Last week there was an interesting thinkpiece published on Salon.com entitled “Sell your records, sell your soul?: How I learned to stop hoarding and embrace the cloud.”
It’s quite long, but worth the read. The takeaway was that the author struggles with her music collection: keeping it is a burden, the thought of getting rid of it causes emotional distress, and the idea of ripping it all to hard drives seems like a monumentally challenging, not to mention tedious task.
I suspect that many of us who are music lovers can relate to the author’s dilemma. I already had my moment like hers more than a decade ago. For the record (no pun intended), I opted to rip it all to hard drives and de-clutter my space.
I’ll expand on that in a moment, but the one passage that jumped out at me was this one:
“Part of collecting is knowing when to let go. If you’re not willing to admit that something just doesn’t move you, or that dollar value sometimes takes precedence over the inherent value of good music, you’re a hoarder. Curation is an over-used word, but if you don’t curate your collection, you’re little more than a hoarder.”
I may indeed have divested myself of my collection of physical music media, but I’m still compulsive in my acquisition of music.
I sometimes think of myself as a magpie when it comes to music: acquiring shiny baubles more out of unconscious instinct or habit than any rational process that results in thinking “I should get this.”
Except instead of shelves groaning with the weight of thousands of CDs I have hard drives, the main playback one and then backup copies, brimming over with music files.
There are albums and tracks in my collection that I haven’t listened to in years, and there are ones that I haven’t listened to at all. It’s like a book you bought, put on the bookshelf and only get around to reading months or years later.
Are you still a hoarder if you accumulate data rather than physical objects?
That’s an interesting question.
In my defense, I listen to music all the time, at home and on the go. The whole reason I got a 128 Gb iPhone 6 last Fall was so that I could fit a sizeable fraction of my music collection on my phone. I stream music from my phone to my car’s stereo via Bluetooth on drives both short and long.
And, and this is my main point, by putting iTunes on shuffle, I discover music that often I didn’t know that I had. New music comes on all the time.
It’s like listening to the radio, only much, much better.
I call that a win.
So, yeah, I’m not a hoarder, I’m a magpie, and proud of it. And my collection of shiny baubles continues to entertain me.