Ten years ago, I was writing my first post for The Second Disc, a website about music reissues I thought was a pretty bright idea. A lot has changed since then.
The first posts were written in the bedroom of a suburban New Jersey home – the house I grew up in and moved back into after post-college economic downturn made it the best possible choice to live. This post was written in an apartment in Queens that I share with a lovely fiancée who is very cool about the amount of box sets here.
When The Second Disc opened its digital doors, I had a few months of experience interning with a major catalog label, and it enchanted me forever. The idea that reissues of classic albums loaded with extra tracks or expanded liner notes, or box sets stuffed with rarities for hardcore fans, were actually created by people who loved the music as much as a buyer did should not have been a novel concept. But it just wasn’t a story you heard about often – which I wanted to change when I registered this site to WordPress. (For trivia geeks: rejected title ideas included Reissue Theory, our earliest feature about the what-if deluxe editions we’ve all created, and Catalogic, which seemed silly on its own and worse if you added an “s” in front.)
There were a lot of things I wanted to accomplish with this site. There was the want for a community of positive, like-minded music enthusiasts. I was 22 and felt rather self-conscious about being so fascinated by digging up songs of the past and placing them in context today. There was the desire for self-expression: I don’t know that anyone else would care enough about learning about how “The Grease Megamix” was made, so I had to ask those questions myself. Then there was the selfish hope that my work would be noticed by the reissue labels that were then in a period of transition – and maybe, just maybe, enchant enough people to find some work within the business.
I’m happy to report that all of these goals happened. The amount of folks I’ve interviewed – some of which remain my favorite people in the business and some of which I forgot I’d spoken to until I went back into our archives – makes me happy that my skills as a storyteller have grown. The site does feel like a community, particularly on the back end. Meeting Joe, Sam and everyone who’s made this site what it is has been one of the greatest honors of my time here. And yes, I have been lucky to work with reissues, which can be pretty cool.
The Second Disc has succeeded in ways I couldn’t have predicted either. I claim nothing about the success of Second Disc Records, which Joe Marchese has brilliantly parlayed into a haven for really cool CD and vinyl releases. But I do take no small pride in its creation off the strength of what we have both created with this site. I am so grateful that Joe reached out (over a message board!) excited about the work I was doing, and offering his services. If you’ve read any of his work here, you know I made the right choice, too.
Since that first post a decade ago, the reissue business has changed. And it will continue to change. I never thought I’d get excited to find rarities or reissues appear on streaming services – but that’s where many consumers are, and every listener, no matter how they’re listening, deserves thoughtful and incisive dives into the history of recorded music the world over. I hope no one on either side of the business loses sight of the joy music brings us all. It’s not just a thing to enjoy on a drive or at a party, but a catalyst for love, hope, and strength – all qualities we need more of, no matter how plentiful they may be in our lives.
My immense gratitude to any of the thousands and thousands of you who’ve taken the time to read this site over the years – you’re the reason it’s here. There’s something in the works to properly celebrate with you later this year – but for now, play something you love and share it with someone!