2018 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

[…continued from last post]

Though the amount spent was the most since 2011, the amount of music was by far the most ever since going back to keeping records in 2010. The distance between the cost point and the number of titles point for 2018was at its largest gulf ever; besting the value coefficient of 2015 by approximately 10%. This indicated that my value for money was high.

The cheapest thing I bought was a Don Dixon CD for $0.05. The most expensive was the long-awaited Roxy Music DLX RM for $79.95 and that was a fairly generous sale price! I should start squirreling away cash for the “For Your Pleasure” set, which is probably inevitable… and another likely three figures to be sure. Remind me to get around to spending a week or so discussing this very significant album in all the detail that it deserves.

There were a lot of used media purchased. Only 36 titles or 15% of this was what I would typify as “full retail cost.” And even four of those were heavily discounted thanks to the xmas sale in the Shriekback web store! As usual, I buy most of my tunes on the second hand aftermarket.

2018 Top 12

1. Simple Minds: Walk Between Worlds
2. Shriekback: Why Anything? Why This?
3. Steven Jones + Logan Sky: The Electric Eye
4. Bryan Ferry + His Orchestra: Bitter-Sweet
5. Franz Ferdinand – Always Ascending
6. Steven Jones + Logan Sky: Hans Und Liselotte
7. OMD: Live With The Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra
8. OMD: The Punishment Of Luxury: B Sides & Bonus Material
9. xPropaganda: A Secret Place
10. Kitty Tsunami: Cosa Nostra
11. Laurie Anderson + Kronos Quartet: Landfall
12. Dave Stewart & Barbara Gaskin: Star Clocks

There were actually 12/235 titles bought that were contemporary to 2018. The top two were neck and neck for greatness in my ears, but given that Shriekback had never made particularly bad albums [apart from “Go Bang,” just once, on a lark] I have to view the latest Simple Minds album as a triumph. They have been slowly honing their vision to produce albums of generally increasing strengths since 1995 [with a few backslides among them] until they reached this point where it can be said that they have made an album with only strengths from start to finish.

Shriekback, on the other hand, made an album which was perhaps their most glorious since “Big Night Music.” After having Carl Marsh back in the band for their last three albums, [I still need to find a copy of “Life In The Loading Bay”] he’s really firing on all cylinders and he feels as integral to the group as he’s been since “Oil + Gold;” after which, he left the band. Magnificent songs and sounds touched by the madness and sadness of our era.

Steven Jones + Logan Sky are one of my favorite synth duos, and their latter album of 2018 was an exceptional blend of songcraft and cinematic technique getting on like a house on fire. Their earlier album of the year hit a highwater mark for playful experimentation with “Hans Und Liselotte;” an album that was conceived, written, recorded, and essentially produced in a fortnight or so! These two are on a creative tear that I’m really loving.

I was dimly aware that Bryan Ferry had a new album out a few weeks ago as I go to his website every now and then to see what’s up. But I did not imagine that I’d be in a store where not only would I see the probably more common LP but also the compact disc of the title! I’d not heard either of his preceding two “Bryan Ferry Orchestra” outings owing to never seeing copies for sale, but this one was sitting right there and I bought it without hesitation. Review coming soon [I hope]. This one is so fascinating, that after another day of compulsive listening it has traded places with Franz Ferdinand!

I’d heard about Franz Ferdinand’s callback to Post-Punk since their emergence, but I’m cynical and lived through 1978 already. It took their productive link-up with Sparks to make me actually investigate, and I’ve liked what I’ve heard, but their latest really is all of that and more with the band hitting vibrant new heights. The artistic slump that happened following their first two is officially tabled!

OMD had a pair of releases this year, and while neither of them could be considered competition to their stellar “Punishment Of Luxury” album of last year, they was plenty of interest to be had with the B-side and remix collection that supplemented that album as well as the album recorded with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra. Synth bands recording with orchestras are getting pretty common these days, but I swear that OMD was the first in on that action back when they released a DVD only with that same body in 2007.

