Great point in the first paragraph, Muckie about artists you have known and owned for years as conversation pieces but never listening to them much. I struggle with this too, the endless push and pull between collector and connoisseur, always battling over what to purchase. As I stated in the past, I was into collecting sports cards for over 25 years and dissolved a large portion of my collection to give my music collection a jump start a decade ago. In that time I have increased the size of my collection tenfold. But, unlike my formative music years, I don't have a 99 percent memorization rate. It's probably somewhere in the neighborhood of 70-75 percent. As I get older and have less money and time (wife, house, daughter, lol) I feel as though I will never get back to where I was 20 years ago unless I stop buying anything new and force myself to absorb what I already own.
As far as downloading/ copying goes, I never really got much into file sharing for fear of computer viruses and made dubbed copies on cassette back in HS due to lack of funds. Ha. A few years back, my best bud and I were going to buy a shitload of blank discs and copy what we didn't have from each others collections. He has a lot more variety than me ( almost entirely Hard Rock and Heavy Metal with a focus on the 1980's in my collection) and I would have ended up with 500 more albums I wouldn't be listening to just gathering dust.