Contrary to why many collect vinyl today, I started collecting purely for monetary reasons. As the introduction of compact discs in the late 80s became the standard in the mid-90s, many music fans blindly jumped ship and repurchased their record collections at double the price on CD.
The music industry had a field day when the money poured in from all sides. Almost overnight, vinyl record collections were seen as antiquated embarrassments and many chose to offload them at rock bottom prices to used record stores. That's where I came in. Frugal dudes like me were more than willing to pay for hand-me-down castoff vinyl for a third the price of a new compact disc. Why fork over 20 bucks for one compact disc when I could own three or four records for the same price? It allowed me to take risks on records, build up my collection and give me a well's worth of listening experience.
One must remember that before iTunes, YouTube and the blogosphere, appraising music was made via buying things outright with the aid of educated guesses and instinct. You see, for me, music has always been about quantity over quality, about how much music I can consume before I die.
I can admit it now, but the very first compact disc player I owned was a Sony Discman in 2001. I never had a reason to own one before and bought it right before we went on our first ever European tour. Going on tour back in 2001 also meant carrying around a 20 pound CD booklet that held 60-80 discs in total. In other words, it was a monumental hassle, like carting around a sack of potatoes everywhere you went. All that changed in 2003 when we bought the cigarette box-sized 20 GB Apple iPods, the largest iPod at the time, loaded them with a few hundred records and hit the road. God, I felt like a million bucks, or at least the $4,000 it would've cost to buy all those records.
As the years have passed, my beloved record collection has quietly collected dust while I've chased whatever the latest portable media players were. Sadly, even those 20 GB iPods eventually became obsolete, but in a digital world where bigger means smaller, I've noticed that MP3 Players have regressed.
From peaking at 160 GB in 2007, the iPod actually reverted back to 8 and 16 gig "Nano Pods" and 2 GB "iPod Shuffles," meant mainly for workout accompaniment or taking a "short walk," with Apple revamping its once thriving iPod enterprise and channeling it into its colossal iPhone/iPad arm. That's good news for people who like "combos," but bad news for people who like component systems. To put it in music terms, people who like Peavey beat out people who like Marshall stacks.
We, as music fans, were at the precipice of something big with those large capacity iPods. We were finally being catered to! Our needs were about to drive the market. Of course, just when we were gonna get that 500 GB iPod, Apple pulled the plug on music storage capacity in favour of Angry Birds, FaceTime and texting. It's no surprise, really. For the most part music fanatics are a lonely, quiet bunch who don't take "short walks," but rather long drawn out ones using Nick Drake or Wolves in the Throne Room as soundtrack. And we don't text because there's no one we really want to interact with.
So Apple, dear Apple, as you've just unveiled your new iPhone 5 and shown the world its many tricks and gimmicks, it's a shame you don't remember the silent group of patrons you once cradled close. As the rest of the world marvels at the latest version of Siri, or the very usable Maps app, or how the latest iPhone is able to masturbate and bring one to orgasm, I'd like to gently propose a terabyte iPod. That's right -- a thousand gigabytes of free space meant only to keep 10,000+ records.
Not everybody has 10,000 records, I know, but isn't that why you set up the iTunes store in the first place? So everybody could catch up? Charge $1,000 for the little pod even -- we'll gladly fork the money over. Anything to reclaim our condescending posture we proudly bore when we'd reach storage capacity on our 80 GB iPods knowing full well that the 160 GB model would soon be needed to store our record collection.