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I need some advice on my record collection


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I've been in a weird place with my collection for quite a while now, and I really need some thoughts. I've been collecting for probably 10 years now (I'm 25), and I've been super, super passionate about it for the last few. I’m proud of what I’ve collected and I have both a lot of records (1500+) and a lot of music that’s really important to me.

 

But recently it's causing me a lot of stress and anxiety, and I'm really considering trying to sell my collection and properly quitting. I live in New Zealand, and this means there is the situation where shipping is always super expensive and slow. This is alright on its own, but the rate of damage in the mail is astronomical - I routinely get warped records and sleeve damage, maybe as much as 1/3 of what I get. I have a vinylflat, but it only works so much to fix these. I also cannot stand poorly pressed records with noise, which I feel like there are so many of these days. I have an ultrasonic cleaner to address this, but again it only helps so much.

 

These things are affecting my relationship with music, as I get stuff that is damaged or noisy and I associate negative feelings with the music itself, which makes me not want to listen to those albums at all anymore. The other problems along with this are just having a negative effect on my life.

 

Collecting is really important to me and it’s hard to picture my life without it, but I just feel like this can’t go on like this anymore, but I also don’t want to look back and regret whatever I do.

 

Has anyone else been in a similar situation and has any thoughts?

 

This is me and my collection just for context - https://www.discogs.com/user/swallowtales/collection

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Seek assistance from a professional 

 

edit - selling records is stressful so if you are already stressed selling them isn’t going to help. Just stop buying new ones. If you can’t stop see my original statement 

Edited by Tidal Wave
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3 minutes ago, Tidal Wave said:

Seek assistance from a professional 

 

edit - selling records is stressful so if you are already stressed selling them isn’t going to help. Just stop buying new ones. If you can’t stop see my original statement 

Yeah I'm pretty aware of the selling being stressful part haha. If I did it would be bit by bit anyway cause otherwise it would be completely unmanageable. I can see your advice - I do have anxiety and depression and have seen people for it and it's generally pretty in hand, but this is a bit of a blind spot cause I never really know which way to swing with it at this point, so have just been meandering along for ages but am giving it some serious thought atm.

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I've been at a similar point with just about everything I've ever collected, including vinyl, and I totally get feeling like imperfections in your collection are holes in your soul. It drove me crazy. Not to mention the stress of trying to get everything you want in the first place, which is a whole other story. The thing that helped me was to just step away. Maybe for only a little while in some cases, maybe forever in others. But consider taking a break. It's all meant to be fun, but if it's causing you that much stress and worry, there's a problem. I dragged myself away from message boards and social media and news sites and the rest and just let whatever I was collecting go on without me for a while, and that let me cool down and get some perspective. It helped me go from feeling like my brain was on fire over every little thing to mild "Aw, darn"-grade disappointment. And I also asked myself why I was losing my mind over these things - like, was anyone considering me less of a person because some record cover had a minor corner bend, or something? (Answer: no, no they were not.)

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Impulsively selling your collection doesn’t seem like it would help you- I can only imagine the remorse you’d feel. I would seriously just take a break and enjoy what you have or discover stuff you like that you can get your hands on easily. 
 

The past two years has sucked for collecting and the hobby in general. I relate to what you said about the frustration altering your relationship with music. Having to be selective (for many reasons)  about buying music sucks now. 

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35 minutes ago, orthostice said:

I've been at a similar point with just about everything I've ever collected, including vinyl, and I totally get feeling like imperfections in your collection are holes in your soul. It drove me crazy. Not to mention the stress of trying to get everything you want in the first place, which is a whole other story. The thing that helped me was to just step away. Maybe for only a little while in some cases, maybe forever in others. But consider taking a break. It's all meant to be fun, but if it's causing you that much stress and worry, there's a problem. I dragged myself away from message boards and social media and news sites and the rest and just let whatever I was collecting go on without me for a while, and that let me cool down and get some perspective. It helped me go from feeling like my brain was on fire over every little thing to mild "Aw, darn"-grade disappointment. And I also asked myself why I was losing my mind over these things - like, was anyone considering me less of a person because some record cover had a minor corner bend, or something? (Answer: no, no they were not.)

Seems we are very similar haha. That probably is a good idea, as I feel exactly like you describe.

