On A&E, they call this "hoarding" and they have an hour-long show dedicated to it. So it might be a little unfair and inaccurate to call what I do "collecting." I'm a hoarder of music. I've been this way for about ten years now. To me, music in it's physical form are like artifacts that will be invaluable in mere decades from now and, for that reason, it's important for me to stow them away in every nook and corner of my house so that I can one day expose them to the world and say, "Look at my freaking collection. Isn't it awesome?"
Reality is that I have CDs in my collection which aren't even opened. I have CDs that people have professed to be one of the greatest recordings of the last fifteen years that are unopened and sitting in my shed next to the fertilizer. I have three copies of records and it wasn't unintentional. I have close to 4000 CDs in my collection and I only listen to about, uh, 20 CDs within the year. If you're doing the math. That's about a 200-year supply. If I'm unlucky enough to live that long, I might listen to all of them if we still have CD players that long. By then, music will be implanted into our head.
I've been privileged to work in an industry where music is free and in ample portions. If you want something, you can likely get it. That was always a dangerous arrangement for me. When I first started working in it, I kept every CD I could get my grimy hands on. I figured even if I didn't listen to it myself, I would give away to someone who would appreciate it. And I did it. Often. I would give 30-count boxes of CDs to friends, relatives, my lovely wife. I'd give boxes of CDs to my neighbor. I figured it was a perk to the business so I would exploit it for all it was worth. I was taking home CDs by the handfuls every day. And one point, I hit an overflow and couldn't keep them all under one roof so they started to flow from closets and in plain view to the garage, to the shed. Anywhere I could get cubic inches, I would take it.
Now it's hit a point of intolerance. It's out of control. It's doing no one no good and in the middle of it is me. I started it and now I'm going to end it. I haven't listened to the new Doom record. I haven't listened to the new Felt record. I used to run home and listen to a new Doom record for two weeks straight and I haven't even touched the new one yet. It's sick. There's all of this music that I can share with others, sell online and I'm doing nothing but waiting for my chance to unveil it only to be told, "Dude, you should've sold this a long time ago."
Here's how it starts.
Crack open a box of CDs and take out any CD that visibly hasn't been opened yet or is a CD that you know you haven't listened to in ages. It might also be an artist or genre in which you used to argue until you were blue in the face about how great they were/it was, but no one believed you. They might not have believed you because it might have actually been garbage. Hear for yourself. Place all of these CDs in one massive bin (I filled up a massive washtub in the shed in mere seconds). Ratio of tossed CDs to keeped...approximately 2:5
Everyday, go out to the shed and take a handful/armful of CDs from this washtub inside, in your car or to work. You're going to be in a constant state of auditioning. This isn't about listening to what you want to listen to, it's listening to what you need to listen to. It's your habit, now deal with it. You don't have to listen to all of them. For example, I know I just bought the remastered Abbey Road. I came across another copy of Abbey. The original CD pressing. I don't need it. It goes onto the third step. This has been pretty telling of how much garbage I've been holding onto. Most things, I press play and listen for about five seconds and I'm ejecting and putting in another. It's not that they're necessarily that bad, they're just not what I'm listening to anymore. I'd rather put them in the hands of people who might really enjoy listening to them instead of sitting on top of piles of them like the mean kid in pre-school. There are other things that I see and think, do I really want my kid coming to me one day asking who "Necro" is? So, here I sit and listen. I'm listening to about thirty CDs a day at this point. My ratio of keepers to losers: 1:12.
I put the losers into three stacks. There's the promos. These are things I can't sell because, well, it'd be unethical and in violation of rules and provisions of my work. There's some good stuff in there. This will be stuff that I will find homes for. Friends with taste in music wanted to take some of these CDs off of my hands. The second of the stacks is the stuff that I can sell for a premium on either Ebay or Amazon. Found a few CDs that are showing a used selling price for up to $20. These are the goldmines in my collection. This is where I make money. I'm not promising to make a ton, but it's at least turning space in my shed into cold hard cash. The last of the three stacks is the stuff that I can just go up the road to my local Hastings and sell to them. I'll probably make only about $.70 a unit when all is said and done because, let's be real here, this ain't a stack of Metallica or Pink Floyd. It's stuff they intend on selling for about $3.99.
Stop the bleeding. This is something I've really been doing over the last two years or so. I just haven't been bringing as many home. There's no zeal anymore in getting CDs at work and bringing them home, stacking them in a corner and listening to them only if get to them. We're flipping the script here. It's the new j3...j4 if you will. No more hoarding music. Give it away. Be picky. Only keep the very best. You're not a fan of Elvis. Creedence Clearwater Revival. You know people who are. Share with them. You have no interest on being on the leading edge of every new buzz band or up-and-coming hip hop artist. You like being a source of musical knowledge, but don't need to bury yourself in plastic to achieve that. People deserve to hear your collection.
Don't you like how these conversations happen in the first-person like I've already processed these affirmations? You're right. I do tell myself these things. I have to. It makes sense of the process.
That's it for now. I gotta get back to listening. At the ratio above, I'm looking at quickly shedding about a quarter of my collection...over 1000 CDs. I've got some work to do.