Is Collecting Records Stupid?

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


mojo-photo-beatles.jpgVia Uncut comes news that an exceedingly rare copy of the Beatles’ 1968 “White Album” is set for auction this week, and is likely to bring bids of up to £5000 ($10,000). The record has a serial number of 00000007 (kind of like Mr. Burns’ Social Security number) and since it’s rumored that the first ten copies of the album were all given to band members, that would make this “the lowest numbered original mono copy” that has ever been up for auction. Is this silly, or a justifiable appreciation of a landmark work of art?

I’ve never had much of a “collector’s” mindset when it comes to music, although my preference for vinyl’s sound forced me to search (and often pay high prices) for hard-to-find records in the pre-internet days. For a while, the Pixies’ Doolittle just wasn’t anywhere on vinyl, and when I finally found a copy I paid like $25, which was a lot back then. Jeez, It’s still a lot. But for me, it’s always been about the music on the record, not the record itself, although I do have to admit to a certain geeky pride when I flip through my stacks and see the rare Warsaw record or a hard-to-find Kraftwerk LP.

mojo-photo-vinyl.jpgHowever, these days it’s harder and harder to justify the shelf space. My 1-terabyte hard drive holds thousands of albums, all of which I can access at the touch of a button, and I have to admit I’ve downloaded an mp3 of a song I need for a project because the original record is all the way across the room. Even though the physicality and warm sound of vinyl still attracts me, if I have to pack all 3000 of my records up again for another move, I’ll probably roll over and die.

So, in this age of WiFi and iPods, it may seem all the more ridiculous to shell out 10 grand for a rare copy of an album you can enjoy for free (or cheap) just about anywhere at any time. On the other hand, does the cheapness of our download culture make rare records, wiped delicately with a dust cloth and placed carefully on a turntable, the “slow food” of today’s music distribution system? I’ll admit it, there’s a part of me that wishes I had $10,001 so I could outbid everybody else. Oh well: la la la la life goes on.

Photos: (1) courtesy Cameo Fine Art Auctioneers and (2) used under a Creative Commons license from Flickr user Peryi.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate