It has taken me a while to recognise it, but I am a music collector. Maybe not that serious a one, but one nonetheless. I thought that perhaps to be serious you needed 1000’s of CD and vinyl, and a drive to seek out that long lost recording of a band before they were famous. I thought that it didn’t apply in the digital age. I was wrong.
I read a couple of articles that collecting was dead, it had no purpose in the world of iTunes and Spotify. That made me think. Discovering Bandcamp also moved me. Here is proof that music is alive and well outside the piped and streamed mainstream.
So my collection is digital, but unlike Spotify or Apple Music it is mine. Music on demand is not free will. Listen to a playlist on Spotify is listening to someone else’s choices, not yours. I like the process of discovery. It means more when you can remember how and where you found it. Your collection defines you in the same way as your clothes, house and car. You wouldn’t let someone else choose your clothes.
Imagine a library where when you take a book back, you get given the next one to read. Not a title you have chosen. This is streaming at its most inane. The music industry likes it because it can control what you hear. Like radio, you are not in control the DJ is. So whatever “product” it wants to push gets the plays. The sheep lap it up, no thought necessary. More choice is less freedom.
For those not sheep minded Bandcamp is a reminder that there is real music out there played by real musicians. People to connect with on an emotional level. People with passion for their art and in control of production.
That is what makes me a collector not a consumer. I care about where the music comes from and who makes it. I care about who they are and what moves them to make music. In short I care about music, and I want to have a choice. Surrendering that choice to streaming services does not enrich the soul. If I choose to add a piece to my collection I recognise its significance to me as a person. I can’t think of anything more barren than listening to music and to have nothing to show for it. Streaming commoditises music and makes it disposable. Ultimately that does not respect the artist. I buy albums because the complete work deserves my attention, and the greater expenditure requires more thought. A purchase is a matter of deliberation and the artist gets respected. The artist is not respected in a world of play….skip….play….skip….next…
I can see streaming is attractive to consumer and producer, but more is less. That path is not freedom, it is being fitted for a straight jacket where the producer controls the market and ultimately what you listen to. To keep listening to music you love you have to keep paying. Stop paying and you have nothing….. Music deserves more respect.
I’ll keep buying and collecting; it makes me human. Anyway, near to 6000 tracks probably makes me a collector.