If you are into collecting music as I am, there comes a time when you notice that some editions you managed to snatch up somewhere along the line have either disappeared or have reached a price that is simply unacceptable. If you regularly scout around the Internet looking for the rarer editions available in either limited form or for a limited time only, it won’t take long until you notice that the hobby you chose is probably the one to take you to your grave a lot faster than others, motor-racing not withstanding.
The two first Count Basie Roulette Live and Studio Boxes released by Mosaic Records have completely disappeared and are commanding anything from $400 to over $1000 on eBay. The wonderful seven-volume (21 CDs) reissue series “The Complete Dinah Washington on Mercury” by Verve, is fetching Amazon marketplace prices – depending on the volume you want and the country your searching in – from anywhere around $40 to $800! Some obscure single CDs might easily set you back several hundred dollars and if you try to get that elusive Blue Note original LP release, you might as well sell a kidney first.
Makes you think, doesn’t it?
So, about three weeks ago I had some time to blow, waiting for some medicine to kick in, and I looked-up a few of my rarer boxed sets on Amazon, eBay and on some of the more frequented second-hand sites. I stopped adding up the cash needed to replace them when I hit ten thousand dollars – and that was after about 9 minutes of looking.
Now, if you collect stamps you also know that an extremely rare one is only of value if you actually find a collector willing to shell out the dough for it, but at this very moment, the market for rarer CDs seems to be at a peak, and I don’t see a slack approaching anytime soon. If you know where to go and sell your stuff, you could probably make a real killing at this very moment. And, conversely, gone is the time when one could snatch up a real deal on eBay. Even misspelled items are caught by just about everyone nowadays, and hoping to be able to jump on an overlooked item and getting it at that killer price is hoping in vain – which also takes all of the fun out of the former eBay experience.
So, I started making backups. You heard correctly: Backups. Laugh at me, but in an age in which removable storage media come at ridiculously cheap prices, one or two USB harddrives can be your savior. When I had some spare cash, I bought myself two and ripped as perfect a CD image (using ExactAudioCopy) as possible of each and every overly expensive CD and stored them once on each drive. To say I sleep better now is exaggerated, but I do feel better about the issue.
Now the only thing left to do is wonder if I’m getting too attached to all this materialistic stuff and if I should not maybe sell it all and get a life.