How to Get Rid of a Record Collection (and Fail Miserably)

David Bauer
3 min readFeb 24, 2013


I meant to kill my record collection a few times already. I never followed it through, and I can’t understand why.

Let’s have a look at the facts:

1. I own something north of 500 records, CDs to be precise.
2. I bought and collected them because they allowed me to listen to whatever music I wanted, whenever I wanted.
3. That second fact has been outdated for a few years now.

I never use those CDs, although I listen to them all the time. Spotify, mostly, and sometimes iTunes now allow me to listen to whatever music I want, whenever I want.

If it’s no longer for access to music, what’s left?

1. Aesthetic value: Those CD cases and their booklets look nice on their wooden shelves in our living room. Well, come to think of it, most of them don’t. After all, they are CDs, not vinyl records. Let’s say 100 of them carry some sort of aesthetic value.
2. Emotional value: All those CDs made their way onto my shelves for a reason: I liked the music, sometimes loved it, some records are tightly connected to personal memories, some are by artists I know personally. Again, I assume that’s true for around 100 of my records.
3. Monetary value: Not in my case. No rarities to make a fortune of – unless there is a billionaire Mogwai fan interested in Blur’s self titled album, signed by Mogwai’s Barry Burns: «–$12 (and that’s cheap). Barry».

So, even if there were no overlap between the 100 aesthetically valuable and the 100 emotionally valuable records (and there is), it should be easy to get rid of more than half of my records.

But, dammit, it isn’t. Why is this so hard?

What’s confusing me is the fact that I’ve owned and given away more records than I now have in my collection. I used to work as a music blogger. I’ve given and thrown away hundreds of records. They never made their way to my record collection, those who did, are still there.

This made sure all my records have one thing in common: It’s music that I like or, at some point in my life, liked. It’s a documentation of me developing my taste in music (and, more generally, of me growing up).

So maybe, and I’ve only just realised that while writing this, the emotional value is not so much in individual records as it is in the collection as a whole.

Well, dear records, once again have you survived a serious effort of mine to get rid of you. Just don’t expect me to touch you anytime soon for any other reason, either.

Afterthought: What if there was an online music service that emphasised the emotional connection to records over mere access to the music. One that shows the whole artwork, not just the cover. One that lets me attach (and share) memories connected to specific records. Someone must have invented this already, no?



David Bauer

Journalist, curious generalist. Sign up for my newsletter: 📨✨