Why so much????

In response to a post appearing here yesterday a number of 'AGon-people' claimed to have CD and vinyl collections numbering in the hundreds and even thousands. Other posters questioned the need for so much music (impossible to listen to all of it!) while others spoke of a pissing contest among the 'overly endowed'.
Your thoughts are requested for the following questions:
1) How much is too much?
2) To those with so much...Why? What's your rationale?
3) Are you crazy?

Just curious. I'll give my thoughts later.
I probably have "too much" by your standards. However, I like being able to grab what I want to hear off the shelf whenever I want it and I like to hear alternative performances of many pieces. So, the collection grows continuously.

1.More than you need or want.

2.Some were impulse or curiosity buys;I probably listen to about half, three or four times as much as the other half.

3.I hope not,but how would I know?
I agree with Kal.

I usually buy music that I want, because I have actually heard it either at a friends (house or car), or on the radio. If I bought it, why not keep it. Storage is not that big a deal. (Even if I put them in boxes in the closet, which I do with my less listened to music.)

I never sell used CDs or LPs. Therefore, the collection just grows. (The only time I get rid of music is if somebody recommends I try something, and I really don't like it. At that point, I will give it away. It is extremely rare that that happens though. (I can only remember giving away my Styx collection and trading a Steve Miller Album for some other album. That happened 20 years or so.)
Why would any one care how or why anyone else chooses to spend their money, let alone find it necessary to comment on it? As far as this hobby goes I'd far rather spend my money on software I can listen to, even if only occasionally, or even if only kept for reference, than hardware that comes and goes with the seasons, but that is my choice. If you want to spend all of your money on hardware and only listen to 2 pieces of music thats yours. And if you don't want to spend money on either, find another hobby. Personally, when I read comments from folks who question "conspicious consumption" I think of words like envy and jealosy and classless.
i got over 400 Cd's and only about 20-30 of them ever find themselves in my player. most of mine are junk, or albums in which i was disappointed after i heared it.

You gotta dig in the dirt to find the gold eh?

I cannot imagine having over 1000 cd's. No problem with it i guess, but i would lose track of everything pretty quick
1) Too much is when all the great music is purchased and one is then buying only mediocre music (to his/her ears) -- I suspect that is in the thousands somewhere.

2) Great music is its own reward -- that's why I am in the hobby.

3) Absolutely. Otherwise I wouldn't be in this hobby.
In the case of classical music there is reason to have several recordings of the same piece. Particularly for concertos, there are many excellent soloists who have different interpretations, and it is interesting to compare them.
I'm with Kal also.

As for myself, I have about 3,000 CD's and 250 SACD's (the latters are mostly hybrids). I listen to all kinds of music but about 65% of the collection is classical (vocal, opera, symphonic, chamber). In this repertoire, there are many valid interpretations of the same piece, hence the need to collect many versions. What is currently spinning depends on the mood. I'd rather satisfy my hunger for software than spend the money on hardware upgrades just to hear a few discs over and over. There is so much great art out there begging to be discovered.
But this is just me. Crazy me.
1.too much is when you buy a second copy forgetting you already have one
2.because I like music and I feel it is and investment in my past
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I am the person who started the other thread Ashra is reffering too. My motives behind it had nothing to do with the quantity of anyones collection, just the ratio of hi-rez to redbook and the quantity of hi-rez formats in some audiophiles collections- and based on the replies I got, my theories from that thread are true. But I digress...

1.)How much is too much? that's such a relative question, as Eldartford said any classical music lover probably has a much larger collection then a non-classical fan(I have over 60 discs by one classical composer, and I wish I had more!). Then there are some groups(like the Greatful Dead for example) who have cult like followers that have literally hundreds of there discs. Music is about enjoyment, fun and in some cases an emotional connection- the quantity required to fulfill your needs may be large or you may be content with 12 recordings. Some say quality over quantity some say too much is never enough. Who's right? I don't know. I have bought duplicates of discs I already owned, and I don't think I am "there yet". To me too much is when you need a database to keep track of it(for me that would mean over 10,000 titles)

2.) Why so much?? because there are still musicians I don't know about, music is a voyage- and I enjoy it a lot. And any night I want to have a voyage I can go from listening to Greg Brown, to Rodrigo, to Dave Mathews, to Beck, to Bach and then back again if my little heart desires it. When I have enough music that I am no longer looking for new material then I will truly be a happy audiophile.

