Interesting subject. Every time I see pictures of hoarders, or watch that hoarding show on TV, the visions I see are filthy messes or dumps. To me, that's when collecting becomes hoarding, and gets totally out of control. If you can't even walk into a room, or through a room, because there's a 5 foot high pile of collecting sitting there, you're a hoarder.
Before streaming became an option you had to buy an album to hear it. I have bought many albums without hearing them first. Some lived up to my expectations others didn’t. Sometimes I thought maybe I just need to live with an album and eventually I’ll get it.
Also, I always wanted to have a great collection. I’ve always enjoyed music and I have diverse tastes, so I’ve got quite a few albums in various formats. I don't even consider myself a collector let alone a hoarder. I'd say that when your record collecting starts causing problems in other areas of your life, you become a hoarder.
If I were starting my music collection now, I’d stream music and only buy a select few really special albums.
Another reason people amass huge collections is that people just like to buy stuff. Women call it retail therapy. If you’re familiar with Stuart Varney from cable news, he is originally from the UK and he said his observation as someone raised elsewhere is that Americans are happiest when spending money.
One of the truly fun aspects of having a large vinyl collection is to be able to use one album to trigger the response to hear something else… and something else. Having a large collection let’s you wonder through all kinds of music at will. Of course this is before streaming.
Most of us started our collections when we were young… for me 1965… when I bought my first album. I have them all… cleaned and in great shape. My collection is 2,000 all carefully cataloged, in cabinets taking a whole wall. Hoarding would be piled everywhere, never used, collecting dust. Many of my albums are carefully chosen audiophile editions.
Also, I had 2,000 CDs. Most of which I have given away. Their serve no purpose now that streaming sounds better or at least the same. I think hoarding generally means most things, not just one.
So, these things keep me in the collector category and out of the hoarded category.
How do you end up with so/too many?
I bought LPs in the 60’s, high school, college days, beat em up pretty bad, Stopped buying for many years while paying college loans. Inherited some classical from my uncle, and got my first Jazz via a friends divorce.
Next, loans paid, CD’s drove LP’s price down, I bought unknown Jazz LP’s at Record Hunter, 5th ave, nyc, and 8 tracks six/$5. at ____ lexington ave. every Payday.
Then people got rid of their lps, gave them to me, I just put them on the shelves, much not even my taste. Playing CDs, SACD’s, but not disposing of LP’s.
Back to listening to LP’s, then joined here, upped my TT to 3 arm wonder, and started replacing favorites with new copies. about 2,500. on the shelves.
Then, my friend, a collector, and hoarder (couldn’t even reach his TT) left me 4,000 LP’s nearly all in very good condition, some played only 1 time, a great deal of jazz.,
What a mess, now 6,500 unalphabetized. I made 2 stacks, keep/go taking them out of the boxes, and successfully sold around 2,000 lps to individuals and 4 record stores.
Next, Jim alphabetized them for me (I'm limited, spine injury, probably surgery coming). Now, knowing what I had, I pulled a bunch more to sell. friends and individuals first, now ready to call the record companies again, they come here.
I’m hoping to get down to 2 shelves at easy to see/reach height, total 18lf, say 1600.
Then, buy one, at least one in that letter out. Gradually get down to my favorites and sell ones I doubt I would play again because I prefer the other.
While 1600 is a big drop from 6500, I can get it smaller. I improved my CD/SACD player to the point I am enjoying my too many, and buying used CD’s again.
I’ve been buying records since the ’60s. As my tastes changed, so did my acquisition habits. I’m not a completist but caught the bug on more than a few labels- at one point early Island pink labels (mainly because I liked the bands Chris Blackwell signed, from Traffic and Tull to King Crimson, Spooky Tooth and beyond). Vertigo Swirl was another label that caught my fancy-- though best known for the first four Sabbath albums, the imprint had a deep catalog of fairly obscure psych, prog rock and other oddities that appealed.
When record stores were dumping vinyl in the late ’80s, it was easy to buy good quality LPs on the cheap, from "audiophile dreck" (Direct to Disc Flamenco Fever, anyone?) to classical, like EMI ASD, Lyrita, Decca, etc.
In around 2005, I started to comb through what I had, replaced some copies with better pressings and continued to buy even though the market for vinyl was still pretty bleak. Most of it was older pressings. I got bit by the post-bop jazz bug and started buying Strata-East and a lot of so-called "spiritual jazz" records before prices went bonkers. I also surfed artists- Cecil McBee is one of the great jazz bassists from the era and I bought pretty much whatever I could find with him appearing as a sideman or featured artist.
