IT’S the start of another day in lockdown land. You log-on to your hastily assembled work station in the “office” (previously known as the spare room, kitchen table or shed) and decide to listen to a little soothing background music.

So, what will it be: the radio, CD, vinyl record or stream some music online? The answer is obvious. It has to be the latter, doesn’t it? With just a simple click of the mouse or a tap of the screen, you have all the music you could ever wish for.

From the rise of Iggy to the fall of Ziggy, the delta blues to Delius, the millions of songs streaming offers is mind-boggling.

But there’s a problem. What song, artist, album, playlist or genre do you listen to? And here lies the rub. As the title of US psychologist Barry Schwartz’s 2004 book The Paradox of Choice – Why More Is Less suggests: too much choice is a bad thing. It seems counter-intuitive, but to grossly simplify Schwartz’s argument, he found that by eliminating consumer choice shoppers suffered far less anxiety. Panic sets in, you can’t decide, so you play it safe, pick your usual and avoid experimentation.

I admit I can be a tad snobbish in my musical tastes at times, but I can’t help but feel the instant gratification offered by the digital age has diluted music so much that it has become nothing more important in people’s lives than a piece of furniture. Music no longer “matters”, while there is a danger of drowning in a sea of mediocrity.

At the risk of sounding like a Hovis commercial, my formative years were joyfully spent saving up my paper-round money, going to Our Price on the High Street and buying the record I had either heard on the radio, seen on Top of the Pops or read about in the NME. Time, money and effort were all invested in my choice.

In fact, psychologists recognise that we value an item more if we own it, a phenomenon known as the “Endowment Effect”. This would explain why I refused to give up on a record if after initial listening I felt a little let down. I’d spent £9.99 on it, after all. Unlike flitting from song to song on iTunes, the physical record requires more input and your attention.

Your ever-expanding collection – even the duds that lurk in the shadows – is a small part of your identity, a little moment frozen in time reminding you of the friends you had, who you were seeing back then or the job you did when you handed over your hard-earned cash that day.

Let’s face it, if you don’t work hard for something, you won’t love it. And besides, it takes years to form a decent record collection – streaming is just cheating.

All columnists are free to express their opinions. They don’t necessarily represent the view of The Herald