The Record Breaking Vinyl Collection

Many people love collecting things, as it represents something important in their life. Often, collections can represent treasured memories - and nothing evokes memories as effectively as listening to music. A nostalgic song can transport us back to happy times in an instant.

Psychologists say there is a reason why people like collecting things. They believe it provides a cushioning effect against the uncertainty of life. When a person feels helpless, they can use their collection to create their own private comfort zone and retain a sense of control over their life.

For some people, collecting vinyl records is something of an obsession - and no one more so than Brazilian businessman Zero Freitas, who has the largest collection of vinyl records in the world, with more than eight million records packed into a 25,000 sq. ft warehouse in Sao Paulo.

People who collect records tend to be amongst the most nostalgic and are so attached to the past, believing it to be much better than the present. They turn into collectors because they want to hang on to good memories.

History of records

Even though vinyl records have been replaced by modern technology, they have remained important for collectors for generations. Although digital recordings are the norm today, there's nothing more satisfying than having an old record in a memorable sleeve that you can physically put on to a turntable.

The first records were produced in 1889, although they were made of a variety of materials, including rubber in the early days. In 1931, RCA introduced vinyl records, and by the end of the decade, it was the preferred material for recorded music.

Records remained the most popular medium for decades. Other means of listening to music surfaced, such as cassette tapes which were great for playing in the car, but it was vinyl that stood the test of time until the early 1980s.

In 1982, the new phenomenon of compact discs was launched and because of their smaller size and durability, they began to overtake vinyl in terms of sales.

With the growth of the digital era, record players became a thing of the past for many people, who preferred the convenience of downloading music and listening to it on portable devices. However, in recent years, vinyl has started to make a comeback and even some supermarkets have started to stock records again, with retro-style record-players also growing in popularity.

Lifetime collection

For Zero Freitas, vinyl records never went away, and the 63-year-old has devoted most of his life to assembling his eight million-strong collection. He continues to scour the world, as he has done for more than four decades, to buy records from other collectors.

He has a team of international scouts across America, Mexico City, Nigeria, South Africa and Cairo, who are looking out for rarities and negotiating deals on his behalf. Thousands of records are shipped back to Freitas's warehouse every month and his collection continues to grow.

In an interview with the New York Times, he said he had "gone to therapy" to try and understand why he collected so many records. He believes it may be because he has childhood memories of his father playing records and this has turned into something of an obsession. He recalled his father buying a hi-fi stereo and 200 albums, which spurred the young Freitas's interest in records.

Public access

When he left high school, Freitas had 3,000 records and the number simply grew and grew. In recent years, he has realised his collection isn't much use if nobody can access it and as a result, he is launching a non-profit organisation called the Emporium Musical, which will become a music library. He intends to set up listening stations among the shelves.

Much of his collection comprises Brazilian records from the 20th century. He plans to digitalise as much as he can, as he says up to 80% of Brazilian music isn't available in a digital format, yet it is important to preserve it for future generations.

Freitas's collection also includes 100,000 albums of Cuban music and the record collection of the late Bob Hope. He has also donated 10,000 Brazilian records to the Archive of Contemporary Music, where they are known as the Zero Freitas Brazilian Music Collection.

If you're a collector of vinyl records, it's important to have somewhere to store them safely. Solent Plastics has the ideal solution, thanks to our purpose-made clear LP storage case that will hold up to 100 12-inch vinyl LPs. We also have a range of clear plastic boxes in various shapes and sizes that are suitable for record storage.

Please check out the Solent Plastics website for our full range of storage solutions.

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