So I’ve been trying to curtail my spending for the last few years, and this year that really didn’t happen. Big time. Part of this was down to the trip to Los Angeles to commemorate the life of my friend [and music collecting sensei] Ron Kane by [what else?] buying records. In some cases, his own copies. Now that Ron is dead, and we’ve memorialized him, I can’t imagine ever making the trip out to Los Angeles again. I’d have been a fool to pass up the shopping, which was admittedly fantastic. So the amount of money spent on music burgeoned. But that was only one of five Record Shopping Road Trip events that happened this year. And there was an in-town shopping event which was as significant as any of these out-of-town trips. If you look at what I spent apart from those it’s a quite modest outlay, with some months being a handful [if that] of items. In all candor, if I have a month where I only get two titles, instead of 40, it doesn’t trouble me at all. I’m more troubled by too many months where I get dozens of titles.
The “Sales Events”
- January – Day trip to Greenville, South Carolina. It had been six years since I had shopped in Greenville [the day of the Thomas Dolby concert] and the complexion of shopping was very different. Earshot was gone, and I didn’t go to Horizon. Instead we shopped at McKays, a regional used media store and 2nd + Charles, a national chain used media store. Greenville had a much weaker 2nd + Charles than the one in Charlotte. McKays is usually good, and this time was no different.
- April – OMD concert in Atlanta. We basically hit only Wuxtry Decatur. Hard. My wife matched me, pretty much, dollar-for-dollar. And she convinced me to do it – and I was glad I listened to her!
- July – Ron-Kon II in Los Angeles. Ron is dead, so we must ask ourselves “What Would Ron Do?” He’d shop for records, of course! I found myself back at Amoeba Hollywood [impressive] as well as visiting smaller stores that were also significant. Record Surplus and Soundsations were certainly fine stores, but Rockaway held significant Ron mojo as they were selling off his collection and had a Ron-Shrine® installed in their glass cases for the weekend. They also hosted one of the two Ron Kane Orchestra concerts given that weekend. PPM regular Mr. Ware played keys and chasinvictoria and I vocalized on the track “Today’s List.” So I had my live rock debut that I never anticipated. Fun!
- August – Harvest had their anniversary event, which I’d missed last year [out of town] so that meant a plethora of dollar discs of all kinds in their basement. Crazy, great shopping, with lots of want list items that I would have gladly paid more for had they deigned to stock them upstairs. I’m so old and unhip, that I usually find far more stuff I want at this sale where they dump the “dregs” as a loss-leader [but for a massive karmic boost]. Sigh.
- October – Simple Minds concert in Atlanta. This time Mr. Ware and Echorich joined me for [much] more fun! Is there anything better than bantering with friends while shopping in record stores? With two sterling gents like those two, we visited three stores: Wax N’ Facts, Criminal Records, and Wuxtry. Wuxtry was atypically sparse this time. At last I have finally seen Simple Minds with Mr. [and Mrs.] Ware attending. After waiting 32 years. Hopefully, I can spend more time with Echorich without a Simple Minds show to bring our paths together.
- December – Day trip to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Wve been to Winston-Salem many times for visits with friends in art museums. As this day was, but I’d never shopped for music there until my wife asked me about it. “Why not,” I replied. I found a pair of items at the Earshot Records there [much smaller than the old one in Greenville, SC] but McKays yielded a very significant score which I’ll discuss in my next post.
So how do those raw numbers stack up? With “up” being the operative word last year.
Total titles purchased: 235 [↑69%]
Total expenditures: $1322.90 [↑34%]
Average cost: $5.63/title [↓27%]
– LP: 18
– 12″: 32
– 10″: 1
– 7″: 8
– bundled: 5
Yow. Over double the number of CDs, with vinyl at parity and downloads exactly the same. Retailers are dumping the shiny silvers discs at ever decreasing prices… The Fools!!!! <looks up and shakes fist to the skies theatrically>
Next: …We dig into the data
Love this! It’s inspiring me to keep track in 2019. I can easily report that my last record buying experience was at the Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ, one of the largest independent stores in the country. I barely scratched the surface but scored the following vinyl :
Terry Gibbs – Vibes On Velvet ($5.99)
Bill Doggett – Everybody Dance The Honky Tonk ($1.99)
And I sold them a crap album called Seatrain for $1 so the final tally was:
One album out, two albums in, total cost $6.98!
Jeremy Shatan – Good for you! I used to log every purchase from about 1983-1993 but stopped for some reason and began again when starting this blog. It’s a more mindful way of consuming music, I think. I should have those records around here somewhere, in a box of ephemera, but I’d have to go digging for them.
I’m familiar with the Princeton Record Exchange, but I’ve never been to that city. Bill Doggett for $1.99. Good score! Every [dream] home needs a copy of “Honky Tonk (pt. 1).” Mine is on the “ Blue Velvet” OST.
Boy, you made out like a bandit on that Roxy Music collection. Green with envy.
Brian – Don’t I know it! My heart stopped for a second as I saw it, nondescript on the boxed set shelf in the generally unkempt store at about a tenth the going rate.
I shudder to think of the money I dropped back in my Park Avenue days (and of course I would record shop in Atlanta and Gainesville or Tampa areas when the opportunity arose). I probably bought at least that number of CDs (very little vinyl for me then as now, due to storage issues) at around that same average price per.
Because 4/5th of my collection is languishing (albeit comfortably) in Florida, it’s impossible to say how many I have, but I’d guess we’re well over 3,000 pieces by now … a mere fraction of His Ronness, and a fraction of the value I’m sure, but based on my current (much reduced) spending on CDs and albums since I’ve been up north, I was spending at least $1200 a year on audio back in my most active record-buying days, and that’s probably quite conservative!