Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice

1st Edition

By Roy Shuker


240 pages

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Paperback: 9781472464279
pub: 2015-04-28
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The term 'record collecting' is shorthand for a variety of related practices. Foremost is the collection of sound recordings in various formats - although often with a marked preference for vinyl - by individuals, and it is this dimension of record collecting that is the focus of this book. Record collecting, and the public stereotypes associated with it, is frequently linked primarily with rock and pop music. Roy Shuker focuses on these broad styles, but also includes other genres and their collectors, notably jazz, blues, exotica and 'ethnic' music. Accordingly, the study examines the history of record collecting; profiles collectors and the collecting process; considers categories - especially music genres - and types of record collecting and outlines and discusses the infrastructure within which collecting operates. Shuker situates this discussion within the broader literature on collecting, along with issues of cultural consumption, social identity and 'the construction of self' in contemporary society. Record collecting is both fascinating in its own right, and provides insights into broader issues of nostalgia, consumption and material culture.


'While the cultural analysis of popular music has been routinely consumed by consumption, few have taken the time to research how we acquire what we listen to and why some of us engage in that process compulsively. What might seem like an undirected act of ceaseless acquisition, record collecting can be, as Shuker illustrates, a process of self-definition, critical analysis and canon formation. Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice is a readable, informative and insightful consideration of the social dimensions of commerce and the sometimes complicated ambitions of those record fanatics who might shop 'til they drop or their eardrums suffer damage.' David Sanjek, University of Salford, UK 'In Wax Trash and Vinyl Treasures: Record Collecting as a Social Practice, Roy Shuker captures both the passion and the precision that makes record collecting the enduring global phenomenon, community, and business it is. From his detailed history of various forms of collecting to his engaging case studies of contemporary collectors, Shuker's book is sure to engage the reader as much as would a day rummaging through a city block of used record stores!' Russell Reising, The University of Toledo, USA ’… In this long-overdue study…Roy Shuker…expertly develops a historical overview that explores changes in format and shifts in canon, and the impact these have on issues of taste, economic and cultural capital, and collecting practices.’ Times Higher Education ’This book is a fascinating social study of people like us. … Wax Trash is a compelling look at the male (and sometimes female) obsession with rotating discs.’ 4 Stars, Record Collector

Table of Contents

Contents: Introduction; The 78 era: creating a collecting constituency; The contemporary collector: beyond the High Fidelity stereotype; Formats, collectors, and the music industry; Taste, the canon, and the collectable; Collecting practices; Record collecting and the music press; Collector profiles; Appendices; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Roy Shuker is Associate Professor in the School of English, Film, Theatre and Media Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

About the Series

Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series

Popular musicology embraces the field of musicological study that engages with popular forms of music, especially music associated with commerce, entertainment and leisure activities. The Ashgate Popular and Folk Music Series aims to present the best research in this field. Authors are concerned with criticism and analysis of the music itself, as well as locating musical practices, values and meanings in cultural context. The focus of the series is on popular music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, with a remit to encompass the entirety of the world’s popular music.

Critical and analytical tools employed in the study of popular music are being continually developed and refined in the twenty-first century. Perspectives on the transcultural and intercultural uses of popular music have enriched understanding of social context, reception and subject position. Popular genres as distinct as reggae, township, bhangra, and flamenco are features of a shrinking, transnational world. The series recognizes and addresses the emergence of mixed genres and new global fusions, and utilizes a wide range of theoretical models drawn from anthropology, sociology, psychoanalysis, media studies, semiotics, postcolonial studies, feminism, gender studies and queer studies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Social History
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Genres & Styles / Rock