For me, and I'm guessing for the tens of visitors to this blog, the context is more than important. It's essential. That's why I bother to upload album covers and whole records even though a tune or two might be a dud, and that's why you take the time to download them, burn CDs, print out covers, etc. The music is the main thing, but knowing where it comes from, and who made it, and why and when, simply enhances the experience of listening.
But ... maybe this is all changing? It seems like everyday more and more data are uploaded to the web. The Jazz Discography Project is doing an marvelous job building an Internet-based catalog of work by (thus far) major jazz artists, and nearly every rare and long-out-of-print record I can think of is available somewhere on the web, either commercially or through fan sites like Gems. So, pretty soon – maybe within our lifetimes – perhaps all of jazz's recorded output will reside in the Cloud, replete with detailed discographical information. That would be extraordinary!
And it might mean that collections like mine, and like all of yours, will become outmoded, as useless as the home encyclopaedia now is. An interesting thought, eh?
But to celebrate collecting, I put together a brief video about my magnificent obsession. Here is a good portion of my record collection, sans 78s, tapes and CDs. I had to Photoshop together all the shelves because they're too heavy to house in a single room (a potential floor collapse!). The covers are just some I grabbed off the 10- and 7-incher shelf – a good size for my little scanner – and the tune is by the marvelous Betty Bebop. Enjoy, and happy collecting!