For some people, buying vinyl records is just a fashion statement, for others like Melanie, it's a big part of everyday life. We celebrate record store day 2022 by talking to Melanie Schmiedel, a drummer German living in Norway, Bruce Springsteen's fan and an inveterate vinyl collector.
Music has always been commonplace in Melanie's home. She grows up in a musical family, her mother and her twin sister (Melanie's aunt), both play multiple instruments and have sung in a band. Also, her father loves music too. He's a huge Bruce Springsteen fan and infected Melanie's quite early. Whenever Springsteen comes to Germany, is a must-attend father-daughter meeting.
Although she can't remember exactly when she started collecting vinyl, her earliest memory was of a stack of records, a small collection that was given to her. Collecting has become an obsession pretty quickly. Melanie adores physical records, the haptic, the size, the large covers, the inner sleeves, and even the smell. She doesn’t play a record as background noise, she doesn‘t skip songs. Melanie loves the entirety of an album, the artwork and all the effort that has been put into it. Of course, the same applies to CDs or any other format as well, but she chose Vinyl as a preferred music format.
"I can even tell you the exact number: I have 1.931 vinyls".
Melanie has almost 2,000 vinyl records in her Norwegian flat (1.931 to be specific). Her entire collection is registered in an online database. Sometimes she thinks that It's a bit nerdy (not for us), but she is also a computer scientist, so it goes hand in hand. In fact is better for her if she can to check if she already had the record, especially at a record fair or when browsing the stores. Melanie listens to everything in her collection, a few months ago, she sorted out a lot of records because she hadn't listened to them at all, and that is something that cannot happen to the melomaniac collector's head. Most of them were given to her as gifts, the classical "attic finds", however, she listens to everything. She is not into one specific genre, her collection spans over 7 decades and one can find plenty of different genres and styles.
" I think when it comes to equality my collection is quite balanced".
In terms of equality, Melanie's collection is quite balanced. As she mentioned before, her collection spans a few decades, and that includes many female musicians from a wide range of genres. To name a few: Patti Smith and Debbie Harry. Emmylou Harris is one of her all-time favourites. The 80s Divas as well as Pop Queens from her youth, which was in the 90s. To name some more: Edith Piaf, Tracy Chapman, Lana Del Rey, Amy Winehouse, and Lauren Mayberry. Stevie Nicks, Kate Bush, Beth Hart, Kat Frankie, Billie Holiday and Lilly Among Clouds. The list is endless.
Although the people thought that the vinyl was dead with the advent of CDs in the 1980s, and in many cases for some people was just an object that had been gathering dust in the attic of the house for years, for some time now, vinyl has once again been the most popular and highest-grossing physical format in the music industry until today.
"I hope that more and more ways are found to produce vinyl sustainably and that pressing plants follow suit, keeping collecting fun and making it less polluting".
In the past few years, vinyl sales increased enormously, and physical formats, in general, celebrate their renaissance. So for Melanie as a collector, this is a great development. On the other side - the side of streaming services - she argues that it is about practicality and access to millions of songs, albums and playlists, so she hopes that, in the future, more and more ways are found to produce vinyl sustainably and that pressing plants follow suit, keeping collecting fun and making it less polluting, "I've read some articles about new processes and pressing plants such as Deepgrooves and RPM Records and I find their approach amazing. However, as far as I'm concerned, I don't have any sustainably produced records in my collection - yet. " she said.
The love for music is lived in countless ways, for some, it is a hobby, for others a job, and for Melanie being a collector is the everyday. But let's say no more, we invite you to get to know her world in her fabulous Instagram account.