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2017 Year-End Data: An Observation

 

I’d like to share an observation about the 2017 year-end report. As a forewarning, I am a heavy Database contributor. I would not consider myself an expert statistician. I encourage you to draw your own conclusions and rebut mine. When I wrote the script that queried the data for the Database 2017 Discogs end of the year report, I was intrigued by the number of contributions by format. The number of records (specifically shellac and vinyl) contributed to the Discogs Database dropped in comparison to other formats.
Releases Added By Format on Discogs in 2017
 
What does this mean? I don’t know. I do have a few theories though. There is a very large but finite number of phonographic recordings on the planet. There is a much smaller, but also still very large number of unique contributable submissions. Of course, there are a large number of new releases coming out all the time. The number of old releases that are new to the Database can only dwindle over time. Are vintage not-in-DB items drying up?
 
Yes and no. The Database hasn’t grown evenly. Pretty much gone are the days when top 40 records were scarce in the Database. It’s been pretty difficult to find electronic dance music 12″s not in the Database for years now. Most average Collections are unlikely to contain not-in-Database records these days. But, my inbox has no shortage of people looking for help contributing. My back room is still overflowing with work to not yet done. To top that off, we’ve only scratched the surface of non-North American/European records.
 
While this format did not thrive in 2017, other formats seemed to fill in the effort vacuum. No thanks to my efforts, tapes are more popular than ever, as are CDs. A good friend of mine and large-scale dealer has ensured me that they’re selling more CDs than ever. I still haven’t seen much of this supposed revival in person. Thrift stores across the country are full of CD versions of classic titles. These usually sell online for a tenth of the price of their vinyl equivalents. Too bad most thrift stores price CDs about three times as high as tapes and records though.
 
My experience is that most core-Collection records are likely already contributed. This could affect people adding their Collections or listing items for sale. They are spending efforts where the Database needs more work. I find myself doing more edits and adding images than adding new submissions. There are so many hours in a day. I’d rather be adding new records, but there are other submissions that need my attention. How we interact with contributing changes as the Database does. Adding vinyl records alone is not the only way you can make a notable impact.
 
People with deep Collections of obscure genres can make themselves known here. Some record labels catered to hardcore collector markets exclusively. As a result, these generally don’t see the light of day. Do you have an extensive Collection that seems like an uphill battle to get entered? Do you have a theory about why the numbers look as they do? Let us know in the comments below!

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9 Comments
  • Mar 11,2018 at 6:18 pm

    During the last week I added around 400 entries (vinyl only for the moment) into my collection and I already have some release I can’t find or that need updates. These are mostly albums with classical music.

    As soon as I have added all already available items I will begin to take care of that. I therefore created a custom field that helps me identify items that need additional information or picture(s). I am curious to see where all this will end.

  • Mar 8,2018 at 10:40 am

    My specialty is Quadraphonic audio and have found myself become so frustrated with the number of incorrectly labeled albums i’ve been slowly trying to correct the listings i come across.

    I feel this is one area that needs to be expanded, i’ve made a posting elsewhere asking for the moderators to contact me regarding changes/improvements that need to be incorporated.

    The big problem, i find, is peoples lack of knowledge in this area so they make incorrrect additions, like Decca Phase 4 meaning it’s Quad, which as far as lp’s go in 100% wrong.

    When i made a change to one item, someone who knew nothing about quad decided to correct what i had done because he always did it that way!!!

    I’ve run a blog dedicated to quadraphonic albums (dreamingspiresquadarchive.wordpress.com) and feel i could add/correct a lot of information to make Discogs more accurate in this area, but i’m beginning to feel why should i when the possibilities of adding all the correct information isn’t there and issues can arise when peoples attitudes to change can become argumenyative and almost personally insulting!

  • Mar 8,2018 at 10:27 am

    In my opinion, even if the database is very supplied, CDs are easier to find, for the simple reason of their youth.
    Ad example, as for the vinyl and shellac, I noticed that the database is very lacking of all Italian music published in shellac from the beginning of the 20th century until the post-war period of 1955 (it’s really, really lacking), and also all the “Italian Beat” style published in vinyl 7 “inches, from 1950 to 1970.
    These collections of shellac, they are difficult to find (many of these records are in the possession of older people)
    and mostly, the Discogs policy, that obliges you to insert only the discs in your possession, (I’m not complaining about this) contributes that there are more insertions in CD instead of vinyl / shellac, it is difficult for older people to insert
    their collection through the computer, we should find an enthusiast of these records. Cheers

  • Mar 8,2018 at 12:24 am

    I enthusiastically tried adding new submissions a few years ago when I started here, but had difficulty understanding all of the nuances and made mistakes on most and was appropriately dissed. I went from frustrated to intimidated so decided to give up. Out of my 4,500 LP collection, I’m sure there are hundreds I have either in a NID (Not in Discogs) pile or entered as a similar version with a note added in comments to myself saying something like “Slight label variation NID” for future reference if I ever have the time to master the submission process. I’m not complaining, as I realize the nuances and accuracy is what provides the value of the site. But I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to chop through enough weeds to have full understandings of rights societies, determining pressing plants, etc.