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29 minutes ago, porkdad said:

Impulsively selling your collection doesn’t seem like it would help you- I can only imagine the remorse you’d feel. I would seriously just take a break and enjoy what you have or discover stuff you like that you can get your hands on easily. 
 

The past two years has sucked for collecting and the hobby in general. I relate to what you said about the frustration altering your relationship with music. Having to be selective (for many reasons)  about buying music sucks now. 

Absolutely, I want to think whatever I do through properly first. I've been here before, so it wouldn't be totally impulsive, but gotta take the time to think through big decisions.

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Tbh I kind of get it. Quality is a crapshoot, everything's a pre-order, production costs are rising, and getting records damaged in the mail sucks. 

 

But I dunno, I don't think these things should be affecting how you feel about music. At the end of the day, it's just stuff. Don't sell your collection. Just enjoy what you have and maybe focus on buying from labels you know will ship things securely or have a good return/replacement policy.

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2 hours ago, swallowtales said:

I've been in a weird place with my collection for quite a while now, and I really need some thoughts. I've been collecting for probably 10 years now (I'm 25), and I've been super, super passionate about it for the last few. I’m proud of what I’ve collected and I have both a lot of records (1500+) and a lot of music that’s really important to me.

 
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But recently it's causing me a lot of stress and anxiety, and I'm really considering trying to sell my collection and properly quitting. I live in New Zealand, and this means there is the situation where shipping is always super expensive and slow. This is alright on its own, but the rate of damage in the mail is astronomical - I routinely get warped records and sleeve damage, maybe as much as 1/3 of what I get. I have a vinylflat, but it only works so much to fix these. I also cannot stand poorly pressed records with noise, which I feel like there are so many of these days. I have an ultrasonic cleaner to address this, but again it only helps so much.

 
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These things are affecting my relationship with music, as I get stuff that is damaged or noisy and I associate negative feelings with the music itself, which makes me not want to listen to those albums at all anymore. The other problems along with this are just having a negative effect on my life.

 

Collecting is really important to me and it’s hard to picture my life without it, but I just feel like this can’t go on like this anymore, but I also don’t want to look back and regret whatever I do.

 

Has anyone else been in a similar situation and has any thoughts?

 

This is me and my collection just for context - https://www.discogs.com/user/swallowtales/collection

Where are you buying from? I get plenty delivered to me in Napier and have not had any warped in maybe 5 years now. There’s a spot on my front porch where the sun is intense so I just asked the courier to not leave them there. I do agree postage is expensive depending on where you’re buying from but at the same time I’ve found a few places where is reasonable price but still a month or so delivery time 

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2 hours ago, orthostice said:

And I also asked myself why I was losing my mind over these things - like, was anyone considering me less of a person because some record cover had a minor corner bend, or something? (Answer: no, no they were not.)

Had to quote this for truth.  That street runs both ways too – owning 20 variants of one record or dropping $1,000+ on a super limited, signed, promotional copy of something doesn’t necessarily translate into “I’m a more important person” or “I’m a bigger fan”.  I know that vinyl enthusiasts tend to have the frailest egos and require more validation than just about any hobbyists out there, but I’ve never considered variant hoarding or dropping big bucks on a coveted release to magically rank you higher in fandom, or something.  Contrary to how much dick swinging comes with the hobby, it’s already been said in this thread: you should collect because it’s fun.  The minute it stops becoming fun, it’s time to step back or consider opting out.  One of the quickest ways to lose that fun is to fret and sweat any corner bend or seam split.

 

(Also in case it reads this way, I’m not accusing OP of hysteria over corner dings and seam splits.  I fully acknowledge that some of his orders are beyond playable when they show up.  And that really sucks.  The winded point above is more applicable to the countless people who want to exchange or get a refund on new records that arrive with a little bit of ring wear or a dinged corner.)

 

1 hour ago, ghost said:

I don't think these things should be affecting how you feel about music.

So much this.  Believe it or not, that’s what it boils down to.  Or should.  What do people do when they enjoy an album that has never been pressed on vinyl?  Just not acknowledge it?  Music first and foremost, always.  Give me a shelf full of quality bands and releases on “boring” black vinyl, with the occasional bit of sleeve scuff or folded corner.  For me, that will always be worlds more desirable than a stash of limited edition garbage /150, in pristine shape.  Even if said junk has insane collectibility or resale value, if it’s a pile of Enjoy the Ride releases, I’d see no real reason to own it.

