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Brazilian Record Collector Quietly Builds One of the World’s Largest Vinyl Libraries

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Spencer Platt, Getty Images

Quite a few classic rock fans are familiar with the thin line between building a vinyl library and compulsively collecting records; in fact, for some of us, it’s only lack of space and/or funds that keeps our crate-digging from getting truly out of control. If you’ve ever daydreamed about turning your vinyl hobby into a lifetime pursuit, prepare to swallow a few drops of bitter envy while reading the story of Zero Freitas, a man who loves music so much he needs a 25,000-square foot warehouse to store it all.

The New York Times profiled Freitas, whose ownership of a successful Brazilian bus line has left him with the unique ability to purchase and house vast quantities of vinyl. As the article points out, he hasn’t exactly sought attention for his holdings — in fact, the buyer he employs has been known to acquire collections using a pseudonym to protect Freitas’ identity — but his budding plans to turn his inventory into a sort of public listening house could turn him into a hero for music fans all over the world.

Like a lot of compulsive collectors, Freitas professes not to truly understand why he feels the need to own all these records, and admits he’s sought therapy to try and get to the bottom of it all. But what’s clear is his deep attachment to the albums in his library — no matter how many millions of LPs are stacked in the warehouse, he seems to have a (sometimes quite emotional) bond with each of them, to the point that he’s even found it difficult to part with some of his many duplicates. As one employee told the Times, “It’s like he almost cries with every record he sees.”

All in all, it’s a fascinating story, and one that sounds a note of encouragement for musicologists concerned with the looming extinction of the countless recordings never digitized during the CD era. “It’s very important to save this,” Freitas is quoted as saying at one point, and through his work and the efforts of those like him, priceless swaths of irreplaceable history will be preserved. Whatever he’s paying for that warehouse — and for the small army of interns that spend their days cataloging his ever-expanding stash — it seems like a solid investment.

Next: Lego Album Covers

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