The questions of collecting.

Collecting CDs is my hobby. I enjoy it. I like the music, the album art, the thrill of the chase! Nothing is better than finding that rare CD for a few dollars, when it goes on Ebay for hundreds.

Going back 10 years ago to 1995/1996, Rhode Island and southeastern Massachusetts had some great record shops where CDs were plentiful. Now, that scene has all but dried up. Stores closed, big chains got involved in used CDs, and the average CD buyer started to scour used racks for Ebay fodder.

The thrill of the hunt is gone…..due to the ever decreasing hunting grounds in my area. I do come across some gems to add to the collection but they are few and far between. It also becomes increasingly hard to find CDs to add to the collection as your collection grows and the stock in your area stays stagnant. New releases can still be found as long as the price is decent.

The hunt has transferred to the Internet. We all know Ebay. The mother of all used CD stores! This is where it gets tricky. I buy off Ebay a lot, I sell when I can but that goes hand in hand with hunting and finding things to sell. When on Ebay, I watch a lot of rarities. Of course, a rarity to one person may not be a rarity for another. A rarity to me may be a common CD that I haven’t seen locally for a while, to others it may be that obscure independent release by a band that never had a chance.

It’s all become big business, especially in the AOR, Hard Rock, and Heavy Metal genres. Old albums get reissued, remastered, bootlegged, etc. Original CD pressings of certain albums go for big bucks, as do Japanese pressings. There are albums that were never released on CD that are coming out of Russia and Greece that are bootlegs, digitized from vinyl or cassette. There are CDs that were made by bands independently from the 80s and 90s that go for hundreds, if not thousands, on Ebay. These are being bootlegged as well.

Old band members get involved in the Ebay selling. It’s not uncommon for a band to have old stock lying around in someone’s garage and they whip the CDs, one at a time, for $100 a pop. Collectors find members from now defunct bands and try to buy any copies of the CDs they may have, then they turn them into Ebay profits.

Do I fault the Ebay sellers? Nope. They are doing business the American way, why shouldn’t they profit from their ingenuity? It’s all Capitalism, baby! It just makes it harder for the smaller fish.

So what do you do?

Do you buy the original CD, the original pressing from decades past?
Do you buy the official reissue or remaster with bonus tracks?
Do you buy the bootlegged copy?
Do you buy the vinyl or cassette, hopefully insuring that you have the original press if it was never on CD?

These are serious questions that need serious answers. Almost forgot…..

Which band’s CDs do you purchase?

Truth be told, I want it all. I like old bands, new bands, and bands I’ve never heard of. I want to have all the old Rainbow albums on CD, I want all the Alice Cooper albums on CD, and I’d love to find an original copy of Rock Boulevard or Stage Dolls – Commandos lying in a dusty bin in the back of a pawn shop.

I guess it’s all about preference. I have a small collection compared to some and a large collection compared to others. Do I spend my hard earned cash and fill in those holes in my Rainbow collection or do I pull that $40-50 together and go after Kick Axe – Vices that was re-released on CD in 2000 on Sony Rewind but is now out of print (OOP)? Do I buy those 3 Queen CDs I need to complete my Queen collection or do I take that $25 and buy that UFO Japanese import from 2002 of Lights Out? Do I suck it up and save the hundreds it will take to buy that original copy of Rock Boulevard (if it ever comes up on Ebay again) and forget about the more “common” or available bands out there?

When you work hard for your money, you spend it carefully and wisely. So the question really is:

How do you collect?