If you’re interested in selling your vinyl records online, then you’re most likely looking for a great website or online marketplace to find a buyer. And the reality is, that’s not an easy task.
Besides the fact that there’s an endless amount of websites these days, you now also have to factor in additional things like:
- Will a website charge me to post my record collection for sale?
- Will a website take a certain percentage of money I make from the sale?
- Is a website reputable and reliable when it comes to me receiving cash or online payments?
Well, in this article, I’m going to provide you with my favorite websites for selling vinyl records online. On top of that, I’ll break down what each website brings to the table in terms of value to the seller, important things to know before selling your record collection, and we’ll even touch on understanding how you can best know how much your record collection is worth.
Without further ado, let’s begin with my first online location for selling vinyl records—eBay.
Even if you’ve never used eBay, you’ve most likely heard of it. What was once one of the most innovative and exciting websites on the Internet in the late 1990s, eBay has lost some of its luster over the past decade.
With that said, to deny eBay’s ability to reach a wide array of potential customers would be foolish. So let’s break it all down.
Grading Vinyl Records Properly
Now, the first thing I want to say here is this: make sure you describe what you’re selling accurately and take attractive photos that help the potential buyer.
Most vinyl collectors live and die by a grading system for vinyl records. Many like to use the Goldmine grading system, which looks like this:
- MINT (M)
- NEAR MINT (NM)
- VERY GOOD PLUS (VG+) or EXCELLENT (E)
- VERY GOOD (VG)
- GOOD (G)
- POOR (P) or FAIR (F)
This grading system is in place for the record itself and the album jacket. If you’re selling an album on vinyl, it’s important to take a close inspection of the record—is there dirt on the surface?
When you look at the record under bright light, do you see any scuffs or scratches?
When you play the album on the turntable, is it warped?
If all of the answers are “no,” then it’s best to describe it as Near Mint. Perhaps if the album has never been opened, you can get away with Mint.
If, on the other hand, there are a few light scratches on the surface, that might be considered Very Good Plus or Excellent. The category for Very Good or Very Good Plus is generally for relatively minor signs of wear.
As you start to notice more imperfections—and specifically, as you begin to notice that the imperfections negatively impact the sound or overall play functionality of the record, its wise to drop your grade appropriately.
Understand, however, that a grading of “Good” doesn’t mean the album is bad. It just likely means that the record has suffered significant wear and tear over the years—scratches, warps, etc—and that will be readily apparent when the stylus hits the record groove and the music starts playing.
A grading of Poor or Fair essentially means that the buyer needs to genuinely expect problems when they play the record. Be it impactful warping, damaged grooves, or records that consistently skip, this grade is relegated to records or album jackets that are in a condition that is below acceptable and, at the end of the day, cannot be salvaged.
Selling Vinyl Records on Ebay
Now that you understand how to describe your records accurately, the next thing to remember is that you should always take proper pictures of your collection. If you’re just selling one or two albums, make sure you take photos of the front and the back, along with any imperfections the jacket or record may have.
If you’re selling a large amount of records in one collection, ideally try and take group pictures of albums that allow for each album to be fully seen. Personally, if you’re selling dozens and dozens of records in one single auction, I would advise against going the lazy route and just taking one picture of your massive collection.
It of course takes more work to take multiple pictures, but remember you’re trying to sell something here. Potential buyers want to see exactly what it is that you’re selling, and they want to see the albums to confirm the condition of the record or jacket by viewing the images.
Next, make an account (or sign in if you already have one), and you’ll be prompted to pick a category for your auction. This is up to you, but you’re probably want to go with something like Music > Records, and then potentially pick a sub category within “Records” if need be (such as 45s, 78s, or whatever specific or unique records you plan to sell).
Ebay also allows you lots of space to write an accurate description of what you have to sell. Do your best to not just describe the condition of the record accurately, but also all of the albums you’re selling—including artist name or title. There’s nothing worse than going to an eBay auction where someone is selling 20 records, and they simply describe what they are selling as a “big collection of rap records” or “a mix of rock and country albums.”
Going this route doesn’t help the buyer know what they’re getting. If you’re selling twenty records, name each and every album you’re offering to the reader. Otherwise, you risk losing their interest because it seems like you’re being coy.
Tips for Selling Vinyl on Ebay
Here’s a tip for selling on eBay. If you’re selling lots of records in one particular auction, make sure you title your auction as a “lot” or a “bundle.”
These words simply let buyers know you’re selling a collection of records together. Some collectors are indeed looking to get a large influx of records at one time, but you need to be aware of how they search for what they’re seeking. No one is going to type into the eBay search box “22 vinyl records” and then click enter. No one is ever looking for just 22 vinyl records—even if you’re selling 22 vinyl records.
On the other hand, they may type something like “Motown record bundle” or “jazz records lot” in an effort to find a larger amount of Motown albums or jazz albums on vinyl.
So, if you’re selling off your collection of Motown albums, don’t just title your auction “22 Motown Vinyl Records.” Instead, cast a wider net by titling your auction something like “Lot of 22 Motown Vinyl Records” You’ll likely have a few additional characters you can add to the title, so use that space to perhaps list a couple artists that will be in the bundle, or maybe the condition of the records that you’re selling.
