Below is a transcript from my YouTube video on the best places to buy vinyl records online and offline. You can read the transcript or watch the full video below. And if you enjoy it, please subscribe to my Devoted to Vinyl YouTube channel.
Hey everyone, it’s Michael from Devoted to Vinyl, and in this video, we’re going to be talking about the best places you can go, online and offline, to buy your vinyl records.
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So in my last few videos, I’ve covered how to store your vinyl records. And I’ve also talked about inner record sleeves and outer record sleeves. But today, I actually wanted to talk about where to go to buy your vinyl records, because this is why we’re actually in the hobby—to collect and play records.
Now there are a lot of places you can go online and offline to buy records, especially [local] record stores, which always need your support. But I’m not going to be able to cover individual records stores in every single town and city in America.
Instead, I’m actually going to spend some time covering some of the larger places where you can buy your records.
Some of the names on this list are no doubt going to be very familiar to you. But hopefully, you can get a little bit of value from this video.
So with all that said, let’s get started.
Buying Vinyl Records Online
Now the first thing I want to do is start with the big household names. And really, there’s no bigger household name than Amazon.
Now the great thing about Amazon is that they have a large selection of records to choose from, and they have great prices. You can always feel comfortable going to Amazon, knowing that you’re going to get the hot new release on vinyl and it’s going to be at a very affordable, competitive price.
And if you’re somebody that’s always trying to save a buck or two, Amazon does sell used records by third party sellers in their marketplace as well. Another great thing about Amazon is that, if you’re already paying for Amazon Prime, then you get your records in two days.
Now coming in number two on my list is eBay. And eBay can be a little bit controversial depending on who you’re talking to.
The great thing about eBay is that you can go online and find records that are rare or really hard to come by, and individual people are putting them on auction to be sold. And so, there’s always an opportunity for you to find a record that you can’t find elsewhere.
So in that way, eBay is vital for the vinyl community. But the problem with eBay is you might be dealing with inflated prices for your records, and that’s likely because the seller fees on eBay have increase significantly over the years.
And that’s directly tied to the fact that sellers have to pay more money in fees to eBay and PayPal than they ever did before. And that cost gets passed on to the customer.
So for example, if there’s a record that’s worth about twenty dollars, you might go on eBay and see that it’s selling for $30 or $35. And that’s because the seller is actually trying to mitigate their loss of profit that they’re going to have to give to eBay and PayPal for the fees to be able to use the eBay platform.
So all that means is that you just have to shop wisely on eBay. There are definitely deals to be found, you just have to know where to find them.
Now if I’m interested in a record on eBay, what typically like to do is look at the past auctions that have already sold. I can then take a look at what the record sold [for] previously and gauge for what I can expect to pay for the auction I want to bid on in the future.
Another tip that I would suggest if you want to shop on eBay is to consider looking at “bundles” or “lots.” All that means is that a seller has a bunch of records that they want to unload, and instead of putting up one record on an auction and then another record on an auction and then another record on an auction, they put a bunch of records all inside of one auction and label it a “bundle” or a “lot.”
The benefit of buying a record bundle is that it’s possible that the one or two records you’re really interested in could be in that bundle. And so instead of paying $15 or $20 or $25 or $30 for that one record you’re interested in, you could potentially buy a bundle of records on eBay for about $20, and get the record that you’re interested in—as well as a few other records that you might want to play from time to time.
One final thing about eBay—remember that you’re typically buying from individuals and not major companies. So everybody’s policy is going to be different.
There’s going to be some sellers that offer you free shipping, there’s going to be some sellers that offer combined shipping. Just make sure you take the time to shop around, and ask the seller any questions you might have.
And don’t forget to take a look at their feedback rating because you want to make sure that the person you’re giving your money to is honest and reliable.
Now coming in at number three on my list is one of my favorites, it’s one I’ve been using for years, and it’s Discogs.
Now if you’re not familiar with this site, it’s basically a database and marketplace for everything music. So if you’re interested in knowing more historical information about a particular album that you’re interested in, not only will Discogs be able to tell you the year that it came out, and the record label it came out under…it’ll also be able to tell you the country it came out in or the actual format that it came out in. Whether it was CD, or vinyl or cassette.
Discogs also gives you information about re-releases and re-issues, which is really great. Because if you’re looking for a vinyl record, but you only want the original pressing, you’ll now be able to go to Discogs and get information which will help you distinguish whether you’re buying a re-release or an original pressing.
The information that will help you figure that out is not only the year that it was released and the record label it was released under, but also the catalog number for the vinyl record itself.
And all that information can be found in the Discogs database. And the great thing about it is that it’s completely free.
Now another thing I love about Discogs is that it has a great marketplace. The Discogs marketplace is very similar to eBay in that you actually have sellers that are selling their individual record stockpiles.
But what I’ve found on Discogs is that you have sellers that are selling a much larger library of vinyl records. And so what you have is the ability to be able to find everything from rap music to country music to folk to pop to jazz—and that can all be under the banner of one particular seller.
One of the ways you can save a little bit of money on Discogs is to actually buy more records from the same person. A lot of these sellers try to entice you by actually cutting off some of the shipping cost if you buy more records. You actually have an incentive to buy five records instead of one because the price of shipping will be a little bit less if you buy more records.
It’s the classic tactic of “buy more, save more,” but the fact is, if you actually want to buy a lot of vinyl records, it makes much more sense to buy them from one seller so you can save more on shipping.
What you’ll also find in the marketplace is that sellers grade their actual records that they sell. Now I’m actually not going to talk too much about the specifics of grading vinyl records for this video. I’m actually going to make a separate video that’s going to tackle this topic entirely, but, it’s important to know that if you’re planning on buying on Discogs, sellers like to use a grading system for their record and their jackets that they sell.