The xPropaganda live album was one of the unexpected delights that I was glad that someone bothered to capture for the shiny silver disc, since I would hardly ever expect to be able to attend on of the gigs overseas. The album was an interesting revisit to the high point of the mid-80s and the last life-changing album of that decade for yours truly. As a live music whore, I would have liked to have heard more variance from the recorded album, which is the apex of ZTT production, but it managed to deliver a little more reckless oomph than I had anticipated in any case.

Kitty Tsunami are a local band who do a turn in a very appealing shoegaze/surf pop hybrid that I really enjoy. I’d waited almost a year to have another gig by them where I could attend and I made sure to buy their CD instead of just having a Bandcamp DL [though those are the best!]

Amazingly enough, I have yet to hear “Landfall” by Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet, though we have heard ther live show in advance of the album at the last Big Ears Festival we attended in 2016. I got it on the day of release for my LAurie Anderson fan wife and when I put it on to play that weekend, she was not in the mood and that’s where it stopped. So that’s why this is outside of the top 10.

So if an album I haven’t heard is ranked above one that I have, I think that says it all about the new Dave Stewart + Barbara Gaskin album. These two have specialized in a weird blend of Canterbury School Prog® and New Wave Synth Pop since 1981. Their occasional albums have moved closer to the Prog side of things, but I’ve managed to enjoy them all even so… until this one. For those not in the know, the raison d’être of this band are two things: the winsome vocals of Ms. Gaskin and the prodigious synth chops of Dave [not the Eurythmic] Stewart. What would normally be guitar solos on other records were actually synth solos on their records… except for this one! They have now capitulated and put a guitarist in the band to their immense detriment! Missable! So this is actual Prog Rock now.


What I’d like to happen this year is how I’d like every year to transpire. I’d like to buy only things I really want to the tune of maybe $700-800 tops, but the reality is that if I stay in my town, I’ll buy almost nothing. Stuff I really want is thin on the ground here, though there are plenty of record stores. Not too many selling CDs, though! Then when I leave my city, I tend to binge on stuff that’s certainly interesting that I see only when I leave my environs, but that’s not necessarily on the official “want list.”

Another thing is that I want to spend less on music because last year I upgraded my iMac. That meant that everything I had used for 10 years on my last one was no longer there/compatible. Things I need to actually make the CDs I want to make. I have bought a disc burner, but now I need to upgrade my software. The Toast 8 software I’d used for a decade is finally dead seven operating system iterations later. Then there’s the issue of disc printing. My Epson Stylus R220 is one of the color inkjet printers that will print discs. That’s why I bought it. That’s the only reason why I have an inkjet printer. They really finish off a project. But I have used the inkjet so infrequently in the last several years that the heads are now clogged and won’t print. Facilitating a cleaning kit purchase that I fervently hope that will do the trick. If not, I don’t know what my options are since no one but me cares about printing CDs any more! I’d wither and die if my REVO CDs didn’t look [and sound] their best.

Then there’s blank media to consider. I use gold archival printable discs that don’t come cheaply. I have a single disc left that I am waiting to make once the new software [$59] is in place and my printer is once again functional. Then I need to buy at least a spindle of 50 discs. That’s a hundred dollars, there. My discretionary budget is $20 per pay period. It takes a while to save up for these things. By next paycheck I’ll have saved enough to buy the DLX box of “New Gold Dream,” which has begun to creep up in cost; making me nervous. After that it’s all about buttressing up the CD producing REVO sideline that has been neglected for too long. So yes, It’s my hope that I will be buying less music and spending more time enjoying what I have. Wish me luck.

– 30 –

About postpunkmonk

graphic design | software UI design | media design • record collector • satire • non-fiction
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30 Responses to 2018 – The Year In Buying Music [part 2]

  1. negative1ne says:

    Ok, usually i don’t analyze my spending, but this caused me to check, so here are the details:
    ==============================
    Totals
    ————————-
    Discogs $516.75
    Ebay $116.70
    Amazon $33.37
    ===============
    $666.82

    Ebay
    =============
    1 promo 12″
    2 12″s
    5 CDs
    1 SHM-CD
    1 CD boxset
    ————————-
    Cost = $116.70

    Amazon
    ============
    3 cds
    Cost = $33.37
    ———————-
    2 of which I gave to my brother.

