Currently, there are various types of music software, and many will be developed in the future. Compared to vinyl chloride disks called records, CDs and downloaded music are overwhelmingly superior in terms of operability and versatility, and above all, since the sound source is read digitally, there is no damage to the board due to the record needle.
In this situation, rocks of the 60’s and 70’s, which entrusted their dreams and principles to records and jackets, became far from being relevant. Certainly, major artists’ products are being sold one after another on CDs and downloadable music, but the rock scene has not continued to this day solely due to the success of such big players. Many of them were born and lost in the underground, and they were too early to be recognized and disappeared. Because of the efforts of the artists of that era, the industry people around them, and the designers, rock music like today has become a big business, and given its roots, it naturally turns to this era.
Those who were engaged in rock music market had no money at that time. It is still true more or less even today, though. The reason behind is that the psychedelic music came up from the hippie movement in the late 60th and early 70th are reviving and appreciating recently.
Rock music is diversifying and giving more influence to the society. New bands are coming up one after another, and new records are relieved. Record makers have wishes to introduce more records with new attempts to stimulate the boom, but the sales do not follow. Makers have no way to let the funs know the new records that they are going to launch with confidence. Under such a circumstance, the importance of record jacket is increasing.
Jackets in the early days were so simple as to be of the size of 30 cm by 30 cm with photos of player and logo. It grew to foldable double size of 30 cm x 60 cm with more sophisticated design and layout. New ideas were added to follow the diversified contents. Artists adopted jackets with six faces made of poster of the size of 60 cm x 90 cm in six-fold. Even hexagonal, octagonal or circular jackets were made to destroy the conventional image of jacket. Double door type and three folded jackets and humorous jackets made of materials other than paper were also made. Jackets that the buyer can easily understand or that strongly appeal the content that is unknown before listening or with high added value by itself were produced and marketed.
In the late 60th when new labels came up one after another, this tendency escalated and new ideas in the standard size were launched. Then the quality of jacket became to control the sales of records. This is the first docking between music and visual art. Except live performance, jacket played much bigger roll than we imagine now. The need in that day that was apparently different from today and the talent of designers matched well to create such perception. The jackets that I am introducing here are of the 60th and 70th and fascinating people even today. There are many collectors who are enslaved by that charm.
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There are some types of collectors. One type is to collect everything of certain artist or group e.g. all records not only LP but single disc and even acetated disc, different copies of the same music, same jackets for the same music produced in different countries, and so on. Further they collect posters, calendars, photos, tour pamphlets, tickets, stickers and patches. They form fan club and hold video appreciation parties. They are so called “OKKAKE” meaning chasers.
Other type is being satisfied with just listening music. They are not interested in goods but in costs. They don’t mind CD or tape, real or pirates or forgery so called bootleg. It is obvious that real one and forgery have clear difference in color or aura that the jacket emits. This is similar to the cases of bags and watches of top brand. Which do you prefer? I stick to the real one and devote to pursue real one only. This kind of person is also a type of collector.
It is often said that there are four stages in collectors. The first stage is called “OTAKU” meaning homebody who has just started to be interested in and has a little more knowledge than ordinary people. The second stage is called MANIA who likes to comment or advise to the other people. The third stage is to be NORMAL COLLECTOR who gives comment only when asked to do so. I think I belong to this category. The final stage is to be CRAZY who forgets all other things than that matter. They are a kind of immortals living outside of the ordinary world.
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Coming back to the subject, the number of records relieved in the old days is limited. The value of original version is never deteriorated by revival ones. Pirates even raise the value of originals.
Increase of the price of new record was less than twice compared to 30 years ago. This is just like egg while the biggest increase occurred at haircut. Anyhow, the value of record is very stable. This can be found in the magazines such as “Price Guide for Record Collectors” and “Official Price Guide to Records”. These guidebooks provide the updated data of records and their latest market prices. It is surprising to know that the price of rare records rises continuously. I started to collect records as hobby in the 80th when I was still twenties. It has become a kind of investment to me, but I have no intention to sell them at all. Particularly, the records of western psychedelic music in the late 60th and early 70th are very rare and expensive.
It is not easy to buy rare record even by paying the market prices. We normally buy record at shop or through dealer. Those shops and dealers think of the profitability and control the stock. Those who want more should then look for other sources such as auction. If you can get what you want at auction, you should be lucky. The real rare record that has almost value of cultural heritage is not sent to auction. Owner of such rare record feel a kind of destiny to happen to have it after making every effort to collect information, look for various sources and go through tough competition after finding it by chance. He has got special attachment to that record. It is not a matter of money for him. He will never agree to leave the record even for a big money. It is out of question to use the record for speculation or business. Still I sometimes ask such person for transfer of the record by offering a trade with my record in the similar grade. It may succeed after hard negotiation.
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I dare limit my collection as a result of such hard work to western music because I believe that most of the present Japanese music is more or less copies of western ones and their originality is low. Also since their records are produced on business basis, enthusiasm is not felt and quality is low. Some of the Japanese musicians are working exclusively but most of them are playing as side business. On the contrary the western musicians in the old days had strong desire to express or transfer their own messages by sounds or jackets. Advanced editing technology did not exist in those days. Naturally recording was done so strictly that musicians should work extremely seriously. I can feel such rock spirits from the records. Even today the music of that time is often used in drama and commercial. This must be a proof of that the old western music has not lost the value. It is not my intention to look down the Japanese music. I just prefer western music. Many people should share this feeling with me.
Johan Wolfgang Goethe, the great German writer, wrote in his book, Maxim and Reflection, that music does not require so much novelty as to the other matters in a sense. Even the more music is old and people get used to it, the more it is effective. The dignity of art appears highest on music. That is because music does not contain any material to be removed. Music elevates the nobleness of everything being expressed only with form and content.
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I am proud of having chosen the record collection as my hobby. It is really a luxury and sophisticated hobby. Other hobbies are just for decorating and looking but music makes sounds. Japan has grown to an economy giant, but is still not so in culture. Those who want to learn dance should go to New York, who wants to study fashion should go to Paris, and who want to study music should go to Vienna. Those people wish to study at the best place.
I will be happy if I can contribute to the society in cultural field by making the people understand the value of real ones. This is why I have decided to open my Home Page. Your comments and advises will be highly appreciated.