Gotham Collectibles, and now Gotham Radio, pretty much started because of vinyl records. Way back before the shop was a concept we were underground DJs in search of collectible records.
We would purchase rare records off of eBay after scouting them on discogs. This was long before most people had cell phones. My first cell phone was a Mitsubishi with an antenna off the top.
We would play the records in our local music scene at the house party’s, clubs and outdoor music gatherings. It was very uncommon for people to play records in the late 90’s and into the 2000’s because new music was expensive and rare in the record format. Most stores sold CD discs, however, the technology to play CD as a performance DJ was not advanced enough yet to be attractive. The desired characteristics were not in place when compared with the Technics 1200 turntable.
With a vinyl record player turntable you had analog control with your finger tips and it was unmatched. We all sought out the best dance music on record vinyl format.
DJs rarely used computers because the interface technology supplimenting a track to the turntable was not consumer available yet. The standard music format for DJ was a true stack of vinyl records.
The DJ had to keep the playlist records in order, sorting them while playing a set. Usually by the end of the night several records were in the wrong sleeves and a few records loose among the stack. They we’re carried around in record bags or crates. Each track weighed to the load you had to take with you.
The idea of playing music to a crowd is a big part of popular culture. However, there are more records than you can listen to. So when listeners find an artist they like they usually will stick with them just the same as comic book readers stick with BATMAN.
After a number of artists have been discovered by the dj, then they can form a set of songs. A DJ can then more or less rely on that music producer artist to supply a track similar to their last work as a new release.
This way I realized I could perfect the formula for a set of songs, and just upgrade it with new releases from the same artists. So after years of collecting releases you end up with various similar sets of music each set composed of slightly older songs.
These artist names, and more specifically the tracks became that specific DJs trademark and a DJ would essentially make a name for themselves finding crowd pleasing tracks and playing them to an audience, building their fans. If a DJ is a magician then their songs are their magic spells. The names or sources of their power were usually kept secret.
As time goes on and you still DJ, your music collection grows. Eventually you end up with the music of other DJ s who have given up the hobbie. Their amazing tracks become yours. If you are at the right place at the right time you can get all the tracks from a retiring DJ. Their magic becomes yours. Their entire DJ career has been about the secret music in their record crate and for some reason they are parting with it regardless of the hours spent looking through the music.
Really though, The track having a good sound is really only one reason people like to collect vinyl records. A record really only gets played when someone goes through the effort to put it on so most of the time they really just sit around. Probably the number one reason records are collectible is because of their art, design aspect, or visual appearance.
Some records also have gimics to promote their collectiblitlity. One of the most classic gimmick to sell a record is to sell it in a limited edition color vinyl or picture record. Furthermore some records have even been di-cut into other shapes.
The oldest record collectors look for records from an era that is long past that have an original sound. Like book collectors, they prefer the first edition, or first print, or first pressing shunning the remastered copies.
There are lots of collectors of signatures, and records have always been a great form of memorabilia to get a signature on from your favorite star.
These most collectible of records gets lost over time and get mixed with rare DJ records and popular hits and old favorites and the new stack and the used bin that just came in and before you know it they are everywhere so they get put back into bins now unsorted.
The collectors end up with too many and the records start to look like comic books which start to look like collectible cards which look like books which nobody wants. After a few years they go to the thrift store for new enthusiastic DJs to find.
The trick is to get rid of most of them. The records that don’t appeal to you any longer. At the very least keep a record bag seperate from your collection as your performance DJ records. That way when your hand goes for a record it will not matter what one it is. It will sound to your crowd like it is possibly the best music they could be listening to right now. So, ultimately the best DJ is not a completist collector because they don’t have to sort through the good. They only have the best.
As time goes on DJ technology changes. It moved to CD players to media players of all shapes and sizes. Now we play computer file format songs that have been analyzed with software on space ship looking controllers so we can cruise through a set at an unbelievable rate with skills incomprehensible to a retired DJ of 20 years ago. All the tracks fit on a thumb drive.
Through all the changes, there really has always remained the basic records on the Technics 1200, and really once you have that you don’t need an update ever. There are more records out there than you can listen to in your life time. Other technologies fade and song files get lost. You can always put that record back on and add another weight on the HEADSHELL to get it to play.