I am sure the title got you thinking – didn’t it? (wink)
Well, welcome to the amazing and invigorating world of Vinyl. A world full of dreams weaved by the ocean of unending and enchanting music which can be unending and impossible to satiate your soul in one lifetime. However, to each their own, which in the world of music listening and collecting would refer to your favourite artiste/genre(s) – if one can restrict themselves to it. As has been said enough as a joke that the world of an audiophile is like a rabbit hole or a slippery slope, which may take you on a joyride and often spin out of control.
I believe every music lover’s entry into the world of collecting vinyl records starts the same way. The same has never been said or used for a hobby such as listening to CD’s or cassette tapes as their cost in India especially hasn’t been a restricting factor. Since India has almost negligible record pressing factories, majority of records have to be imported from foreign labels, which makes it an expensive hobby to have – unless one is a frequent traveller (or was pre-covid world) and would buy these abroad. Which brings me to the next explanation of how to be a Vinylist versus being a Vinylohlic.
My journey into the world of vinyl records re-started 2 years ago when the world just came to a halt by the Covid pandemic and there was nothing but time at hand. With enough time at hand, all the old records came out and started getting played and the bug of finding out where I can buy these in India caught me with a bang. With money not being spent on travels, clothes, eating out…. It felt naturally justified to put it to ‘good use’ and BAM!!!! From a few records a week, it became as many as I could buy. In short I became a Vinyloholic – better tasting than the best malt whiskies I have ever had. Long wish/greed lists of all the best titles that I have listened to over the span of my grown up life came into being… and Voila – with the introduction of a few good record stores in India - I started ordering them left, right and centre!
However, through this whole journey – from being like a kid in a candy store to becoming a little more mature in my approach has transformed me from a Vinyloholic to a Vinylist – someone who would not hyperventilate or go weak in his knees every time he sees a vinyl record available, and has to get it or the world will come crashing down. But someone, who now has informed choices, knows which record he must absolutely add to his collection, do I really LOVE that artist/title and is it worth listening to from end to end/side to side. Many times I have made a mistake of having heard about an artist, who I haven’t heard much, but then dropped everything to rather get a record and THEN listen to it. Bad decision – because the artist may be right, but that album may not have been the one which you would want to collect! Learning – always listen to that album first on a streaming service like Spotify/apple music…etc, and listen to it enough that you can concur that you must have it on Vinyl! Don’t rush, just because you can – make it an experience where you absolutely justify buying it, that when you get it – it will immediately get under the needle and you will cherish it – rather than getting it even though you were unsure, and you bought a ‘bunch’ of records, and they went straight into your vinyl shelf!
Set aside a budget and ration your spend as rewards for yourself. Same way as a parent I would set an effort-reward target in front of my kids – so they can really value the reward rather than treating it as an entitlement. Space out your purchases – makes it more exciting as anticipation of getting a record at a certain specified date/time feels no less exciting than planning your date with your love interest when you are young and can’t just do it anytime you want, but have to wait for the right opportunity!
The high of holding a vinyl and the whole experience of taking it out of its sleeve, cleaning it before putting it on the platter and then brining the tone-arm and dropping a needle is nothing short of experiencing the art of a Michelin style meal, being served to you by the chef himself. So indulge and enjoy the experience rather than just trying to make every meal like it, and lose its charm! So pull out that favourite record of yours according to the mood of the day, put it on, throw yourself back in your favourite listening chair/couch, put your feet up and enjoy!