    Formats – Vinyl
    ==================
    (7″) 37
    (7″, Single, Promo) 1
    (7″, Single, Cle) 2
    (7″, Single, Ltd) 1
    (7″, Single, Pic) 1
    (7″, Single, Red) 1
    (10″) 1
    (12″) 35
    (12″, Ltd) 4
    (12″, Single, Gat) 1
    (12″, Promo) 17
    (2×12″, Promo) 2
    ====================
    Total 103

    Format : Cassette
    —————————
    (Cass, Single) 1
    —————————
    1

    Format : Cd
    ———————
    (CD, Album) 12
    (CD, Maxi) 10
    (CD, Promo) 6
    ———————-
    28

    Formats : video
    —————————
    (DVD-V, Comp, Multichannel, NTSC + 2xCD, Comp, Bla ) 1
    (VHS, NTSC) 1
    (S/Vision, CED) 1
    ——————————
    3

    Breakdown
    ————————-
    All items : 135
    Vinyl 76.30%
    CD 20.74%
    Video 2.22%
    Cass 0.74%

    ===========================

    So, i didn’t realize that I was buying so much used vinyl.
    It’s equally split between 7 inches and 12 inches.

    As far as promos go:
    1 7 inch one
    19 12 inch promos
    6 CD promos
    ================
    So I do look for more 12 inch promo’s.

    Only a few new ones on vinyl, mostly I buy used vinyl, and also on a few full cd’s.

    Only 1 cassette, and 1 each of video formats, VHS, CED, and DVD.

    The other vast majority of music that I got was digital downloads,
    which there was a ton of, which is why I don’t buy CD’s anymore.
    To me they are only worth ripping, and then I never look at them
    again.

    Yes, I rip the vinyl also, but that’s a little more selective, and most of
    those are unique tracks, that can’t be found anywhere else.

    later
    -1

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      negative1ne – I moved your almost psychic comment from an inappropriate thread to today’s post where it uncannily prefigured where I was going today. I hope you’re okay with that. So was that stats for all of 2018? It looks like we bought similar amounts of 12″ singles. I always want more of the things than I end up getting. It’s what I focus on when shopping in stores, and stuff that I want is really thin on the ground now.

      Like

      • negative1ne says:

        Thank you Mr. Monk for moving it. Perhaps older posts can’t be replied too.

        The painful thing is that data was accumalted from discogs, which lets you export your collection, but NOT your purchases. So i had to hand filter all the text and collate it in Exel. I couldn’t figure out how to get the data filters to work.

        Anyways, yes, all that is 2018 data, my 2017 data was much, much less.
        Apparently, i wasn’t in the ‘hunt’ for things as much back then, or all those
        rare promos never showed up.

        I’m especially proud of all these weird 7″ inch colored singles, gatefolds,
        and unique edits. There were a lot of 12″ ones with promo mixes too.
        The one box set was for Big Country – Why the long face.

        A lot of the other CD purchases were for deluxe and remastered editions,
        which are usually the only ones I get. I did get the German New Gold Dream CD
        (with the extended mix of the title track) after several years of looking. So there
        are some plain looking duplicate cd’s, but I try to get the rarer pressings and
        ones with unique tracklistings.

        Well 2019 is off to a start, with the Ultravox Extended (for my brother), and
        deluxe boxsets from Curiosity Killed the Cat, and Johnny hates Jazz, as both
        are heavily discounted. Will be getting these when they come down in price,
        Howard Jones – super deluxe versions, Camouflage – Voices and Images deluxe,
        Red Flag – Naive Art deluxe, Xymox – Twist of Shadows Deluxe, and various
        Nitzer ebb deluxe titles (Don’t like all their albums), on the vinyl front, i will
        be picking up the first 2 Depeche Mode 12 inch boxsets, since they are very
        cheap now, and getting the other 2 in later months, when they get cheaper also.
        Yes, I have almost every single one of those 12″s already in domestic, UK, French,
        and some German ones too. But collectors gonna collect, what can i say

        also, will be keeping an eye out for some of those simple mind LP boxsets
        (rejuvantion), and the new order movement super deluxe too.

        happy new year, and best wishes for collectors, and music fans this year.
        i’m sure there will be a lot more to look out for.

        later
        -1

        Liked by 1 person

    • MathManDan says:

      I too rip my CDs and then file them away on the shelf, only rarely to be opened because I play the tracks from my computer. BUT, I still like having the object. Call me old fashioned. I will buy digital files if that is the only format they are released in, but otherwise, it doesn’t feel like I’m getting much given that you can stream most music, and the tracks you can’t usually find their way to YouTube. I’ve always been a collector, for better or worse, so if the music is released in some physical format, that will always be my first choice.