There are so many strands to this, it’s hard to say that there is any one motive for getting these records under one roof other than to listen to them, which I do. I know lots of folks are now turning to hi-rez streaming, but in my limited experience with Qobuz, they simply don’t have the depth of catalog. Many of these records were never released as CDs or reissued in any form.
I culled by getting rid of around 12,000 records before I left NY. That left me with a little over 5k LPs, to which I’ve added maybe another 1,000 in the years I’ve been living in Texas. I don’t listen to the "audiophile" records any more, and except for when the occasional mood strikes me, rarely listen to classical. Even most of the classic rock (which is fairly extensive including many multiple of things like the various Zeps) doesn’t get played much. Yet I am still emotionally attached to those records and I am a pretty good curator. Eventually, all will get disposed of through my estate when the time comes.
In the meantime, I continue to buy, but it is usually older stuff, soul or spiritual jazz, some "proto-metal" (i.e., precursor bands that anticipated Zep or Sabbath but never made a commercial dent). I also like the Tone Poets- Katanga! is a "must buy" in my estimation. I will fill in some empty niches with the occasional Chad jazz recut (though his older reissues are now getting expensive).
There’s a lot beyond the physical artifact and the playing of it- the history behind the record, the players, the label and the backstories of how some of these records got made, so it can be an intellectual pursuit as well.
PS: on multiples, I like to do my own shoot-outs and often there isn’t one "best"- different shadings. The Zeps- the RL is different than the UK plum; on Zep 1, there are many exceptional copies I’ve discovered over the years, not all of them expensive (yes, I have the 45 rpm Classics of a few, but those aren’t my "go to"). You can buy a record from Tom Port more easily at a price (I did buy one, a Free Tons of Sobs and it does trounce the other early copies I have here, but I’m not in the habit of paying big dollars for more common records-- that one was not a normal Tom offering according to his taste).
I will share, that having been through a house move, after many years in the previous house. If you have a lot of records....like on multiple floors, and a pending House Close Date; then you will have had a "Come to Jesus" moment, and determined already which of your records fall into the
1) Essential - you are taking - they define you,
So everything in Category 3 is probably hoarding.
As always, @whart said it all. Well, almost all ;-) .
By the time I reached my mid-60’s, a lot of guys I had known had croaked, and my own mortality started staring me in the face (ever looked into a mirror whilst on LSD? If not, don’t ;-). I started thinking about how many hours I had left in which I could be listening to recorded music, and how many of the approximately 5,000 LP’s and 5,000 CD’s in my library would I be able to listen to again, even once? So I went ahead and did a cull, getting rid of about 1500 of each.
Which I now regret! I sometimes find myself jonesing to hear one of those titles I got rid of, and have even bought replacement copies of some of them. And I continue to learn of music I had missed at the time of its initial release. Plus, good new music keeps getting recorded; what am I gonna do, not add any more discs to my racks, just out of spite? ;-)
At what point does "collecting" records become hoarding?
A very good question that could apply to a lot of other things too.
When you're young you don't see any horizon on life's journey and the voyage seems endless.
Later on, things change and you might be forced to take stock of exactly where you are currently.
Some decide to put their house in order in consideration of the cleanup job that family or friends might have to do after they've gone, whilst others don't seem to care in the slightest.
For them life is to be enjoyed, and the devil can take the hindmost. Too much is never enough for them.
The unfortunate truth is that often what is left behind may hold nothing of the value that the owner had placed in it. There's a good example of that in the closing scenes of Citizen Kane.
And then there are those unfortunate sufferers of OCD.
There is no nice way of dressing up the distress and discomfort that they often end subjecting themselves to (and often others) in their obsessive behaviours.
I try to be a minimalist when it comes to possessions, but there 50 odd LPs that I could not easily bear to be parted from.
My hoarding is now largely confined to the digital medium. The problem is time, the lack of it.
Perhaps this could be called underground hoarding?
big greg, You cannot be a real hoarder if you admit to being a hoarder. This is a variation on Groucho's famous statement that he would not join any club that would have him as a member. Knowing you are a hoarder and admitting it demonstrates some level of sanity, whereas hoarding is a mental illness. So don't worry.
I gave away all of my LP’s some time ago - when I couldn’t read the spines w/out a magnifying glass. LMAO! No longer have to worry about my floor collapsing either! Ah, peace of mind (I don’t have to worry about my analog system and its maintenance either). CD’s are OK - I put mine in plastic envelopes and I don’t save the notes (who needs them with the internet). I can store about 10 cd’s per inch. Probably makes me a candidate for the Thoreau award for simplifying or, at least, becoming simple minded. :-)
I never counted them but I probably have about 500 titles. I still have the first CD I ever purchased, Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason. Mine is not a huge collection but I don't own anything I've ever regretted buying. Some titles are listened to frequently, others maybe every few years or so. My music is purchased and played because of a memory it invokes, or because I'm simply in the mood to hear that particular song or album. None of it will ever become obsolete to me. I'm currently working on an Oak "bookshelf" to hold my music and DVD's. Maybe I'll count everything once it's all on the new shelves.
