MFSL classical, one Sheffield classical, a bunch of sealed Zefel LP's, and I have others.
But I have gained some tremendous new modern classical music in return,,so I guess I am on the plus side of the curve. I am starting to pay attention to other labels that are not deemed as collectable, but have outstanding quality...
Actually, I have been hearing from people that the best Brandenburgs by Bach were actually released by Nonesuch,,,I will give those a try.
Yes, I agree Tvad, my only point was that if you complain about the nature of posts, maybe offer a suggestion or solution. So, your point is well taken and it extended mine. :-)
Jsujo, I have always been generally loathe to part with LP's I've acquired. It's one reason why I now have most of the many LP's I bought over about 35 years when new, first pressings. Some of these I didn't play much but have since reacquired a taste for them, making me glad that I kept them. Others, I always liked, and some I've grown away from.
I have always been a listener, as opposed to a collector of trophies, like some collectors tend to be. "Smoke 'em if you got 'em", to borrow a phrase. As such, I have come to the conclusion that if I don't play some LP's much and don't have plans to play them much, they really should be in the hands of someone who will enjoy them. As such, I have sold a number of very fine LP's here on Audiogon and elsewhere and subsquently used every dime of the proceeds to buy other LP's which receive frequent play. I have had a twang or two of regret over some I've sold, but it is outweighed by the enjoyment of the replacements.
For instance, I used to have a TON of MFSL's but found that, in MANY cases, other pressing were sonically superior and so sold quite a number of those. I think the only real solution for YOU is to part or not to part with those LP's that you find enjoyable, or not. If you are into any of the records as a financial investment of some sort, that is a different story.
I agree with the idea of selling what doesn't get played. LPs rarely fetch published "collector" prices (along with other so-called collectibles), so the concept of selling a valuable collection for profit doesn't often prove true.
While I don't buy LPs, I do buy plenty of CDs, and I often turn around and sell them immediately if I kow I won't be listening to them much.
MD: I regret the fact that my thread appeared so off the mark. That was not my intent. Perhaps that is a defect of having a music collection that has reached the point where I do not always recall exactly what I own or when that was last played. Couple that with daily life stuff; for me, I needed more than just recall to manage my collection. Now that I use a mgt. system that can collate , isolate/merge , etc. I have printed and computer information ,as well as, the ability to draw from industry databases that provides me with abundent options to assist with making decisions on weither to keep,discard or sell certian LPs/Cds. Since my musical tastes/tectnologies range from Edison cylinders thru to DVDs from rare 1884-09 red/blk. cylinders of irish folk songs to rare 78s of forty's swing,jazz and early rock to thousands of Lps and Cds I feel very confortable making my decisions as if it were asset management. And if you know anything about value ($$$$) you should recognize that early,mint, edision cylinders with playback machines are the "holy grail" of collecting. Music collecting and playback equipment are a foundation of my lifestyle.Cheers- Charlie