      Like

      • postpunkmonk says:

        MathManDan – For me, the downsides to intangible music far outweigh the upside.

        Like

        • Tim says:

          I digitalize everything and there’s just certain things I buy on cd now. I don’t mind digital downloads especially as we have a space crunch in our house and if I can economize on space by just adding files to a hard drive instead of books and cds to shelves, that’s a win, too.
          For me 2018 saw the end of the great musical reorganization, sorting, labeling, tagging, OCD level attention to detail on organizing all those digital files. It’s been about a two year project. Audiobooks, mashups, video files, all sorts of things. Weeded out a bunch of stuff.
          Back it up every three months.
          Around Thanksgiving I took the drive with me to work and listened to some music on a day when it was just me and one other person in the office. I know that I brought the drive in the house, I know I took it out of the padded case and added some new purchases to it.
          And then it was gone. Best I can figure we had a ton of stuff on our kitchen table, holiday stuff and when we cleaned up it must have gone out in the trash, comiingled with bags, shrinkwrap, burnt out Christmas lights (HOW DO 3 strands of lights that all worked last year NOT work this year?).
          I did have the backup that I did at the end of September but boy, I got a lot of sorting and tagging done in those two months, plus a bunch of homemade mixes. Gone.
          I’m all Kubler Ross about it, still in denial. Like I’m going to vacuum, move the couch and find it under there,
          Music purchases otherwise are mostly flat and generally more deluxe versions of things that I already have replacing the older version.

          Like

          • MathManDan says:

            That makes my heart ache! I know the music itself is replaceable, but all that time that goes into organizing it just so, I know how valuable that is. I’m in the process of going through the collection, culling, pruning, organizing, and it’s countless hours. And I am definitely OCD it.

            Like

            • postpunkmonk says:

              MathMnDan – Would that all of my time could be relegated to the care and feeding on my Recoerd Cell! I could certainly do it if called upon.

              Like

            • Tim says:

              There’s one thing I can’t replace. I found a blog out of South America late summer early fall and the blogger had some of the most incredible mixes I’ve ever found. Clearly had been trawling the net forever and collating and making themed sets and sharing them. I downloaded one that had this incredible mix of Lou Rawls’ “You’ll Never Find A Love Like Mine” that was ten minutes long and had lyrics that I’ve never heard before (it’s also one of my favorite 70’s songs). About two weeks after I discovered this blog they fell victim to the internet cops. Oh well, one track out of many thousands. And my denial is STILL telling me that drive is gonna turn up someday.

              Like

          • postpunkmonk says:

            Tim – Grim news, sir! I sometimes think of just duplicating all digital files on my old iMac and bringing it into the living room and using the cool Front Row interface (with remote control) to play back any digital files that I download (scant) or make (plentiful) and output it into the stereo. I keep all media files on my 4TB RAID, which backs itself up. I should keep a backup off site at work ( memo to self). My “broadband” is 7.5 mbps down/440 kbps up so don’t anyone dare mention cloud backups to me unless you want a mouth full of knuckles!

            Like

  2. Echorich says:

    Monk, you must get to the BF+HO review. Bitter-Sweet is way more than I ever expected it to be. And he HAS to get high marks alone for not calling it Bitter-Suite!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. jordan henrion says:

    Both Monk and Negative are real collectors. I nearly only purchase downloads now. I looked at the Depeche Mode 12 inch box but I have all the originals so no need.
    Did not buy much in 2018. Mostly ambient from Kompakt.
    Got the Underworld Dubnobass… 5 CD box in Feb 18. Well worth it.
    I did purchase the most expensive box set ever in my collection. 21 CDs in a run of 150. $300 Canadian. AOC on Txt based in the UK.
    Probably will get the New Order Movement box. Waiting for the Monk review of the OMD book.
    Rare for me to buy CDs now. But the above are unique and I look at it as an art project. That puts it in a different budget category for me.