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I've had similar thoughts from time to time, and the lousy quality (not to mention the soaring prices) of many pressings is definitely a factor. One thing I've done recently is to simply get rid of records that sound bad and just buy the CD instead. It's significantly cheaper, and while not quite as enjoyable as playing a record, it removes a lot of the annoyance with defective pressings. I adjusted my thinking a bit. Instead of viewing CD's as inherently inferior like I used to, I just accept them for what they are, a less charming format with nearly flawless sound reproduction on a smaller physical scale. True, I have a few records that, to me, sound better than CD's due to the different mastering, but let's be honest, people trashing the sound quality of CD's vs. vinyl have no clue what they're talking about. So when I get frustrated by the high prices or shoddy quality of a particular vinyl release, I just move on to the CD version and that helps me forget what I was annoyed about and just focus on the music. Ultimately, curating a physical library of all my favorite music is something that gives me a lot of joy, much more than streaming everything possibly could.

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4 hours ago, parkermatt said:

Where are you buying from? I get plenty delivered to me in Napier and have not had any warped in maybe 5 years now. There’s a spot on my front porch where the sun is intense so I just asked the courier to not leave them there. I do agree postage is expensive depending on where you’re buying from but at the same time I’ve found a few places where is reasonable price but still a month or so delivery time 

I buy from all over the place, all over Europe, USA, within NZ, sometimes elsewhere. Inside NZ is always reliable, but struggle to get the things I am into here. I have a covered porch that they get left in, and was basically always fine until COVID and then after that it's mostly been a shit show for warps on my end. Glad someone is having a better time of it though!

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2 hours ago, Derek™ said:

Had to quote this for truth.  That street runs both ways too – owning 20 variants of one record or dropping $1,000+ on a super limited, signed, promotional copy of something doesn’t necessarily translate into “I’m a more important person” or “I’m a bigger fan”.  I know that vinyl enthusiasts tend to have the frailest egos and require more validation than just about any hobbyists out there, but I’ve never considered variant hoarding or dropping big bucks on a coveted release to magically rank you higher in fandom, or something.  Contrary to how much dick swinging comes with the hobby, it’s already been said in this thread: you should collect because it’s fun.  The minute it stops becoming fun, it’s time to step back or consider opting out.  One of the quickest ways to lose that fun is to fret and sweat any corner bend or seam split.

 

(Also in case it reads this way, I’m not accusing OP of hysteria over corner dings and seam splits.  I fully acknowledge that some of his orders are beyond playable when they show up.  And that really sucks.  The winded point above is more applicable to the countless people who want to exchange or get a refund on new records that arrive with a little bit of ring wear or a dinged corner.)

 

So much this.  Believe it or not, that’s what it boils down to.  Or should.  What do people do when they enjoy an album that has never been pressed on vinyl?  Just not acknowledge it?  Music first and foremost, always.  Give me a shelf full of quality bands and releases on “boring” black vinyl, with the occasional bit of sleeve scuff or folded corner.  For me, that will always be worlds more desirable than a stash of limited edition garbage /150, in pristine shape.  Even if said junk has insane collectibility or resale value, if it’s a pile of Enjoy the Ride releases, I’d see no real reason to own it.

Pretty much agree with you on everything in principle. I don't dig habing multiple copies of stuff, I like having one copy that sounds great and if it looks cool too that's a bonus. And I am okay with some types of wear to the sleeve, it's just seam splits that really bug me. The perfectionist within me hates them so much even though I know it doesn't make a lot of sense logically (and then yeah there are the ones that come unplayable which is more and more common).

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1 hour ago, bjorn said:

I've had similar thoughts from time to time, and the lousy quality (not to mention the soaring prices) of many pressings is definitely a factor. One thing I've done recently is to simply get rid of records that sound bad and just buy the CD instead. It's significantly cheaper, and while not quite as enjoyable as playing a record, it removes a lot of the annoyance with defective pressings. I adjusted my thinking a bit. Instead of viewing CD's as inherently inferior like I used to, I just accept them for what they are, a less charming format with nearly flawless sound reproduction on a smaller physical scale. True, I have a few records that, to me, sound better than CD's due to the different mastering, but let's be honest, people trashing the sound quality of CD's vs. vinyl have no clue what they're talking about. So when I get frustrated by the high prices or shoddy quality of a particular vinyl release, I just move on to the CD version and that helps me forget what I was annoyed about and just focus on the music. Ultimately, curating a physical library of all my favorite music is something that gives me a lot of joy, much more than streaming everything possibly could.