I have a good friend who just paired his record collection down to 16xxx! The reason for him selling about 6xxx of his records is that he’s getting ready to move.
I already told him that I wasn’t going to help him schlep all those boxes of records!
I have 5,000+/- records. Just last night I played a record I bought in 1982, for only the 3rd time. I only listen to it when I’ve made a major change in my system. It’s a Teldec pressing (Hamburg WG) of the digitally recorded RCA Red Seal Digital of Eduardo Mata’s Dallas Symphony Orchestra. A truly amazing recording/pressing that many carts can’t handle. When I first bought it, played it, I knew my college system wasn’t up to task. It reveals flaws/weaknesses.
The rest I play when I’m in the mood. Or, with 19 tables, I play what I want to hear with that arm/cart. Not all records sound good on the VPI Signature.
I would go nuts with only 300 records. I have to have variety!!
There are different vinyl collectors, the ones who go out and buy large collections just to amass a huge amount of records to tell you how many they got, I have a neighbor like that. And the ones who have collected vinyl for the last 50+ years one by one because they loved each and everyone of them. Of course, the ones who amass ungodly amounts of records probably have listened to only a small amount of them and could care less about their condition. As for the true vinyl music lover, he has probably cleaned and washed every single record in his collection, making sure they are at least VG+ or NM condition before they belong. I am proudly a part of the true vinyl collector camp, caring about every single album I own. Each has be fully washed and properly stored and I have listened to each album of my 2k+ album collection at least one time all the way through. Unless you do that, you are just a hoarder.
...It’s not stamps or coins.
Why can’t it be like stamps or coins? There are certainly many parallels to record collecting. Many of us collectors have "completist" tendencies when it comes to certain artists, labels or genres. When your first twenty Impulse, Trojan Records, George Jones purchases are home runs, you tend to just keep blindly acquiring more, especially if you find them in the dollar bin or garage sales.
Also just like stamps/coins, there’s that thrill of the hunt...finding that rare record that’s been on our want list for years.
As mentioned above, prior to streaming music or youtube, there really wasn’t any way to discover new artists besides buying the record and taking it home to listen to. I used to sell back my (at the time) unwanted records to buy new records, but after many instances of re-buying records a second time, I stopped turning over my collection as much. I might only listen to that Dead Milkmen record once every 10 years or so, but even pulling it out of the stack and looking at the cover brings back memories of youth. Why would I get rid of that experience if I have the room to still hold onto it?
As dpop said above though, really the difference between a collector and hoarder is more of a logistical question.
Not me but my Dad, he has over 2500 records at least, last count was 1800 in the late 80’s most bought at garage sales and what not. He currently has no sound system with a turn table set up but still buys vinyl. But the worst part is he has had his “collection” in storage for the last 20 years. By my calculations that is $100/ month for 240 months comes $24000, with zero enjoyment. I just moved his entire collection cross country and was told one day it will all be mine. Great I get to move it, sort it and sell it. Don’t get me wrong I know there is gold in them there hills but the juice ain’t worth the squeeze.
It is a Human Condition to be interested, it is Human Condition with Dysfunction to become Obsessional.
Be thankful when the Obsessional is limited to collecting way too many CD's / LP's that can be used, there are many worse Obsessional Scenarios for individuals to become controlled by.
I don't know if Streaming Catalogues will fit into this, as the collecting of the antiquated mediums, where there is an intent to acquire endless tangible material is already assembled for an individual, when they adopt the latest intangible medium for their music collection and listening needs.
It’s not about having to listen to every record, it’s about having a source of reference and being able to access something as the mood takes or to share with friends- I have about 1000 lps (mostly from auction sales and stuff from family and bought new in earlier times) and between 600- 1000 CDs all bought by me new but have definitlely reached saturation point
Also have over 60 pushbikes which are all loved and ridden (mostly bought for pennies from the auction and renovated) but again am going to find good homes for half of them over the coming years
My dad was a stamp collector as it was like a history/ geography lesson then bought more expensive ones as an investment- I sold his collection with a specialist auction and got £10,000 which was a massive help with building repairs.