    Like

  4. SimonH says:

    Had ignored the Bryan Ferry album, you’ve made me reconsider…it needs to wait though as I’m trying to buy nothing for all of three weeks. Quite an effort for me!
    Re the NGD box, I must be slow but I didn’t realise the DVD had the version of the album that previously came out on a DVD A (?) that’s now really expensive, it sounds great on My Oppo player.
    Linked to the subject of buying, here in the UK we face the likely demise of the only remaining national hight street music retailer HMV, very sad for me and many others. Oh, and don’t get me started on the music sales figure for the UK last year…

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – It’s been my pleasure to shop in multi story HMVs while in Canada and Spain. Many good discs purchased there. A great chain comparable to Tower (i.e. very good indeed) that filled a niche in serious music buying. I always felt that with a good big store like that and your local emporiums, that covered a lot of ground. Sad to hear HMV, the last chain standing, is finally going down. This reminds me that I want to see that documentary on Tower Records.

      Like

  5. SimonH says:

    There’s a chance they may be saved but I think it’s remote. To top it all it seems the hedge fund who bought them in 2013 saddled them with debt through an £8 million loan and siphoned off the money to a shell company while paying peanuts into the staff pensions, all sadly legal!
    They had no chance when you look at the multiple obstacles facing them.
    Some people complained about lack of choice, but hey they stocked the Berlin Blondes reissue, pretty good going in my book!
    I knew my Friday release day visits were probably on borrowed time.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – [expletive deleted] That really gets me furious. Financial crime is bleeding our society dry and destroying infrastructure. In this case, cultural infrastructure. Evil White Man’s Magic of the worst kind. In America we just lost the biggest toy store superstore chain to MBA thugs in Armani suits. I don’t know how parents coped with Xmas this year. The Republicans (the Democrats haven’t bothered to lift a finger in defiance) have had their sights on the US Post Office for privatization for a generation now and it has hurt me seeing a fantastic asset for America being bled dry with the insane directive to pre-fund their pensions for 80 years in advance, unlike any other business in America, saddling them with unneeded debt which will be used inevitably, to leverage privatization efforts that are in the works. [stronger expletive deleted]

      Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – And you got that Berlin Bloindes reissue!! Envy! Wouldn’t you know that I got the “Science” and “Marseilles” 7″ singles this year with the express purpose of doing an “remastering upgrade” to my REVO edition of that this year, only to discover some months later that Cherry Red was dropping the real thing while my technical capabilities were tabled due to the new computer fallout! I need that Berlin Blondes CD!

      Like

      • SimonH says:

        I found it amazing to be able to walk into a high street shop and buy it, let alone that Cherry Red released it in the first place!

        Like

  6. SimonH says:

    I feel the same anger, here’s more info on HMV out of interest:
    http://voxboxmusic.co.uk/2018/12/the-hmv-money-go-round/
    The funny thing is all this stuff is legal, you’d suffer a worse fate for stealing a bottle of water!
    As ever, ‘follow the money’ and you find your answer.
    Sadly most political parties haven’t the nerve to really rock the boat on stuff like this.

    Like

  7. jonpatterns says:

    Great article. To be a pendant; the first line on the graph isn’t needed. It makes it look as if music buying went from nil in mid 2010.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      jonpatterns – Welcome to the comments. I did that because I began this blog in June of 2010, so I only re-started keeping records from that point. I figured every graph needed an origin, anyway.

      Like

  8. MathManDan says:

    Your post and the followup comments inspired me to total up last year’s purchases. (I have everything meticulously databased.) I’m not going to state the money total because I’ll want to flog myself but in 2018 I purchased 355 items:
    (166) CDs
    (15) CD box sets
    (11) SACD / DVD-Audio
    (103) vinyl LPs
    (11) vinyl LP box sets
    (15) 12″ singles (or EPs)
    (4) 12″ single box sets
    (9) 10″ singles
    (14) 7″ singles
    (2) 7″ single box sets
    (1) cassette
    (4) digital files (3 downloads, one USB thumb drive)

    That comes out to about 54% CD and related.