3.) Am I crazy?? I have to quote Ozfly, who said it perfectly
Absolutely. Otherwise I wouldn't be in this hobby.

I'll be slap happy to take those other 370 discs off your hands (or rack, as the case may be). I have no other alternative for getting over CD envy.

Just say the word, and I'll send you my address. Unless, of course, you happen to own sixteen multi-disc collections of the greatest love songs of the '70s.
Speaking for myself, every month hundreds of new albums are released. While they might not be 'great', they're generally still worth spinning a few dozen times. For example, I recently purchased The Killers album Hot Fuss after seeing them at the ACL Fest. The music is ultimately derivative but it's still pretty good. Moreover, unlike the music it derives from I haven't heard it a hundred times. In some ways it's more interesting to listen to a B recording that you've only heard a few times than an A recording that you already know inside and out.

That said, I *know* that I have records or CD's that I'll probably never listen to again (these tend to be the albums that I'm almost embarassed to own). But what should I do with them? To me the two or three bucks that I might get for them isn't worth the opportunity to listen to the album forever.

So the collection continually grows.

To be completely honest, I probably have a collectors mentality as well otherwise I wouldn't be such a sucker for special issues and colored vinyl.
I don't think Ashra has asked unreasonable questions. If someone collects porcelan figurines and has all of their walls covered with shelves (each holding 100), any of us might think they are a bit crazy. The collector may even admit to that, and laugh about it. There may be collectors among us who are a bit crazy and have hundreds of Xmas albums they will never listen to. And so what? I don't think its unfair to ask questions about what is reasonable consumption. This is a world of finite resources that we live in, and everything has consequences. And we all have areas in which we feel our passion, or our necessity, dictates a level of consumption above the "average". It doesn't put us past the question though. And sometimes one might say - I love it so much, I just don't care. Some "collections" are just right for the level of passion, some are "amusing", and you can't say that some might just be overconsumptive. We make our choices. Not all of them are what's best for the world, but we decide on the balance that is right for us. Although I may have a bit more equipment than I need, I tend to live simply in other ways, and I don't feel bad about it. But I feel we should all be open to the question and be open to thinking about what is an appropriate level of social responsibility. We must make allowances for our passions! I don't think that means we are 100% consumers in ever area. That is the nature of "balance". Sorry for the rant!
I would have a lot more if it wasn't for this endless pit that's high-end.
As others have said, there's no limit to curiosity. The more things I find, the more I think "maybe there's still something else..."
The "mistakes" done are easily "sold" on ebay or amazon.
"Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new."
I'm one of those with a fairly large collection?
probably 1,500-2,000 LPS
300-500 cassettes
1,000-1,200 cds
Unfortunately, there have been times where I've been a collector, not a listener
I'm 62 years old so i've had a long time to make a fool of my self. Started collecting when in college. I probably frequently listen to less then 10% of these. Whether I'm crazy or not, i'll leave others to judge, but certainly neurotic/compulsive. I've started placing ads as i've reached a time in my life where there's too much clutter in the house and will be soon downsizing our living space.
If someone doesn't understand why you have a large music collection, then no explanation can make them understand. The answer is self-evident. Either you get it or you don't.
Every one of us has more music than we need, but there may never be a limit to how much we want. Music is a great hobby because it allows you to enjoy the music, but also feeds some of our desire to collect. I find it much more optimal to collect something you can actually use, versus something like stamps, bottlecaps, or coins.

I have about 500 CD's, and recently just put them all into my iPod (which is simply awesome). I am currently traveling the world, and rating every song of mine from 1 to 5 stars (an iPod feature). This process is teaching me that I really do listen to and like almost all of my CD's, but there are at least a few handfuls that I plan to get rid of when I return home. No sense keeping those "mistake" CD's or the ones I just won't ever listen to again.
I think it is crazy also. I have about 250 Cd's / SACD's combined and find myself listening to the same 10 or 15 dics.


