Matthew Ismael Ruiz writes for Pitchfork as an obsessive digital music collector. He shuns all-you-can-eat streaming services, instead opting to patronize sites like Bandcamp, that allow downloads and ownership of digital music files. He acknowledges that he is in the minority in our entertainment post-ownership culture, but is aware that there are others like him. They, too, accept the overhead of maintaining a digital music collection.

Though the ranks of digital collectors have shrunk in the streaming era, I’m certainly not alone. So what kind of person does this? Digital collectors largely are collectors first and foremost—people who enjoy, at least to some degree, the meticulous organization the activity requires. To maintain a digital collection for years and years requires a mix of passion, knowledge, and more than a little bit of obsession. Digital collectors are often—but not always—gearheads and audiophiles fixated on fidelity. They’re people with appetites for music that far outstrip their budgets for physical media. And they tend to be, as I’m devastated to admit, people of a certain age, music fans that grew up organizing files and folders in a way seemingly alien to young people whose main interface with digital files is a search bar.

I can relate to Ruiz’s piece, but I can’t imagine myself abandoning the embarrassment of riches that streaming music services provide anytime soon. My preference is a mixed catalog, such as what Apple Music provides, where you can incorporate your downloaded rare tracks into your streaming library.

The Obsessive World of Digital Music Collectors | Pitchfork

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