Some collectors end up becoming dealers, also I remember the enjoyment of visiting Mole Jazz, Ray's, Honest Jon's etc in search of specific titles but now it's all (mostly) just there if you want it streamed or e-bay etc
Within my circle of friends it is evenly split between the hoarders/collectors and the audiophiles. The one thing the collectors have in common is that they own a lo - fi or less audio source (in one case only a boombox), while the audiophiles tend to have a reasonable sized music collection. Not surprisingly, the higher up the food chain (or budget) of the audiophile's system, the smaller the music collection gets.
I guess it's all about what your individual priorities are. To each their own.
First off it would not be out of the ordinary for me to play 5 to 10 hours of music (of all varieties of sources) in a days’ time and that does not include many nights that I play music radio while sleeping.
I've been buying records for 60 years...I keep everything I ever liked, sell the rest...a few multiple copies because they can sound different, not better or worse...really takes little space to keep a few extras...was never a collector, just bought what I wanted to hear...but I'm sure at times there is a thin line between buying what you like, collecting, and hoarding...
collector. I have about 1500 records, all sorted by artist. Multiple copies of BS&T2, Kind of Blue, Aja - just ordered the UHQR version - looking forward to hearing this because I love my Mofi Stan Ricker Aja, and have been waiting forever for a 45rpm version. Like another poster said, I will start with one album, and just go from there - esp on a rainy day like today. LOTS of fun!
@mitchagain - that is a very interesting theory. The audiophiles should theoretically be more careful(anal) about their collection, but that doesn’t explain all of them, especially the equipment hoarders. 17 turntables? Come on man.
I am definitely careful 🤤 keeping my collection spreadsheet up to the minute showing label and estimated value (should have kept amount paid and purchase date, but by the time I started the spreadsheet, it was too large tor that).
Anybody else have a spreadsheet?
I've enjoyed reading these posts.
I think the difference between hoarding and collecting (as it seems to me) is that collectors are intentional and specific about what they accumulate while hoarders just like to have stuff. If you can still find the record you're looking for in a couple minutes, you're probably okay; if not, it may be time for intervention.
I have I guess somewhere around 3,500 records and a couple thousand CD's, and I like having that variety because I often get the itch to listen to something that hasn't been off the shelf in a few years. And like other posters, the last time I sold a pile, I ended up re-buying several of them and later wishing I had some back because I'm now in a different headspace and would probably enjoy them.
Many records are also artifacts from my life that mean much more to me than their market value; they are tactile reminders of important moments and the persons I used to be.
As for owning multiple copies, I like the comparison; for example, I have at least four copies of Revolver (the 2014 mono reissue, a stereo copy from the blue box, an American mono, and an American stereo), and they all sound different and there are of course the different track listing depending on which side of the pond they were originally intended for. Yet I also look forward to bringing home and listening to the de-mixed remix coming out next month. And on a couple occasions, I have safety copies because finding another copy would be too difficult and the one in my hand is cheap.
And it is also like coin or stamp collecting, but the fact that I can put my object on a turntable and listen to it feels like more than having something just to have it. The thrill of the hunt also has immense appeal and has led me on adventures that were really more meaningful than the records I hauled home.
And when it comes my time to take my dirtnap, my kids can call a record store to come haul it all away.
@sokogear , I think that the equipment hoarder is a very rare beast when compared to the hoarders of the physical music media (albums, cassettes, CD's). Some of the things that perplex me about the music hoarders are:
1) How do you find the space for all of that music?
2) How do you find the time to listen all of that music?
3) How can you ignore the importance of the equipment to better enjoy all of that music?
I too have re-bought many albums that I regretted selling as my musical tastes either changed; or, more likely circled back to where they used to be. Fortunately, in some of those cases, I've managed to find some remastered copies that were better than the original (sometimes drastically better). On that subject (and current forum thread), I'm really looking forward to hearing from my friends about what they think of the newest Joni Mitchell remasters (Asylum Years). Funny thing is, the "hoarder" group of friends will probably be the first ones to buy those.
Large CD collection, smaller record collection. For me the fun of ownership comes from sticking my hand randomly into the collection and pulling out something unexpected. May have been years since I last played that CD. At least with my collecting hobby, it is the search and then finding (sometimes after decades) that is the rewarding part. I will do without until found. Playing that CD then brings back the memories of first time hearing that album, finding it etc. I do not use my streamer very much. Mostly too hear new music and the suggestions off of that. Playing found CDs and records is much more satisfying for me. If you have storage issues, then by all means feel free to purge less desirable ones for someone else to find.