Lots of people spend a ton of money on their 2-channel system, what good is it without the software??? Sometimes you want to cue up classical, sometimes some good jazz, sometimes you're in the mood for hard rock. I've lost track of how many LP's and shiny things I own, I routinely buy new releases so the number continues to grow. In my view this hobby is all about the music, having a large music collection makes perfect sense to me.
I've been collecting music since my pre-teens. I'm now 53 yrs. and my 1200+ cd's and 500+ albums reflect the "soundtrack" of my life.

"Don't play what's there, play what's not there."
~ Miles Davis

In my case, it's because I go out every weekend to garage sales and thrift stores. At $1 each for LP's, it's a lot faster to buy them to listen to 'em. I'm trying to keep it at about 2500 records max. now that I'm married, which imposes a discipline of giving everything I buy a quick listen and puting it on my "SELL" pile if it's not up to snuff.
As someone above mentioned, classical is responsible for nearly half of it, because of the number of "valid" variations in both performance AND recording technique.

I try not to fall prey to the "collector mentality" as I really adhere to the "If I'm not likely to listen to it again - IT GOES!" The only exception is my Sealed Record fetish - they just feel so good... I have 3 sealed Jazz At Long Wharf now, damn they look good, and I can't bring myself to open one of them. SICK.

Ultimately, I plan on retiring someday and I don't think 2500 lp's will be too much to listen to then. Of course by then - I'll probably have sold my 70's punk, Prog rock, and Disco, so I'll be well under 2000 then.

I probably have close to 1500 CDs and 500 LPs. I know I listen to a few of them much, much more than the rest. Given that the GF is now moving in, for space reasons I decided to leave the bulk of them accessible only as mp3s and keep a couple hundred in the living room--the ones I really play a lot and the ones where audiophile quality really matters. Well, I went through my list of CDs looking for those "must haves" and came up with roughly 400 CDs (LPs are in the study, those stay.) It was kind of shocking to me--I was trying to restrict myself to those I know I've listened to on a regular basis over the last couple years.

Part of it, I think, is that I recognize that music can enhance/change my mood. So, there are times where I like digging up that one album that fits where I am at that moment. The sad part is that, even with all of the music in the living room, there are many many times where I can't find that one album that captures what I want...
Do you listen to your gear or your music?

I think in the end it probably makes more sense to spend most of your money on the music than your gear. Me, I only have about 100 cd's so far (yes, most of my $ is in my gear right now). I take my time collecting music, listening and enjoying finding new artists, styles, etc. I think it's the fun part of all this. I remember coming across Eva Cassidy, Robert Cray, Etta James, Mighty Sam McClain, Natalie Merchant, etc. and being completely blown away by these artists. I feel like a kid at Christmas rushing home with my new purchase to hear the whole CD. Yes, nice gear makes the sound even better, but even on my low-fi Yamaha carousel cdp, receiver and old Paradigm speakers they sound wonderful. Music just takes the edge off the day, allowing me to kick back and relax. In a world of politics, war, struggle for the legal tender, etc., I know of only one other fix that gives me more pleasure, my kids.

Oh, and sex (thats two)...:>)

Why such a painfully obvious question for all of us to opine upon?

A certain level of obsession drives every true audiophile. It's the reason why we restlessly search, research and search again for that magic combination of electronics and accessories that enables us to feel as if the artists have stepped into the listening room with us.

That same obsession to a greater or lesser degree extends to the music we collect. Unless, of course you don't see the connection between hi-fidelity music playback systems and music.


People collect lots of things -- some strange (to others), some not-so-strange. Mention of some of these items has already been made. Why do people collect things? To mark the passage of time. Who among us (even non-music collectors) cannot say "wow...I remember when I first heard *insert name of pertinent song here*..."? At the very least, a song can quickly take us back to a point in time that was, for whatever reason, pivotal.

Some of us even purposefully mark time with music. Four years ago, my wife and I had a son that we knew would not survive long. We spent only 6.5 hours with him -- and it was the most terrifying and joyous moment of my life. We spent that time listening to music that was important to us and that we wanted to share with him. To this day, I can no longer listen to those songs, but maybe one day I will be ready to and I will remember fully how precious and precarious life is.

