Since 1991, I have been keeping a pen and paper list of my CD's, added to with each new purchase. With the increasing availability of digital media, not everything that I now listen to comes from a disc. Nevertheless, I have never bought digital music downloads, and so every new album purchase is a physical product with the band name and release title still added to the list. I keep it rolled up in a desk draw (the first composition-pages of which are yellowing nicely). The list comprises approximately 280 entries. Each entry until March 5, 2006 is numbered, by which time I had been including purchase dates for just over 8 years. As of June 16, 2011, I began including purchase prices.
This document (an ongoing record) is important to me for the way that it traces a path of development through my musical identity from adolescence through to adulthood and the present day. It is also offers other kinds of insight: an obsessive compulsive disposition for list making, not uncommon among artists; a sense of self-identity in the late modern age that is, at least in part, constructed and communicated, mediated and negotiated through the consumption of material goods in general (perhaps the list is a document of a Marxist 'alienation from the self' under capitalism and/or consumer fetishism); specifically, my ongoing consumption of plastic which, today, finds me reflecting on the ethical dimension of my cultural participation; the evolution of my hand-writing style; past youth symbolically recaptured in the acquisition of CD-format albums, the cassette tapes of which I've owned, in some instances, for more than three decades; evidence of life beyond iTunes.
"Paper Disc Record: A Consumption-based Account of Musical Identity,"
Proceedings from the Document Academy: Vol. 4
, Article 6.
Available at: http://ideaexchange.uakron.edu/docam/vol4/iss1/6