Cons of Selling on eBay?
So, when it comes to selling on eBay, not only do you need to make sure that you don’t violate any policies (it’s always good to read website policies or Terms of Service before you sell on a given platform), but you need to definitely be conscious of fees.
eBay and PayPal (buyers almost always use PayPal to pay for any auctions they win) can take up a decent chunk of your earnings. Ebay can charge you for seemingly everything, from listing fees to final value fees—which takes a percentage (about 10%, but it can vary) of what the item sold for. It’s important to read the eBay fees page before listing your auction.
On top of that, PayPal will take a bit of your money too. Fees can always change, but as of right now, PayPal takes about 2.9% of each transaction you make, along with an additional $0.30 USD of the amount you receive from your buyer.
So, if you sell your vinyl records for $100, it’s very possible that between eBay and Paypal, you could be paying roughly $13 to $15 of that money in fees.
It may be a small price to pay to get rid of something you no longer want or need. But if you feel 13% to 15% is too much to sacrifice, then it’s important to be aware of this before you list any auctions for sale.
Let’s now move on to Discogs.
Discogs is an incredible database when it comes to music, but they are known just as much for their extremely popular marketplace. I like to think of the Discogs marketplace as a more thorough and reliable version on eBay.
Like eBay, you can create an account on Discogs and sell your record collection online. And similar to eBay, people who buy from you can eventually leave you feedback to help inform future buyers if you’re someone that’s reliable and good to deal with—or unreliable and someone to be avoided.
So, always make sure to treat your customers right!
Selling on Discogs
Now if you’re someone that doesn’t want to write lengthy descriptions of what you’re selling, or someone that has no interest in taking photos of the records you’re putting up for sale, Discogs might be the marketplace for you. Sometimes sellers will snap photos of their records, but I’ve seen many, many sellers simply post the cover art for an album they are selling on Discogs.
Now, as a buyer on Discogs, I’ve always felt comfortable purchasing vinyl because I feel sellers take the vinyl grading system very seriously.
And if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.
Ebay, for example, is a platform for selling everything—you can buy a vinyl record on eBay just as easily as you can buy a toaster or used car. That means you’re getting a wider array of sellers, and if they are selling music, they may not be too hip to Goldmine grading system.
Sellers on Discogs, from my experience, are different. Discogs is a music website, and it’s visited by music fans. Therefore, the marketplace is going to be taken a lot more seriously by buyers and sellers alike.
Therefore, while you may not need to take a large array of photos to sell on Discogs (because you can list your records individually in your Discogs store anyway), you will definitely need to accurately describe the condition of both the record and album jacket.
One other thing that’s really nice about this website is that, even though you’re not listing 20 or 30 records in one particular sale like eBay, you can inform your readers in the description of each record sales page that you offer discounted or combined shipping. This can greatly incentivize someone to buy more albums from you in one transaction.
It’s up to you to set up how you would like to do this. Some sellers might set a flat rate of shipping if a buyer purchases 5 or more records. Other sellers might over free shipping on all orders over $15 or $20.
Be creative—it’s up to you.
Another thing you might want to consider is allowing a potential buyer the option of making you an offer instead of buying the album for the list price. This means that, if you’re selling a VG+ album by Prince, instead of saying it sells for $15, you might list it as $15 with the option for people to make you an offer (on eBay, this would be set up as a fixed price auction with the option to allow buyers to make an offer).
If someone offers you $10 for the Prince album, and you find that acceptable, you can agree and you’ve made a sale. And, if you are generous with your shipping incentives or discounts, perhaps someone will come back and buy additional vinyl records that you’re selling with the expectation that they’ll get a combined shipping discount.
A few additional things to note here. Once an offer is made by the buyer, you will have five days to accept. If you end up accepting the offer, it will be converted into an order at the price you accepted.
You can, of course, decline any offers that you don’t like.
One thing I’d like to eventually see Discogs implement is a Counter Offer feature. This would particularly be helpful for sellers selling albums that hold quite a bit of value, as one declining an offer outright seems a bit harsh or cold as opposed to a counter offer option, which would allow the window of bargain and reason to remain open for a little longer.
I think it’s important for Discogs and other sites to remember that people sometimes still have the yard sale mentality when it comes to buying and selling used goods online. And that’s not a bad thing. At a yard sale, a seller has his or her set price—and a potential buyer has a price he or she is willing to spend too. You both talk back and forth and they eventually make an offer. You talk a little bit more and you make a counteroffer. If they remain interested and all seems fair, both parties agree and a sale is made.
When there’s no counter offer option available, it can kill a potential sale before both parties can agreeably meet in the middle.
Tips for Selling on Discogs
One final thing I’d like to mention about Discogs is that, because you are selling on this particular website, buyers have the ability to do quick research on what they might buy via the Discogs database.
And so, unlike eBay where you may just provide relatively surface information about an album (i.e. the year it came out, the artist, the condition of the record), Discogs buyers want to go a little bit deeper.
