Record Record: Brazilian collector boasts over 5 million albums
Sao Paulo, Brazil (CNN) - In this digital age, many of the world's iconic record stores have closed their doors. Where does all that vinyl go? Many classic LPs are ending up in Brazil, where a millionaire music enthusiast has built the world's biggest collection of music discs.
Zero Freitas calls himself a hunter - a hunter of lost sound. This is rare, he says, I’m taking this home. His obsession has made him the owner of the largest known record collection in the world.
“Everyone thinks I’m obsessed with albums,” he says. “But really it's an obsession with memory and history, of Brazil and human kind.”
A Brazilian bus magnate who once studied music composition, Freitas has been collecting records his whole life. He owned 3,000 in high school and 30,000 by the time he was 30.
The bulk of his collection, estimated at 5 million, is at a former candle factory. Now he wants to make them available to the public and he's taken on 17 interns to help him do it. They clean and dust, photograph the covers and painstakingly catalogue each one. They get through about 500 records a day and they’ve catalogued a total of 250,000 – a drop in the bucket.
But Freitas hopes to open what he'll call a musical emporium next year - a kind of listening library. “90 percent of the time, people are looking for something from their childhood,” he says. “Culturally irrelevant, but for that person, extremely important.”
When asked which records are most important to him, Freitas says a signed album by Brazilian classical composer Heitor Villa-Lobos, and a rare recording of soprano Bidu Sayao bought for one dollar on eBay.
A buyer who works with Freitas recently told website "The Verge" it could take 20 years or more to catalogue the entire record collection.