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August 28, 2005



this article strikes me two-fold. How am I the sixteen year old audiophile and blossoming music snob to take this? I offiicially began my musical snobbery approxiamtely four years ago at the end of my sixth grade year when I got my own iMac. At that point all I was interested in was Talking Heads, Devo, and an assortment of electronic tracks and some Japanese stuff, but that quickly changed as my listening to 'FMU increased ten fold and I began downloading music off Napster then LImewire with some regularity. These days I pull as many as twenty to a hundred tracks off line in a single day and have just hit 12000 mp3's. Then considering the llttle under a thousand peices of vinyl I've ripped off from my parents and can't play cause the turntable broke two years ago and I'm too lazy, I get a feeling like I identify with what this guy is saying but I also feel like I'm under attack. How is one sposed to build a music collection if not this way? (BTW, 'FMU is one to talk, I still havent heard all of teh two hundred songs I got as premiums fomr the lot of you)

Jeff Jotz

Your blog entry just reminded me to back up my iTunes file.


"it's a little disturbing to hear a civilian music fan boast that he has the complete set of Trojan reggae box-sets on his iPod sitting alongside 9,000 other tracks that he probably neither needs nor deserves."

Quit stoking your ego's. I don't remember when the announcement proclaiming that music is only for those that deserve it was made. Music snobbery is a terrible thing and if the iPod is killing it off, then it is a good thing. I dont consider wfmu a music snob haven, because if it were why would you be on the free and public radio waves spreading the obscure music gospel to the masses. If it was a snob station you would most likely have to pay for a subscription, listen to it on shortwave, or render it from an audio encryption lest it hit some unworthy ear.

Ive never seen an audio recording that had some sort of ranking system on it to let the purchaser know if they had achieved high enough status to own the album. I doubt I ever will. If a certian genre, or artist, or album is made for the few and the proud then good for you and your people, but dont try to pretend that the rest of the world is standing there batting there eyes at you or that anyone even cares.

The point is that music is for the people. I doubt that any artist on any of the Trojan reggae box-sets would appreciate it if they knew that their work was being held aloft away from the common listener. So be a snob if you want, but dont try to tell yourself that anyone cares.

ec brown

The huge digital music collection is meaningless (and, I'll venture to say, difficult to appreciate in depth), but those who work to evangelize the music, maintain download pages, and (especially) help make it possible for musicians to perform in new cities/countries, will always wear the laurels.


I view the iPod revolution as being an equalization of what technology has already done to record collecting. What's more fun, finding a copy of, say, Don Bradshaw Leather in someone's old storehouse of vinyl for five bucks, or buying a copy from for a thousand bucks because it was on the NWW list? I'll have to go with the former, every time, but because of things like the Internet revolutionizing mass communications that sort of thing is now impossible. So where does finding a free MP3 copy of the album fit into the above scenario? Probably not as much exhilirating as the first possibility, but definitely above the second, IMO. And even with the increased dissemination of obscure music, we're still talking about maybe hundreds of copies of an album rather than dozens of copies out there; maybe a lesser magnitude of obscurity, but we're still not exactly talking about something getting played on the radio a dozen times a day.

In the end, when it comes to bragging rights, a record collection (or an MP3 collection) is about context. Having Shooby Taylor MP3s alongside a massive Coldplay collection: not so awesome. Having Shooby Taylor MP3s alongside the LAFMS box set and similar things: pretty awesome. IMO.

Bruce Lokeinsky

I've been called an elitist for my taste in music. But I've been spending 40 some-odd years listening to all sorts of stuff - not all of it, or even most of it, from record collections. As a matter of fact, I once made a lifestyle change and sold all my old vinyl, back in the late 80's, including all sorts of rare and unusual crap.

Nowadays, I'm still an elitist, but I don't need (so many) CD's - I've got WFMU & the archives. As I've gotten older, it becomes less of an imperative to collect everything. Sure I could scour e-bay, find those first two Root Boy Slim LP's that I've been dying to hear again for 20 years, even buy a turntable, but what for? Eventually I'm gonna hear on WFMU! No need to download it, search for it, just groove to the serendipity of the WFMU playlist.


As for the author pointing out W. Benjamin's take on the "Thrill of Acquisition", I disagree that it has the left the building. Sure it's become a crack-high, it's short, intense and you want to do it again, but it's also fascinating when it isn't so easy, even with all these tools at your disposal, to find a copy of "Dusted in Memphis" for example.


i dunno. i'm finding lately that acquisition is everything- to the point where actual enjoyment is suffering. there are so many sharity sites and file-sharing programs that i tend to spend more time collecting than i do listening. gone are the days where i would pick up an album, take it home and listen to it over and over and over again until i couldn't stand to listen to it anymore. nowadays (as if my attention span needed to be shorter than it was before) i make damn sure that i have every new album that someone posts on their blog, but i occasionally forget to listen to them.
as principal seymour skinner said "the times they are a-becoming quite different."

Kenny G.

One of the first things that struck me about Napster was how impure (read: eclectic) people's tastes were. While browsing another user's files, I was stunned find John Cage MP3s snuggled up next to, say, Mariah Carey files in the same directory. Everyone has guilty pleasures, however, never before have they been so exposed -- and celebrated.

Here's PDF of my entire record collection from 1967-1999. I sat down and typed out everything before MP3s. Now I have many more MP3s than I do / did vinyl and / or CDs.

Of course I have no time to hear everything. But I was / am such an obsessive collector that even with vinyl, I never was able to comprehend the entirety of my collection.

steve pmx

Perhaps this guy could explore the possibilities of isolating his most prized music from his shared folder? Maybe its just me, but internet and p2p file sharing seems to have created a new breed of music snobs. Although his struggle for exclusive snobbery sounds tragic, I don't really see many downsides to having access to cheaper music in digital form. It helps promote artists who don't have exposure to tv/radio and can really help shape the culture of new forms of music by providing discourse and feedback with an international audience.


The huge digital music collection is meaningless (and, I'll venture to say, difficult to appreciate in depth), but those who work to evangelize the music, maintain download pages, and (especially) help make it possible for musicians to perform in new cities/countries, will always wear the laurels.


Collecting mp3 files-of the kind of music of interest to me and which I buy CDs of-is just an extra.I do it because its FREE and the bulk of it is from sites like Garage Hangover,Cover Lay Down and Jersey Girls-which is where you find a heap of girl high school pop like Bernadette Carroll.Plus whatever fellow 50s and 60s collectors send me
Garage I think I emptied the site even the podcasts because this sort of British Invasion copy stuff is damn easy to digest
Meanwhile I have over 2000 mp3s on a couple of pendrives and a CD ROM.
I PODS I know nothing of and can live without them as you only put your own CDs on anyway don't you?
As far as the mp3s go on here the first ones I ever got-the Fake Beatles and those 3 marvellous songs of the first girl Christian rocker Isabel Baker -its only because I can't get this stuff in the shops or on import
Paying 99p each for a single song from a "digital retailer" is the most expensive way of collecting music-many CDs nowadays are 20 trackers.
It also means nothing to say you have half a million mp3s-it says nothing about YOU and can show no one anything

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