@fdroadrunner - if it takes you a couple minutes to find a record, I think you are in need of intervention. If you have 5500 titles either you listen a hell of a lot more than 15 hours a week or there are hundreds (thousands?) that you never listen to. Sounds like you really like Revolver. I think your "safety copies" may inch you toward the hoarder category, but at least you have rationale.
I still have the first album I purchased in 1972 "Black Sabbath Masters of Reality". I have since expanded my collection to over 3000 albums. It was a slow process. My method has varied over time. First, I like to buy Collections from people. I then go through them and cull out the albums that I already have or don't care for. But i do listen to them. This enables me to find new music from days gone by (and potentially go down a rabbit hole learning about the band or artist). I also buy individual albums to fill out the collection of an artist, something that I heard, or if just looks interesting.
Once a year, I listen to at least one side of each album I own to see if I am still interested. I often initially keep records for "historical" purposes, meaning the artist was important in their time. By going through each album, I get the make an updated decision. I can keep it or move it on. In the process I usually get rid of 100-150 albums to make room for incoming music.
3000 seems to be my sweet spot. Why so many? Sometimes I'm feeling like Zydeco, other times Hawaiian, Jazz, Blues, or Punk. I like it all. I love having guests over and have them call out what they want to hear, and I actually have it.
I don't stream music except in the car. This helps me find new music. I also have a few hundred CDs for when the music I desire is not available on vinyl.
No justification here, just my method, which is also making sure that they are alphabetized and clean. BTW I don't own a TV, so music is always playing.
Starting over (again), I own a tad over 25. Of the future albums that I will buy, I cannot understand buying something that isn't special to me to begin with and would wince at buying a whole collection from someone.
Since I am trying to buy for the record title itself and the condition/recording, there is one more thing that would make me consider whether or not to buy used or new.. The old albums that I have gotten so far are in great shape, and there was NO digital processing involved. It is one of the reasons that I will buy an older used album.
@sokogear I've been working on getting all of my records cataloged in discogs. Once you do that you can export to a spreadsheet. I'm pretty sure that if you already have a spreadsheet you can import it also.
been collecvcting classical music since the early 70 s.
had about 1500 lps -slimmed that down with cds replacing them have about 200 Lps left and maybe 500 plus cds thus far.
Intend to leave the cds to either a library or music school so others cn beenfit later.
Well that doesnt take into account recent moves to streaming by youger gen in particular but its still the plan.
As to how much you can listen to per day etc -wrong question .
Of course I can in no way ilsten to all my cds consecutively in any small time frame and the larger number of Lps even more true.
For me it was pure convenience -a matter of what I wanted to listen to combined with when.
Before streaming if I wanted to listen to Beethoven sym 4 conducted by Klemperer it was buy a hard copy or hope for a broad cast.
Thats why I invested in hard copies-same wd be true for other composers and conductors.
If your tastes werent mainstream well without an lp or cd good luck hearing minor but interesting composers.
Picked up the complete symphonies of Miaskovsky on cd for a decent price-very interesting to music students or those having an interest in Soviet era composers but not likely to be generally heard outside Russia for example.
These are some of the reasons I collected or hoarded.
Same with books I have a whole wall srcked with books Ive accumulated over time -some ive read many times others not.
They go to libraries when Im gone as well
Not interested in moving my spreadsheet to discogs. Right to privacy and all that.
If I ever sell any, it's mostly just bringing to my local record store, and sold one or two on eBay. I am registered on discogs just so I can get market value of records I look to buy.
BTW, 98% of my records are bought new, so I don't have a RCM. I don't agree with those who say you have to clean them right out of the factory. I brush them to remove dust before every playing. A long time ago I was told by a well known respected dealer in my formative years that if a record is clean, don't wet it. That's when I stopped using my Discwasher brush and fluid (remember those?) and went to the Audioquest and Hunt style brushes.
To test my theory, I took a few records to a dealer who had a RCM (I think it was a VPI) and brought a few of my oldest frequently played audiophile records and played them before and after cleaning and didn't notice a difference. Nor did the dealer trying to sell me the machine. He admitted it was mainly for all the people who buy used records below NM out there.
Humans treasure stimulus variation. We get bored with the same anything after a very short period. We also instinctively are drawn to music. These two factors result in large record collections. He who dies with the most records wins. Collecting is hording. So what? I should be ashamed because I have enough records to feed an orphanage for a year? I already pay taxes. I trust my government to put it to good use. ( This is where we all vomit.)
Seriously, records and music are a way of measuring time and history, in some ways better than photographs. Nobody I know has a photograph of the first time they had sexual intercourse but I sure do remember what was playing at the time and my mind will do the rest. I have an audio record of all the important times of my life. Is this hording or collecting? I could give a rat's -ss