  • Mar 7,2018 at 11:53 pm

    One question I have after reading this post: I’m not sure what the term “core-Collection” refers to, exactly. I do have my own thoughts as to why some people (well, myself at least) might not be contributing more to this kind of site.

    I’ve been collecting for decades, and after I reached retirement age, I thought I’d start chronicling my collection, which includes several thousand vinyl LPs, 10″, 7″, Shellac 78s, and Edison Discs, as well as a few thousand CDs, and maybe a couple thousand cassettes. (I’m only stating this for perspective; I know there a lot of collections out there that make my own appear downright puny.)

    With that in mind, it seems that much of my collection is not found in the Discogs database, or there are conflicting and likely erroneous entries in the database which make it less clear which version of a release I own. Additionally, a good portion of my collection includes non-North American/European releases from many other parts of the world – which, as stated in the above article, are also not reflected within the database. As for era or genre categorizations, it’s all over the map.

    I do not make any submissions to the database, since the site seems to adhere to an open-source practice, which allows members to make arbitrary edits, based on their own interpretations of the “Guidelines” (in quotes, because they are often wielded as “Rules”, which removes a good deal of subjectivity). Generally, it seems, they can’t even bother to be nice about it, as though their opinion holds more sway than anyone else’s.

    Some years ago – after several years immersing myself in enough Discogs forums to make my eyes glaze over – I made a small number of submissions, and found that a small group of 5 or 6 of the same site members were trailing my submissions and looking for even the smallest infraction to correct, whether a typo or a question of syntax. I communicated with folks with Discogs about this, and they basically shunned me as well as my efforts. So, I stopped having anything to do with Discogs after that.

    Recently, I decided to re-connect to the site, but *only* to seek out submissions which matched those in my own physical collection, in order to help me complete a database of my own. This may be useful to my family, who will likely be stuck with figuring out what to do with all of this if I happen to leave the planet before they do. (Hey, these things happen, after all – many of my old friends and band mates have left a long time ago.) With any luck, maybe they’ll even make some money off of it, if that’s what they want to do. At any rate, Discogs is one of several resources I refer to to help sort through my collection, and for the time being, I take whatever information is posted on the site with the proverbial grain of salt.

    Speaking for myself, though, it’s not worth the headaches and the hassle of making submissions and trying to be thorough, if anyone is allowed to just change data without even the courtesy of a discussion, so we can try to reach a happy meeting ground. If the admins of this site ever decide to stop allowing that practice (and maybe eliminate the “point” system, or extend the window for users to vote on discussed changes so more users have a chance to participate), than I for one would feel comfortable contributing to the database. The law of averages might suggest that I’m probably not the only one who shares at least a bit of this perspective as well, even if they’re not being openly vocal about it. Then again, I’m an old guy, with a lot of time to write a lot of words – and listen to a lot of music. Cheers.

  • Mar 1,2018 at 10:51 am

    I will tell you one area that is severely lacking is the Japanese/Asian area, be it vinyl, CDs, cassettes or what ever. Since I joined Discogs I have added a good portion of my collection, which may be small compared to some (just over 1000 entered at the moment) and at least 15% are new entries. Either Groups that do not exist yet or items for existing groups already in the database.

    I do what I can to add to the database, but I am only one person. Plus my wife gets cranky every time I come home with new items.

  • Feb 28,2018 at 10:20 pm

    Thanks, I made a big dumb typo here!

    Going rates online for CD versions of a lot of classic releases on vinyl records are usually a fraction of what they are selling for online.

    Most thrift stores, though, still price CD’s at $3 and record/tapes/etc usually at $1 each.

  • Feb 28,2018 at 8:53 pm

    Not trying to be a dick here, but I’ve read this sentence like 5 times, and I can’t figure out what you mean. Could you clarify?

    ——————–
    Thrift stores across the country are full of CD versions of classic titles. They usually sell these for a tenth of the price of their vinyl equivalents. Too bad most thrift stores price CDs about three times as high as tapes and records though.
    ——————–

    How are they simultaneously pricing them at 10% and 300% of the record prices?

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