This is a good strategy and I admire you for it. The things I like about vinyl are the way you interact with it, the tactility and physicality, and they do sound great when done well! I think cds sound really good too but they aren't quite the same. Ultimately I kind of miss the feeling where it was just about the music itself and there wasn't any worrying about the quality of the physical thing though. A lot to think about.

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I know that feeling. Also live on the other side of the planet. Paying about 20$ for delivery of every single record and about 30% of them arriving with pretty badly bent corners or wrapped. After all that long waiting and crazy prices you expecting to receive something really special but that's almost never turns out this way. In the worst cases you feel just disappointment.

 

After catching myself on all that thoughts I just told myself "fuck it, that's just a beautiful piece of plastic and it's not worth my disappointment". 

 

Dudes out here already told everything, I'll just resume it:

1. Hobby is about fun. If you're not having fun - take a break. 

2. If during your break you will feel disappointment about missing records than that's just a circle of pain and you should visit specialist.

3. I think that selling your collection will make you feel worse. Don't do it. Also don't reply to these assholes who ask you to sell something from your collection after there saw that topic.

4. If you have other hobbies - try to focus on them. When something similar happened to me I started giving more time to my other hobby (skateboarding) and it helped.

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2 hours ago, swallowtales said:

This is a good strategy and I admire you for it. The things I like about vinyl are the way you interact with it, the tactility and physicality, and they do sound great when done well! I think cds sound really good too but they aren't quite the same. Ultimately I kind of miss the feeling where it was just about the music itself and there wasn't any worrying about the quality of the physical thing though. A lot to think about.

Thanks, and I totally agree with you about the tactile difference between CD's and vinyl, there's absolutely no contest. I also think that in light of all the things that can go wrong with vinyl, there's something particularly satisfying when you get a beautifully produced copy where everything looks and sounds its best. To me, that's as good a reason as any to keep collecting.

I can also add that as a guy in his forties who has been collecting music since his 10th birthday, I'm grateful I held on to as much as I did. I still have some tapes and CD's from my childhood, but there are a bunch I got rid of that I would really like to have back. And while these are ultimately just objects, they somehow add something irreplaceable to my life.

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1 hour ago, bjorn said:

I can also add that as a guy in his forties who has been collecting music since his 10th birthday, I'm grateful I held on to as much as I did. I still have some tapes and CD's from my childhood, but there are a bunch I got rid of that I would really like to have back. And while these are ultimately just objects, they somehow add something irreplaceable to my life.

 

I'm right there with ya on this as well. Age-wise and still having all the stuff from younger days. 

 

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Record collecting can be and is a pain in the ass hobby depending on what type of person you are. 

 

If you're in it for the love of the music and the artists/bands and don't care for condition of jackets and sleeves (as long as not completely trashed & wrecked), you'll be happy to listen to the record itself given that it's clean and plays. 

 

If you're an OCD completist asshole...like I tend to be with certain bands & artists...then you can and will be on a long road of heartbreak & disappointment and questioning your role in the hobby and the potential loss of "fun". 

 

I can understand & relate to the OP's post and all subsequent responses and replies. The older we get, priorities in life shift and change, but it's all matter of being able to make time (and money) for the things that bring you some sort of respite and enjoyment. If you feel that record collecting is now having a negative effect on your self and life...then you may want to reassess things and even consider getting help. And I don't mean that as an insult. It's a legitimate thing to consider. I have a friend who ran a label and worked at a record store and was a serious collector. He reached a point where he was stressing out majorly over getting all variants of his favorite bands' releases and being a completist as much as possible. It became a compulsion. He recognized this was causing a problem in his life so he sought professional help. He eventually came to grips with things and sold off a chunk of his collection and learned to manage the stress of it all. He's in a much better place now and is happier. 

 

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