We record collectors are an incredible bunch. We’re dedicated, hardworking and often toe the line between obsession and addiction. From the minute that first record graces your turntable, the hunt begins and the collection grows. As we collect, we find ourselves developing as people and music enthusiasts. We develop, change and ultimately propagate our own unique collecting personality.
Eventually, we all find what kind of collector we are. Are you someone who needs everything? Are you someone who doesn’t care what shape your records are in? Are you a person who doesn’t have Beatles albums, but has every single Korean psych album ever released between 1971 and 1974?
We made a guide for you to determine what kind of collector you are, and in order to identify other collectors by their type. Which type of record collector are you?
Though the quality of the record sits at the back of your mind, quantity fights its way forward and takes priority. You’ll take anything and everything you can get your hands on. You probably have a whole stack of vinyl that you’ve never played (you’ll get around to it). To you, collecting is a journey of discovery, so the more records you can bag, the better. Your Kallax shelves fill at an alarming rate and you ignore all warnings from a loved one or a housemate that the space is running out. You approach the $1 bin with the same attitude as you would the $100 records. Your thirst is insatiable, and your commitment is admirable.
You live for the hustle. Whilst collecting is your passion, you get a kick out of making a few bucks as well. Your hustling funds your habit and you can smell a bargain from 100 miles. You have a thorough knowledge of prices and know what is and isn’t worth buying. Often you’ll buy big lots from places like garage sales, Craigslist and eBay. The records that aren’t wanted will be flipped and you’ll keep the ones that are. You will often find yourself breaking even, if not better. The records on your shelf are a proud reminder of just how well you’ve done.
Though you have scatterings of classics in various genres in your collection, you are primarily a genre or era specialist. Northern soul 7”s, reggae, ‘60s pysch, punk—the genre of your choice will be the area of absolute desire. In time, collecting will become extremely challenging, with the more common and inexpensive releases filling your shelves in their droves. As time passes, the records left for you to acquire either cost thousands to buy, or will take a lifetime to find in the wild. However, the specialist remains undeterred. The challenge is part of the fun.
Another kind of collector that is admired by all, the completist is as dedicated as they come. All it takes is one song to trigger the completist in to action. Once the completist discovers an artist or a song they like, they must then acquire the back catalogue, from start to finish. They live in fear of loving a new artist, or new releases from an already treasured band. The new album that is put out on three different colour variants instantly dents the finances of the completist, for they must have them all. Their collections are all-encompassing and their commitment to completing commendable. They never have and never will give up.
Your collection is as broad as an offensive lineman’s shoulders. When someone asks what music you like, you really do mean “a bit of everything.” From gospel to black metal to synth soundtracks, you love it all and have a tune to complement any mood. You take pride in sharing your discoveries with friends and family, and are often the person that people turn to when they want to find something new. When you enter a record shop, there is no section you head straight too. You search from left to right, or right to left, with an open mind and a sense of adventure.
It has to be perfect. Accept no compromise. You possess a patience that very few collectors can muster. Whilst others accept imperfections, this is something you will not allow. You hold yourself to the highest standards and can wait years before finally sanctioning a record to grace your perfect shelves. You’ll take a perfect 180g repress over a shabby VG original every day of the week. Though your collection may not be one of high quantities, it is perfect in every way. Observers gasp at its beauty, and you smile as they do so.
The collection in your possession is full to the brim with exclusives, promo’s and limited edition vinyl that have been captured by yourself. You’re highly organized and have an inbox full of online vinyl retailers’ mail outs. While most ignore these, having signed up on a whim, you will read carefully and make note of that beautiful exclusive others may have missed. You are a master of timing, setting your alarm for 8:50 a.m. on the day of a 9 a.m. release, making sure to pounce just at the right time. You have what everyone wants, but likely missed.
Though this trait runs deep in all of us, a true addict will often be taking their obsession to a new level. They go to sleep dreaming of vinyl, and when they wake up the first thing they do is go look for some. Every waking minute is dedicated to the hunt, the thrill, the chase. All available funds go to the cause and what used to be their living room is crammed full of small-scale replica vinyl skyscrapers. From the minute that first needle hit that first record, it was game over in the best possible way.
For richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do you part. Your collection is your pride and joy, the love of your life. You’ve built something special and only death will separate you. Though others could consider selling records, switching up the collection, changing things, you genuinely only see yourself moving away from your love at the end of your days. What you buy, you keep and that’s that. You’ve committed to this for life, and you take your vows very seriously.
Luke Pybus is a freelance writer and vinyl obsessive from Cardiff, Wales. Usually found shoulder deep in a box of records, or with a hot coffee writing about them.