So it’s always wise to be aware of things like the record label who released the album, the category number, the matrix number (numbers etched into the record between the label and final track), and whether it’s a first pressing, test pressing or re-issue.
All of this is information that’s appreciated by the buyer, and it also helps inform buyers which particular records they want to go after, as well.
One final thing on Discogs is that while listing your records for sale is free, when you actually sell an item, you will be charged with an 8% fee (minimum of $0.10 all the way to a maximum of $150).
Other Places to Sell Vinyl
There are a few additional places online where you can sell vinyl records.
One of them is of course Amazon—specifically the Amazon marketplace. I think for this to really work, however, you need to be willing to sell something that’s either competitively priced, or you need to sell something that’s otherwise sold out and hard to find.
Remember that when you’re selling on Amazon’s marketplace, not only might you be competing with Amazon itself as a selling competitor, but you also must factor shipping into the equation.
So for example, if you’re selling the soundtrack of “Stranger Things” on vinyl via Amazon, you might literally be competing with Amazon.com itself, which is also selling the same copy of “Stranger Things” and is likely offering its Amazon Prime customers 2-day shipping.
And if that wasn’t enough, you of course have to factor in fees.
On the other hand, you can go “old school” and use Craigslist.org, where you can list and sell items for free. If you wanted to go to Craigslist and sell vinyl, you’d just jump over to the For Sale section, click on cds / dvds / vhs, and begin listing your albums for sale.
In fact, out all of these platforms, Craigslist is probably the easiest in terms of getting up and selling quickly. And it also allows you keep the most amount of money from your sale.
But it ain’t all roses, folks.
First, Craigslist is city-based. Unlike eBay or Discogs, where you can list your records for sale and increase the likelihood of a sale because your listing is reaching more people, you would have to hope that someone within your region of the country (and to get very specific, someone within a handful of towns of your city) will not only see your listing, but also be interested in purchasing it.
Then, there’s the reality of…well…meeting a complete stranger.
Remember, we’re talking about vinyl here—so unless you’re just selling one or two records, someone is going to have to drive or walk or take public transportation to your home, inspect your collection, and pay you to complete the sale.
Not only will you have to take time out of your day in an attempt to complete the transaction, but you’re going to have to be a very trusting person to meet someone off the Internet after limited online interaction. And, you’re going to have to cross your fingers that they are bringing the correct amount of money cash—and zero bad intentions.
With all of that said, depending on how much vinyl you’re looking to unload, Craigslist can be a great option. It requires less work on the front end, but requires more time and trust on the back end to make the sale.
How Much Are My Vinyl Records Worth?
Now, before you sell anything online, it’s always smart to know how much your vinyl records are worth. But it’s hard to know how much something is worth without getting a sense for how much people have already paid for it in the past.
One way to solve this problem is to go to eBay and search by previously sold auctions. So, for example, if you were interested in selling Michael Jackson’s “Off the Wall” album on vinyl, you could do a search for previous auctions that sold “Off the Wall” by going to eBay and clicking Advanced Search, typing in Michael Jackson Off the Wall LP, clicking the “Sold Listings” option, and the clicking “search.”
From there, you can sort the results by “Price: highest first” to get an idea (from most to least expensive) of how much this album could be worth—or at least, how it’s valued by vinyl collectors.
The problem with this method is that eBay only shows their previously sold listings up to a certain length of time (two months). But if you want to see auctions that are older than two months, well, you’re out of luck.
To fix that problem, I recommend CollectorsFrenzy. This website was founded in 2008 and is specifically an aggregator of past vinyl record auctions.
This means that CollectorsFrenzy will collect all important information pertaining to auction sites like Ebay when it comes to vinyl record sales (including, of course, the price the album sold at).
Let’s continue the “Off the Wall” album example. If I were to go to CollectorsFrenzy and type in “Michael Jackson Off the Wall LP,” I will instantly be provided with 30+ pages worth of previously sold auctions that show not only how much each auction sold the album for, but additional data like the auction title, description, auction end date, amount of bids on the auction, and even the seller’s feedback rating (the seller’s username is omitted).
But what’s really great about this site is that, unlike eBay, where you can only look back two months, I was able to go back as far as 2008 to see previously sold auctions for “Off the Wall” on vinyl. That’s pretty incredible, and is really great for providing you a sense for when certain vinyl records may be trending up or down in terms of value.
Tips for Knowing Your Vinyl Album’s Worth
Just always make sure that you know what you’re selling. Do some research before you sell an album. Research the album using any identifying information that will be helpful—from the album cover and title to the catalog or matrix number.
You don’t want to get obsessive about it. But at the same point, you also don’t want to be sitting on an unpeeled, 2nd estate copy of The Beatles’ Yesterday & Today—and sell it for $5.
Knowledge is power, my friends.
As much as we love music and vinyl, there comes a time when most things have to be sold. Sometimes its because you need the space. Sometimes its because you really could use the money.
Often, it can be a combination of both.
Hopefully this article has better helped you determine not only how to sell your vinyl records online, but specifically where you can go to do so and how you can best be successful at it.
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