Music Man Murray (trailer) from Richard Parks on Vimeo.
A recent post by C. P. Heiser on The Los Angeles Review of Books blog featured Murray Gershenz, a collector seeking to sell his nearly half-million rare records. He is also the subject of a new documentary by Richard Parks, "Music Man Murray." The post and the film both have good insights about the culture of collecting, something that I've talked a bit about before on this blog, particularly as it relates to fandom. Clearly Gershenz represents a fan practice on the decline, or at least, experiencing a profound shift in meaning and definition. As Heiser writes: "...Outside, the building with his name on its façade appears to be shrinking, just as music, too, has shrunk. These days, music lives inside a few scattered bits of data, the fetishized object becoming, at least for the masses, not so much the music as the little hand-held device upon which it plays."
Whither the music collector? What issues would arise if we tried to write a new version of Walter Benjamin's "Unpacking My Library" in the age of digitization and streaming? Is it time for a "Sorting My Playlist?"