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      MathManDan – Wow, that’s a lot of LPs. I’m finding that there are very few LPs on my want list these days because SO MUCH finally made it to CD. I only buy LPs that are either not on CD or are on three figure CDs. If there is an affordable CD of something, I will not bother with the LP, even if I wait a decade to get the CD. Neurotic, yes?

      Like

      • MathManDan says:

        I am certainly not going to start a neurosis competition! Your view of vinyl vs CD was pretty close to mine up to a few years ago, but I have experienced a renewed interest in vinyl and have been a sucker for many of the reissues. Part of what I like is that some of the new remasters on vinyl are done specifically for vinyl, and I invested in a nice new turntable and stylus a couple years ago. The mastering engineers don’t try to brickwall the music for vinyl like they do for CD. (Or at least that’s what it seems like when I listen.) A good example is last year’s Eurythmics reissues–very enjoyable to listen to on vinyl.

        Also while I kept my original vinyl collection starting in the 80s, there are a few I missed back upon the original release, and I look for those now to experience the original mastering rather than whatever they did to the subsequent CD releases years later.

        If you want to talk neurotic, I won’t mention how many different versions I have of the This Mortal Coil albums, both on vinyl and CD…

        Like

  9. SimonH says:

    Slightly off topic but I’m on a roll posting links:)
    Suspect many here will find this article of interest:
    https://thebaffler.com/salvos/the-problem-with-muzak-pelly

    Like

    • postpunkmonk says:

      SimonH – That was utterly horrifying!! I ignore Sp*t*fy but the reality is worse in new ways than I ever knew about previously. I thought the pittance paid to the vast majority of artists was bad enough, but corporate branded playlists bypass artists “selling out” by going straight to bald-faced capitalistic theft!

      Like

      • SimonH says:

        Yes, I was horrified as well! Don’t get me wrong I can see the appeal and use of streaming but my gut feeling is simply that it isn’t good for music. At least not in the way I enjoy it.

        Like

  10. jordan henrion says:

    Interesting article. Written awhile ago I take it since Spotify went public already. The music I really enjoy I buy as I want to own my music. But I buy first digital if in lossless. After that I go to CD. I use Spotify to audition albums and while travelling by car. Nothing beats it. They seem to have everything. I’m very impressed with the service. Tidal will be next as they offer lossless.

    However. Without getting into the whole royalty debate Spotify have never ever made a profit. The stock is now lower than the original IPO. So really the artists and the labels get paid but not Spotify. In the sense of profit. For now.

    Like

  11. Having fallen way behind in my PPM reading due to writing two books, moving house, new job, and other mundane matters — I’m finally getting to this article and was inspired to look up my 2018 purchases.

    Since I purchased so little vinyl and haven’t cataloged that yet, I’m focusing on CDs only, I have cataloged 26 albums with a (rough, due to different currencies involved) cost of ~$280, with a funny mix of expensive box sets and bargain-basement-priced CDs. Very little middle ground, mostly either sub-$10 or >$90.

    One special exception that also affects the total was my membership in the fan club of a certain band who might be a great alt-art-comedy rock band — you get everything they put out that year, autographed, plus misc goodies for $100/year, so this year that meant four (!!) albums and a number of nice non-CD stuff. Broken out per album, that’s $25 each, but … I’m happy to support them.

    That aside, the big purchase of the year was the Monochrome Set’s Complete Recordings 79-85 at $92. Cheapest was a tie (at $2.25 per) between the Decemberists’ Long Live the King EP and John Cale’s Walking on Locusts. Highlights (I can’t do rankings) were certainly the Stranglers Old Testament box, xPropaganda’s A Secret Place, the probably-definitive-at-last Metamatic (signed), The Monochrome Set’s Eligible Bachelors bonus-laden remaster (signed), and of course Bob Gaulke and company’s The Record Man.

    My first purchase of 2019 was the pre-order of Joe Jackson’s new album Fool.

    Like

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