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Vinyl seems to be making yet another comeback, for some it never went away. The seemingly antiquated hardware has managed to outlive many of the modern counterparts that came to replace it, including cassettes, CDs, and even iPods. We often find that retro things can come back into trend, but vinyl has seen a few rebirths. Now generation z is discovering vinyl, and in spite of being a much older technology it is still relatively easy to get a hold of and a hobby well worth exploring if you are inclined to do so. 

There is a lot to learn where vinyl is concerned, especially regarding its availability. You may not always find it a doddle to get your hands on something specific and you might find yourself waiting to do so. Many collectors enjoy the ‘hunt’ and the moment when it finally comes. One of the biggest pitfalls is to find yourself stuck in the reselling market, where sellers are simply looking to profit from marking up something they have acquired. But, if you are sensible in what you shop for then you can avoid the market traps and ridiculously high prices for rare albums. Otherwise, it can become an expensive hobby, alongside your turntables and other accessories.

As a bit of a guide, we have gathered some inside info that most collectors would have loved to have known before they embarked upon their vinyl obsessions. For more insight on the subject, you can head over and read what Orlando Mendiola has to say at Wired.

Shopping independently

Use a simple Google search to find the nearby record stores. Every independent store has its own unique collection of inventory so that there is a higher chance that you’ll find some records that could otherwise be hard to find online. Sometimes you will also find that independent record shops are granted exclusive pressings of particular albums, making them a limited edition piece. They typically offer bonus items with the first pressings of an album. This may be in the form of a badge or poster or even promotional singles alongside the release.

Vinyl Store

When you’re searching for records it’s a good idea to follow as many shops as you can on social media like Instagram, Facebook, or even TikTok. Many record stores started posting their stock on their own website or Discogs because of the pandemic and they offer you the choice of shipping or picking the recordings up. So even if there are not great record stores near you, there’s a chance you can still get the music you really want in the mail. Following and supporting independent stores also gives you access to accurate upcoming release info. It will also help keep you up to date with restocking dates for those that are out-of-print too.

Record Store Day; A date for your diary!

The first official Record Store Day was back in 2007 and essentially a celebration of what was at the time considered to be a dying medium as a way to boost independent record store sales. Hundreds of limited-edition albums are released especially in time for the celebration. These include rare and older out-of-print records as well as brand-spanking-new tracks to vinyl.  The date has changed from year to year since but is generally on a Saturday in April. However, due to the pandemic, RSD 2021 is expected to take place on June 12 and July 17. 

The special editions for RSD are often small batch pressings, making them very appealing to avid collectors. They tend to be albums or singles that are harder to get a hold of later on. So if you are just an interested fan rather than a diehard hobbyist it is good to plan in advance or you will have a tough time finding one. The full list for this year has been already published, and these pressings are only available at independent shops. However, not every store takes part in the event. If you want to find out if your local shop will carry RSD releases simply go to recordstoreday.com and use their search engine to find participating stores. You may also find the list of record stores and their current Covid protocols on the website as well.

Keep things tracked with Discogs 

Once your collection starts to grow you may want a thorough tagging system to keep track of what you have. Discogs is a highly recommendable digital hub for your vinyl. It is presented like a marketplace with a community-driven social media aspect. It is very informative and functions as an encyclopedia for your records. The database is exhaustive and accurately maintained and updated. You have access to all the details you will ever require. All varieties of pressings and releases of each record are listed and it even gives you a rough estimate of the value of your current collection. This updates regularly as the pressings become more scarce.

Discogs
Discogs. Image credit: mixcloud.com

The best hack is basically to see what record stores in your area post their inventory to Discogs and then call them directly to buy the ones you’re interested in over the phone. You can avoid shipping fees and possibly even get a discount if you’re local, which’s a perk. Besides, some places increase the price of records on Discogs to compensate for seller fees and shipping, so there is a high chance you’ll get the records cheaper by buying them directly from the store.

Follow on social media

Once you have a few record stores on your social media, you will soon find other stores and collectors will be suggested to you. /this happens through your data collection and algorithms, leading to finding some great TikTok and Instagram accounts to follow. Then you’ll have relevant posts in your feed of collectors showing off their vinyl. This is the best way to find your virtual vinyl community. Besides that, posting your vinyl on TikTok can be a good start of online friendships not only with other collectors, but also DJs, and music lovers. 

Instagram accounts such as Addiction to Vinyl also post alerts about restocks and new presses. It can be a great way to make friends and find your tribe as you will probably find your friends and family might not understand how you feel. There is a lot of excitement that comes with when you receiving a new record in the mail. Fortunately, the online community will be just as ecstatic as you to see you show off your latest addition. 

Try regular major retailers

Target, Walmart, and Urban Outfitters (to name but a few) have a decent music section which is well worth checking out if you aren’t looking for anything specifically rare.

Big-box department stores stock a variety of mainstream artists on vinyl these days. Some retailers even release exclusive pressings of albums with an alternate cover or color variant. Granted, this renders them destination purchases but gives you an alternative method of cinching a special edition record if you don’t live within the vicinity of a good independent record store.

Buy for your own enjoyment

One last reminder that is possibly one of the most important is to buy for your own enjoyment. Collecting vinyl can get pricey and you can find yourself accumulating records that you will ultimately never play. Instead of having hoards of records that sit and gather dust buy songs you are going to play, especially to begin with.

Byu vinyl for your enjoyment

Vinyl is currently on-trend but that doesn’t make it any cheaper than before and no matter how popular all the gear that goes with it will still set you back. 

So, instead of buying records, you think might become valuable or presses that you think will impress other collectors but for fun. Don’t make the mistake of letting collectors’ value overrule the musical value.

A conservative collection of albums you love is better than a mammoth collection that rarely sees the light of day.

Vinyl trends have been around, come around, and will likely float in and out of fashion, there is plenty of time to build your collection over the years.

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