360°Sound recently caught up with CD collector Ben King. The 32-year-old punk and metal fan lives in Bellingham, Washington but was raised in northern New Hampshire. He’s been collecting CDs for about 20 years. King regularly posts selections from his extensive collection on his Instagram @compactdiscgeek, which currently has almost 9,000 followers.
360°: About how many CDs do you own?
Ben King: I’m creeping up on 9,000. I think I’m somewhere in the 8,700 range.
What do you love about CDs?
Right now, I love that they’re cheap! In all honesty, I get the same things out of CDs I think you’d get out of any format. I’m no audiophile. I just get a kick out of supporting the bands that I love and owning a physical piece of music. I like looking through the artwork and reading along with the lyrics and scanning the liner notes to see who produced the album and where and what other bands they might mention.
I generally don’t stray too far from the punk and metal that raised me, but I’ve got a little bit of everything – lots of hip-hop and classic rock. I’m a big Morrissey fan. Big Springsteen guy. I like a lot of late ‘90s/early 2000s pop-punk and pretty much everything death metal.
Please list a few of your all-time favorite albums that you own on CD and never get tired of.
Divided Heaven – Youngblood
Mercy Union – The Quarry
Brian Marquis – Blood and Spirits
Where do you buy CDs? Online? Record stores? What are some of your favorite music retailers?
I’m mostly an online purchaser these days, as I guess everyone is. I like Discogs for hard-to-find stuff, but I try to buy directly from the band or record label directly. Bandcamp is a really great tool for that. I’m a New Englander at heart, so I’ve gotta say my favorite record stores are Bullmoose (Portsmouth, NH and Portland, ME locations) and the Manchester, NH Newbury Comics. I lived in Seattle for a number of years, and Silver Platters SoDo and Sonic Boom in Ballard were both very good to me. These days I spend my record store dollars at Everyday Music in Bellingham.
Do you plan to continue adding to your CD collection? What are some CDs that are at the top of your want list?
I’ll always collect! I love it. It’s really my only hobby, and I’ve got a very long list of gaps to fill, so I don’t see an end in sight. Lately, I’ve been on the lookout for an album called The Great Ambition by a Texas metal band called Valeyra that I saw once many years ago. They were great, and I didn’t have the money to buy their CD that night. It’s the one that got away.
What do you think about the future of CDs? Do you think CDs could have a resurgence like vinyl?
I think CDs will be a collector’s item on the level of tapes in a few years. They’ll be a kitschy relic to press a few of to sell on your Bandcamp, and I’m OK with that. I’ll keep collecting just the same.
To see more from King’s vast CD collection, follow him on Instagram @compactdiscgeek.