Collect all you want, folks. It's your life. And besides, think of what a blast your kids will have going through it all after you're gone.
About a month ago, I was looking at my shelves of CDs for something to play. I pulled out "Empty Glass" by Pete Townshend, and as I was reveling in the uninhibited rage of "Rough Boys" I realized that I was listening to the first CD I ever bought.

Why so much? I agree. CD's should cost less. I bet I'd have twice as many then.

Per your questions:

1. “Too much” can be had for not too much if you are not too much in a hurry.

2. The rationale for “so much” is that, “too much” is simply not so much.

3. Yes, I am crazy...but not too much.
better question- why can't i get cd's of record alblums i used to cherish ? so much material will never ever appear on the store shelves again. i suggest someone (an ex-dj perhaps) devote their vast collection of vinyl to those who would pay $25 for them to burn a cd for them. a digital camera could capture the paperwork for another $10. i don't need another hi-rez edition of "cafe blue". anyone out there have a copy of leo wijnkamp jr.- rags to riches-kicking mule records??
great alblum, and just one of hundreds i wish i could get. what about dave brubeck-my favorite things- that's right, out of print. luckily i HAVE the record, and it's as good as anything he's ever done. but it's a worn, used copy. what about louis armstrong and the dukes of dixieland?- yep, out of print. classical music- forgetaboutit- way too much that was never re-issued.
Too much when you dont need it and still buy,and if you
dont have money to support the hobby.
Why so much? I guess we are bless in this country (USA)
and collection porpuses.
I am crazy? No actually I am enjoying every music, that
I played on my system.
Too much is keeping music you don't, and won't ever like. Edesilva hit the nail on the head, sometimes you have to look quite awhile to find something to play that hits the spot. For example, I have a traveling cd case of 200 discs. Sometimes I can page through the whole thing and nothing really grabs me. So 200 definitely isn't enough. However, when I have the whole collection available (1000 cd's/records) I can always find something that works.

I enjoy the search for a great piece of music I haven't heard before. This past year I've been buying a lot of jazz, as previously I wasn't really into it. What a voyage! I can now imagine what it's like to hear the Beatles/Stones/Whoever for the first time, instead of for the 1000th time. All that great music that I ignored for so long. That ain't crazy.
1) How much is too much? --- I don't believe that there is a "too much".

2) To those with so much...Why? What's your rationale? ---I have many different moods and musical interests that are filled from listening. Classical is good in the morning or while working, and I listen to something different every day. Energetic jazz is nice in the afternoon, while quiet jazz works well at night. I like rock in the afternoon and early evening. Some evenings Diana Krall's Girl in the Other Room works well, but on other evenings I might want to listen to her Live in Paris CD. Pat Methany has some stuff that is inspiring to do work to, while some of his other cds is great before bed. Arvo Part's Stabat Mater is an excellent late night listen as well. I'm listening to Trinity Session (Cowboy Junkies) now - I may be in the mood for something completely different later and its nice to have a big choice. Some of Joni Mitchel's cds bring back memories of long lost loves. Santana, Moody Blues, King Crimson, and Pink Floyd bring back memories of my youth, and different cds relate to various points in time. I don't like some artists at certain times, but love them at other times. This is just touching on the "rationale" for having a lot of different cds and albums.

My point is that music adds to the fullness of my life, and enjoyment of many different kinds of music and variations on a theme expand that fullness. Besides, it's a fun hobby.

3) Are you crazy? --- No. (see above)

By the way, it's not a pissing contest, rather you should think of the sharing in this forum as a way to expand what you know about music and your choices. I've purchased some of the cds mentioned on several threads, and these have been outstanding and have become favorites.

Thanks for all of your responses. My answers are as follows:
1. I'll know I have too much when my Ellyn tells me. Hold on a second. Just so you know, Ellyn called me from Rio once to spend 45 minutes telling me what she had seen in the way of original vinyl copies of psych from the Tropicalia Movement. Turned out to be a good trip for me when she got back. I may have to be the one to tell her when too much is too much.

2. I've always found comfort and refuge in libraries. Why not build my own? Friends, neighbors and acquaintances who know of my PASSION happily contribute with no expectation of remuneration.

3. Crazy...maybe but I'd be crazier without my vinyl for my many moods.

I never liked the expression 'it's the economy stupid!' but for me it really is about the music!