Sunday, April 08, 2012

Now you can "live in sin" with records before buying them

Since Spotify my music consumption has settled down into a new pattern. I use it as a way to listen to anything I don't have a copy of or to make playlists of things I feel like listening to regularly. But when I've decided I really like a record I have to own it. It seems only fair. This reverses the usual process whereby I bought albums and then convinced myself I loved them. Now I decide what I really love and then buy it. It's a big change. It could have the same effect on album buying as cohabitation had on marriage.


  1. I almost always try to find an MP3 or a Youtube file of a record I want to buy these days. Especially if I'm spending a lot on a 45 I've never heard of. It may take some of that thrill away of hearing a real stormer nestled in the grooves, but it also takes away the heartache of spending a fortune on a real stinker.

  2. 'Then they smash them all to pieces.'

  3. Yup. Got to agree with that. I don't use Spotify but something similar and in the same way, i.e. try and buy. In fact, if they don't get a new release up immediately I'm back to checking regularly in much the same way that I used to drop into my favourite record shops until it arrived.

  4. On Good Friday I found myself in a record shop in central London, clutching a small stack of CDs, most of which I new nothing about beyond the name of the artist and the list of song titles on the back.

    Among these was a reissued album from a band who I vaguely recall seeing at The Reading Festival in 1994, although I couldn’t remember a note of their music; also an album purchased on the strength of what Dorian Lynskey described as the most pretentious review ever written. Having read the review, I felt that I had to hear the music that had inspired this florid outpouring of ornate, pseudo-academic prose.

    It occurred to me that despite the many opportunities to try before you buy, I continue to make blind purchases based on a gut feeling.

    I think this goes back to my early record-buying days when, far in advance of an album’s release, there would be a news item in the music press telling you the title and maybe listing some of the songs. Nearer the time there might be a track by track guide, followed not long after by a proper review. Eventually the day would come where you could go out and buy the thing and hear it for the first time. I enjoy the ritual of it - the delayed gratification and the sense of taking a leap into the unknown.

    It also bears mentioning that some of my favourite albums took a while to come into focus. Had my decision whether or not to purchase them have been based on a cursory listen on Spotify, I might never have investigated them to the same extent that I do with albums that I’ve gone out and spent money on.