I don’t have to tell anyone how awful this year was. Let’s just say that it managed to make 2016 look like some bygone golden era in comparison. I don’t need to elaborate too much on the details of 2020. We all have eyes. Let’s just say that the human race and its capacity for stupidity and malfeasance rarely disappoints my baked in negativity.
As usual I had reviewed last year’s purchases and thought that I would like to spend less money but enjoy what i did buy a little more. As we entered 2020 I was curbing my purchases in advance to a planned trip to the UK in the middle of March to see Heaven 17 play a rare set of the first two Human League albums. So I was spending almost nothing the first four months of the year. I was not actually planning on a buying spree in England. I felt that the records I wanted would be priced out of my comfort zone, and in any case, I was more interested in spending my time with people I had not yet met but only interacted with over the ether and wanted to know better. So unlike my trips to most places, I was not planning a big blow out of sales. I think I tried to get Echorich interested in a trip to Sister Ray in London, or was that the other way around? No matter now, as we all know that my trip, or anyone else’s, for that matter, didn’t happen.
Days before my departure time the foreboding nature of the pandemic stopped me cold in my tracks, though I had been waffling for a few weeks prior. My employment also became more tenuous, and that stayed my hand as we negotiated the lockdown and Capitalism. As it turned out, my company produced products deemed “essential” so while my wife and I contemplated living on her salary [it was possible, with severe cutbacks] my employment was never on shaky ground after all. That might have promoted me to splurge on the first of two Big Boxes O’ Records last spring with over 20 titles ordered for the pittance of $61.
The biggest change this year were zero Record Store Road Trips®. Zero trips to any record stores. Zero concerts! But the latter’s nothing too new. It’s feast but mostly famine in Western North Carolina where I live. I’m used to no gigs for over half a year worth attending. We mostly worked and stayed home. An upside was that I finally went into hock for a spindle [100!] of archival gold, printable CD-R media. Like anything involving gold this year, the already high price catapulted upward. Ouch.
We now look at $2.50 per CD instead of the merely expensive $2.00 cost of the past. Given the state of the CD/CD-R, I wonder for how long I may indulge in my beloved of making the CDs The Man won’t sell me in a world where The Man only wants to rent me music…of his choosing!. I like making my vanity label discs, and this year I actually made a few more than normal. It’s taken me several years of buying new computer/software/peripherals but the pieces are in place now, and I finally turned some attention to making this happen. Before it’s too late.
Some of my usual favorites were active and there were occasional titles by John Foxx + The Maths and OMD that got bought on principle. The new Maths album had been simmering for years before finally appearing just when it could not have been more appropriate. Their “Howl” album was an entirely appropriate response to the new now. And this year there were four BSOGs of super deluxe releases that contributed to the highest yearly average per release that I’ve ever experienced. But we’ll dive into those details now.
Total titles purchased: 89 [↓13%]
Total expenditures: $864.95 [↑36%]
Average cost: $9.72/title [↑60%]
– LP: 5
– 12″: 32
– 7″: 9
– bundled: 4
If you attempt to add all of these numbers up you’ll find discrepancies. This is down to treating purchases as “titles.” That could mean a single DL track, or it means a boxed set of 8-10 CDs. CDs are counted numerically, even if they were from the same purchase, so there’s 54 CDs but not that many CD “titles.” Capish?
So that was the overview. Tomorrow comes the details of interest [and some graphs].
Next: …Those Graphs!