LinkedinTwitterThe DetailsConnectBlog Facebook Meet the TherapistHome For Writers

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holding on to the Past...Too Long

I was recently struck mute at a news segment that played on KEET-TV (a mainly educational channel here in California) about a man named Paul Mawhinney. He is the owner of the largest record collection in the world, valued at $50 million.

You can watch the entire segment below, or skip ahead for a brief breakdown and my thoughts/comparison to the ebook revolution.

The Archive from Sean Dunne on Vimeo.

Paul has over 1 million albums and over 1.5 million singles. 83% of his music isn't available to the public. That's mind blowing!

But it doesn't take a genius to figure out why Paul is in financial straights. 

Due to health issues (he's diabetic and legally blind), he's spent the last 10-12 years trying to find a home for his collection, but says that "basically, no one gives a damn." He's only asking 3 million for the entire archive, and has had no serious offers. He said, "I've already given my life to this collection. If nobody out there understands what I've done, and what I have, and what I've offered, then we have to give it up."

He and his wife both get emotional in the segment, especially as Paul plays John Miles' song, Music, which Paul claims is his life song.

My husband and I sat in stunned silence after watching this, mainly trying to figure out why the man was so upset. I'm not trying to make light of having invested your life into a hobby and holding on to it "past its prime" and being unable to find someone else as interested in it as you. It's like not selling stock in the heyday and regretting it later when the shares are worthless.

The digital age is here. There's no going back. I'm not trying to say that we shouldn't appreciate records or printed books. They are part of our history, and will not be rewritten. The music industry has never been more lucrative. Rarely anyone buys CDs anymore, much less tapes and records. Why would you when you could log onto iTunes and buy the exact song you want without buying the entire album? You can mix and match and shuffle it all on your phone or iPod. It's portable, convenient, streamlined.

So what do we do with the old tapes and records? What are they really worth? Paul has one record that is from the 1800s. First flat vinyl ever made. Where does that belong? IN A MUSEUM. It's certainly not making a comeback. For me, I sold every one of my tapes (records were before my time) in garage sales...except for a few mixed tapes gifted to me, which I kept for sentimental reasons.

As I reflected on this man and his life's ambition of collecting records, I was saddened. He wants to sell, sure, and I wish him luck in finding someone to pay his asking price. But what a testament to his inability to change with the times.

There comes a point where we cease to be relevant. Records are far past that point. CDs are on their way. I'm not making a complete analogy to printed books, but pretty close, I suppose. (And yes, I figure that there are plenty out there who disagree with me....I welcome exchange of opinions on this blog!) If we aren't at least catering to the ebook population, we are going to get left behind.

Let's Analyze

What do you think about Pau's collection of almost 3 million vinyls? Do you think it's a great tribute, like he does, or more of a sad commentary? I'm genuinely curious!

And if you missed my review post of K.M. Weiland's newest release, Dreamlander, click here for a chance to win your own copy!