Obsessive Collecting & Hobbies in the Pandemic: Vinyl Records
Demand forces a collector to think ahead—“Will I ever want this in my collection?"—and pull the trigger within minutes of a record going on sale, lest it sell out and you pay several times the retail price when you realize later that indeed, that record is something you had to have. You live in fear of reaching a point in the future where you wish you bought that thing that you could have. Hobbies are supposed to be about pleasure, but for me, what has taken over this hobby is another sensation all together: anxiety.
This process is one of the reasons I mostly stopped buying vinyl records a while ago. It seemed I was never quick enough to get in on those limited edition colored vinyl editions of albums before they were snatched up by the heavily-online collectors. To be clear, I was never buying records for the sake of trying to make money off them going up in value. I wasn’t a vinyl speculator. I just wanted to listen to my favorite bands in the best-sounding way possible and have something tangible to enjoy along with the experience. Growing up with musical artifacts, it has been hard to completely give them up. Vinyl gives you all the tactile experience you could want, with huge art and a spinning to disc to watch while you are absorbing the tunes.
Unfortunately, you have to make the calculation if the record is worth buying on preorder before the songs have been released or risk losing out on getting the best version of the vinyl. That matters, whether you are speculating or simply want to enjoy the most aesthetically pleasing version of the album.