With great risk comes great reward. When Paolo Annicchiarico, AKA ocasomarino, left his home country with the only goal of getting into some heavy record digging, he found enough albums and stories to last a lifetime. Luckily for Discogs, as he’s devoted much of his time to submitting a considerable amount of these records and many others he has collected along the way, to the Database. As he nears 10,000 contributions, we caught up with Paolo to hear some of those stories and understand his commitment to the Discogs Database.
As always, S.P.IN (September Pledge INiative) is happening this month. We’re taking a different approach this year, focusing less on leaderboard spots and more on thanking YOU, Discogs’s valuable contributors, for the incredible work you’ve all done throughout the years.
Found something missing in the database but have no clue where to start with a submission? Check out our S.P.IN hub for beginner guides, tips and tricks, and more interviews with some of our top contributors.
Discogs: How did you discover Discogs?
Paolo Annicchiarico: My first contact with Discogs was many years ago. I was looking for a record I couldn’t find on any other marketplace and bought it on Discogs. I didn’t know what Discogs was or what the idea behind it was at the time, so I’d better say I’ve discovered what Discogs actually was thanks to another Discogs user and good friend of mine, Ibtaba.
It was a few days after I returned from one of my digging trips to Colombia and Panama and he suggested that I use Discogs to list and sell my records. A piece of good advice!
D: Any great collecting stories to share?
PA: Too many to mention. I should write a book about it. Searching for records is not something I do in my spare time. It’s my life. It’s the way I live and it’s strictly connected with any other aspect of living: work, relationships, evolution, spirituality.
Probably the most significant story is from four years ago. I left my country totally broke with no money in my pockets and with the intention of doing a serious digging trip around Central America … I didn’t even know if I had the chance to stay for more than one week.
Trading records day by day, I came back home six months later. While I was crossing the ocean by airplane, a container with about 20,000 records was following me on a cargo ship. It’s not been my best deal, but definitely a turning point in my activity.
D: Do you have a favorite submission or a particularly unique find?
PA: Again, there are too many to mention. I’ve lost the count of the submissions I made to the Database. At the moment, it seems like I’ve added more than 9,400 titles just from my personal account. But I’ve been using my friends’ accounts, too, over the years.
Last night I uploaded on YouTube a very rare jazz LP from Panama by Alonso Wilson de Briano. Last April, I also added it to the Discogs Database. Well, after four months there are only four people who have it in their Wantlist. But we’re talking about an amazing record.
There’s still a lot of great unknown music out there. I find many rare gems. I dig deep.
D: Are there any gaps in the Database you personally would like to fill?
PA: Of course. In the last few years, I concentrated on a very small number of Latin and tropical countries and I still turn up thousands of records missing in the database. If I’m experienced enough, I can affirm there are still too many records missing from Africa, Asia, and Latin America in particular. I’d love to have the chance to change location in the future and help you to fill this gap.
D: What does the Discogs Database mean to you?
PA: I think Discogs is a brilliant idea and at the same time, an inevitable thing for the world we live in. Today we assist in the general recollection of knowledge in any field, from many different sources, from any part of the world, any society or tradition. All this knowledge is solidifying in a bigger global knowledge accessible to all human beings everywhere.
Discogs goes into that direction, and I think that’s a big part of its success. Discogs is a universal thing. It’s kind of a music encyclopedia — the place where you can discover the history of the discography of this planet.
D: How would you like to see the Database grow in the future?
PA: I think the Database will always grow because people will never stop recording and releasing music. Also, the gaps will be filled with time. I think Discogs is already very complete as it is and will crystalize its leadership on the market of records even more in the future.
But, since you ask me, let me say I always had an improvement on my mind who may help the website to beat its competitors: Allow users to sell records on auctions and not only on fixed price. It may give visibility to a lot of obscure titles and give a boost to the market. If I need quick money nowadays, I still have to go on eBay, and I may not have the time to add my obscure records on the Discogs Database first.
Feature image by Umberto Cofini.