And the grading system can range anywhere from Mint condition to Poor condition for records and jackets.
Okay, so next on this list is Turntable Lab. Now I’ve actually used Turntable Lab to buy my turntable, but it’s actually a great place to buy vinyl records, too.
Now Turntable Lab has a website and it’s pretty easy to use. And although I wouldn’t say that it’s cheaper to buy records there than on Amazon, I actually like the experience of shopping for records on Turntable Lab, as compared to Amazon. And here’s why.
The first thing is how Turntable Lab presents their records on their website. Now on Amazon, if you’re shopping for a vinyl record, you’re really only going to be able to see the album cover, and that’s about it.
But on Turntable Lab, not only do they show you the cover art for the album, they actually show you what the records look like too.
This is particularly helpful if you’re buying an album that has colored vinyl, so you can know exactly what it’s going to look like.
The other thing I like about Turntable Lab is that if an album has a gatefold jacket, you can actually see the entire album opened up. This almost never happens on Amazon, but is pretty consistent on a website like Turntable Lab.
I also find that Turntable Lab tends to give you a little bit more information about the album that you’re buying as opposed to Amazon. So if you’re buying something that’s a limited edition, if it only has 500 copies, if it’s a first pressing, if it’s an anniversary edition, that information is going to be in the description of Turntable Lab’s page.
Okay, so the next two entires on my list are going to be a little bit more unique than the first four that we’ve already talked about. And so this one that I want to discuss is called Boomkat.
Now this is a website that prides itself on being able to give people the option of finding music that tends to be a little bit overlooked in the mainstream.
Music that can definitely be innovative, but isn’t necessarily going to be on the Billboard Top 100.
Now this is a website that offers everything from cassette tapes to CDs to vinyl records, and although they’re located in the UK, if you find something you like, they do offer international shipping.
Okay, so the next one on this list is called Vinyl Loop. And Vinyl Loop actually goes out of its way to make your buying experience as simple, easy, and painless as possible. So here’s how it works.
You sign up for a membership on their website and you get access to their vinyl only deals. From that point, the staff at Vinyl Loop then pick a certain amount of albums that they actually want to sell to people who have signed up for the membership.
Once the selection process is completed, they then contact the record label or the actual artist themselves to reduce the price to being very affordable for the people on the membership list.
From there, a limited number of copies are offered to people on the list, and it’s first come first serve.
To top it all off, Vinyl Loop offers its members free shipping on everything that they buy. And they also like to throw in little goodies into the package as well, like stickers, autographs, and posters to make it worth your while.
Okay, so now I want to move onto physical and chain stores, because like I said before, not everybody has a vinyl record store in their local town or neighborhood. And some people might not want to buy records online. And so if you can’t do either one, you probably have to go to a chain store.
- Buying Vinyl Records Offline
So the first one that tops my list is Urban Outfitters. And I know that’s a little bit of a hot button topic for some people, but the fact remains, if you’re interested in clothes, and you’re already at the store, why not shop for some vinyl?
What’s…what’s the problem?
Personally, I’m all for anything that gets young people interested in an old technology, and so if Urban Outfitters is the vehicle you need to get into vinyl records, I say go for it.
Urban Outfitters even offers exclusives that can only be bought on their website, like colored vinyl for brand new releases, or old records that are long out of print that have recently gotten re-issued.
In my opinion, if you really don’t have too many physical stores that you can buy vinyl records in your local area, this is a good option.
Barnes and Noble
So the next one on my list is Barnes and Noble. And Barnes and Noble actually expanded their vinyl section recently.
At this point, you can walk into almost any Barnes and Noble and see brand new albums released on vinyl.
Your selection of vinyl is definitely going to be a little limited at Barnes and Noble, but if you’re already looking for mainstream music from modern day artists, it’s probably one of the better places you can go if you want to get your vinyl records at a physical store.
Now the last one on my list is Newbury Comics. And despite the name, Newbury Comics actually sells a lot of music.
Now Newbury Comics is a chain of stores that can be found in New England, and they sell everything from comic books to music to clothes and everything in between.
Newbury Comics sells brand new records and used records, so at any given moment while you’re crate digging, you can look at a brand new album for $24.99 sitting next to one that’s $0.99.
Some of the stores even allow you to test out the albums before you buy them. So if you’re worried that it’s not going to sound quite as great as when you get it home, you can throw it on a turntable there, plug in some headphones and test the album out to see if it meets your expectations.
So that’s all that I have for you guys today. I hope you enjoyed this video. Hopefully, you found a couple ideas for new ways you can get vinyl records. Even if you’ve heard of most of these before.
I’d love it if you could hit the “like” button down below because when you do that, it helps other people who love vinyl and love music like we do find this video on YouTube. So I’d be really appreciative if you could do that.
And also, don’t forget to Subscribe to this channel because here on Devoted to Vinyl, I’m going to be coming out with a lot more videos like this one. So if you liked this video, I’ll be doing more of these for you guys.
And don’t forget to make your voice known in the comments below this video. I actually really want to know—where do you like to buy your vinyl records? Do you like to buy them online, and if so, where do you like to go?
If you like to buy them offline, where do you like to purchase them from and why?
Make sure you sound off in the comment section below. Trust me, I’m going to be responding to as many people as I can.
And I will see you in the next video.
I am in focus right? Wouldn’t that be messed up if I wasn’t?
“If you’re somebody that’s always looking to save a dollar or two, Amazon also does have”—
“Also does have?” That’s a shame.
Oh, you gotta get that first screw up outta the way, don’t ya?
Take number 85.
When will we be done with this video?
That’s a damn embarrassment.
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