We love our music. Some prefer the historic audio medium of vinyl records; some enjoy the digital music that surrounds us everyday. No matter what medium you prefer, if you have a collection it is very important to document it. Not only for insurance purposes, but to also keep track of exactly what you have or may be looking for.
There are many software applications available today that claim to be the best for cataloging and documenting a record collection, some may even use an Excel spreadsheet. But, I have found the ultimate application, one that is very user friendly and accomplishes the difficult task of cataloging a record collection.
I recently spoke with Matt Trush, who operates the website http://analogapartment.com. Analog Apartment is a place for people who love collecting and experiencing their music on vinyl and is a site that is designed to help you mange your record collection. Now you can keep track of what you have and what you want in a simple, elegant web application.
Let’s learn more about the program and how it can help you:
What made you design the program, had you tried others on the market?
I just wanted something that was simpler, cleaner and more personal than keeping a list in a spreadsheet. I have seen and tried several other programs but most of them seemed to have more features than I needed and looked more like a business application.
What kind of computer background do you have?
My grandfather introduced me to computers and programming when I was 9 and I've been hooked on building products ever since. When I went to university, I initially majored in Computer Science but switched to the MIS / Business after a late night battle with code. Overall, I wanted to design products and experiences much more than I wanted code.
Tibi Ballai, a good friend of mine and the other half of Analog Apartment, is the real genius behind the technology. I design the front-end experience in Flex and he makes it work.
I signed up for the product and fell in love with it in a matter of minutes. I didn’t really see any directions – yet it is put together so well, there are really none needed, just click a few buttons and then you can see what you can do with it. Was this purposely done, can you elaborate on the design functions and ideas behind them?
That's the goal of any product we design. Great products have a way of walking you through the product and keeping it as intuitive as possible. We wanted to keep everything simple and clean - more like a personalized collection kiosk than a spreadsheet or database.
The grading system that you incorporated into the program, is this the standard Goldmine system? Do you have any plans to change that?
It is and yes, we do have plans to make the interface more flexible to the different types of information people want to collect about their records. Some people want to track catalog numbers, genres, labels, sizes, condition, and value whereas others just want the basics.
The fields we have in there today are there because they help capture what is unique about your particular copy.
You have a column for ‘purchased at’ and the date purchased, why as a collector do you think this is important?
For some it's important and for others it's not. I used to be really good at remembering where I got my records. As my collection grew, I wanted to keep track of where and when I got my records to give me an idea of how my collection has evolved and what places helped me get there.
It is so easy to navigate around the program with the + and = signs, any plans to incorporate new buttons or functions?
Absolutely, but we never want to add features just for the sake of saying we have them. Our goal is to enhance the collecting experience and not weigh people down with a clunky piece of software.
We recently launched wishlists, album cover art view, and a filter feature so you can easily find records based on the information you've entered. Next, we'll be looking to add features that allow you to share your collections and wishlists with others.
I love the notes section, will you incorporate and vinyl cover art into the program? Regarding the notes section, what can that be used for?
Personally, I use the notes section to keep track of favorite tracks, lyrics, and information about my experiences with the album and artist.
It is also great for capturing information about an album where we do not have a dedicated field. With the new filter feature, one can locate records based on anything that is entered in notes. It's really flexible.
With respect to cover art, we will look to expand this functionality down the line. Right now, we just wanted to make it easy for people to add an image to associate with an album.
We just launched some updates to our record collecting app, my.analogapartment.com.
In this update, we focused on making it easy to keep track of the records you have AND the records you want. We even added a handy print feature so you can take your wishlist with you to the local stores, record fairs, and garage/stoop sales.
Is there any way to take the data that I enter and copy it to another program like Excel or Word? (A copy and paste feature?)
Right now, we don't have a feature to pull the data into Excel or Word but I have received requests to do this. We will probably build it into the program. If anyone wants an Excel or Word file with their collection information in it, they can shoot me an email and I'll be happy to export their data from the database.
The flipside, we also want people to be able to upload a list of albums into Analog Apartment. For people that already keep track of their collection in Excel or another program, we don't want them to have to enter each album individually. Just like exporting, we're happy to import a collection from a spreadsheet into My Analog Apartment on behalf of the user.
Right now, the program is available as a free download. You will be amazed at just how easy it is to document and catalog your record collection using this simple software. It was developed by record collectors- for record collectors and is the best one available on the market today and I highly recommend stopping by and giving it a try. You won’t be disappointed.