How My CD Collection Came to Be


Why This All Happened

There’s 941 CDs in my collection as of today. I dunno where they all came from. Ever since I discovered KaZaA, I thought there was no need for physical music. Pointless stuff. Why pay for CDs, when you can get the actual music for free?

Of course, I had a few CDs sitting around. I’m pretty sure they were all birthday and Christmas presents.

Between 2004 and 2009, these were all of the CDs I had:Will Smith – “Willennium”

  • Will Smith – “Willennium”
  • Shaggy – “Hotshot”
  • Nelly – “Da Derrty Versions”
  • Ludacris – “The Red Light District”
  • Wyclef Jean – “Greatest Hits”
  • Michael Jackson – “Number 1s”

NB: The last two aren’t around anymore, but the rest stay in heavy rotation.

2007, I started buying big music books and DVDs. £20-£35 each. I was going in. I was in research mode, and these were certifying the knowledge – especially of Hip Hop. It guided my tastes ever since.


The Turning Point

Somewhere around 2010, things changed. I grabbed a couple of exclusive releases, and became a victim. I slipped down an unsafe path. I started buying lots and lots of CDs, until the stash become healthy. I’d already got a spreadsheet of albums that I’d downloaded (and needed to download), adapted it to include all the ones that would be nice to have physical versions of, and started filling in lots of gaps.

Second-hand is the wave with this. At boot sales and charity shops, most will go for 20p-£1.50. On eBay, you can get great things for under £2.

Initially, R&B was overrepresented, because it’s easy to get the big releases for cheap (Destiny’s Child, Usher, TLC, Mis-Teeq, Jamelia). I eventually got around to padding out the collection thoroughly.

Once R&B’s looking good, the Rap section’s feeling neglected. That’s when the prices rise. I started grabbing accessible favourites first – T.I., OutKast, Snoop, more Luda.

After, I moved on to the classics – Slick Rick, Eric B & Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, A Tribe Called Quest.

It was then time to get the hard-to-obtain favourites – Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Mystikal, dead prez, 8Ball & MJG, Tha Eastsidaz, EPMD.

Then I went obscure – South Circle, Tracey Lee, Audio Two, J-Mack.

I’ve been filling in gaps all over the gaff – Plies, Mic Geronimo, Young Dro, Rich Boy, Craig Mack, Akinyele. Spice 1. All sorts.

Then I moved on to Grime and UK Rap. I’m not even going to go there. It needed work and it always will, but just know I’ve got plenty.

Reggae and Dancehall CDs are tough to find for cheap in the UK, but I’m getting there. Lots of bases have been covered – Sizzla, Capleton, Buju, Shabba, Patra, Mavado, Vybz, Yellowman, Bob, Freddie McGregor, Sanchez and plenty more – but the music is much more scarce.

As you can see, I’m just chugging along, until I’m comfortable with what I’ve got. I’m not yet at the stage where I feel I need to declutter much of the collection, because I really do listen to the music I have.

CD Collection Dark - Probably Busy


Where to Go from Here

As you can see, we’re still in the early phases. As discussed over here, all of these CDs are currently in storage, so I can’t even enjoy them. However, I’m still buying as I was before.

I’m sticking to the same rule I’ve had for the past few years that I don’t mind buying some CDs brand new. This is only for musicians that I rate highly. Very highly. Everything else I will only buy when it’s been discounted substantially, or if I find them at a boot sale, charity shop or eBay for between 10p and £2.

I know what the CDs are worth second-hand now, and what’s actually out there in the UK. It’s just a matter of taking my time to allow them to come into my possession, without getting impatient. If something is rare, I will grab it for a reasonable price (outside of that usual £2 max price) but that’s only if I really need it.

So this story is unfinished and I’m going to document some of the big additions to the collection in the future.


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