I have a pretty good recollection of what albums I have and what albums I don’t. It’s funny; the same brain that refuses to remember the 4 digit PIN for my ATM card has no trouble remembering that I bought Mort Garson’s Electronic Hair Pieces record in 1996 at the Salvation Army Thrift Store in Great Falls Montana for $0.99.
This ability to remember what records I own has only let me down a time or two. Most recently, I was in a local record store with my wife. She found a copy of the Krokus album Headhunter (their album with the song Screaming In The Night) and wanted to buy it.
I was sure I already owned it and dissuaded her from the purchase.
When we got home, I had no trouble pulling out my VG copy of Krokus’ The Blitz (their album with Midnite Maniac and a great cover of Ballroom Blitz) out of my unorganized pile of records.
If only there were a tool I could use to genuinely keep track of what records I have that I could use in such situations:
Enter Discogs… http://www.discogs.com
Discogs is a free user-built database of around 6 million recordings from nearly as many artists. A user can identify which release of a record they own and, with one mouse click, add it to their own on-line “collection”. Here’s my work in progress:
Discogs is like the Wikipedia of recorded music, users can add unique releases or update existing releases with additional information. Usually, when you search for a record, the Discogs database will return the “Master Release” page including all sorts of relevant information regarding that release; images, track listing, track length, etc. From there a user can drill down to determine what version of the release you own; LP, CD, Cassette? US, UK or Canada? Promo, record club, re-issue? You get the picture.
To boot Discogs has a marketplace component where users can buy and sell records and stats pages where you can get an idea of a record’s value. I’ve experimented with buying from this marketplace and will be detailing my results soon.
I’ve been relying more and more on this tool to determine if my weird thrift store find has any intrinsic value and to back-stop my faltering memory while digging for vinyl gold.