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How to Get Started With Vinyl Records

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RSD special editions are usually pressed in small batches, which makes them highly attractive to collectors, and folks just interested in the music can have a tough time scoring one without planning in advance. The full list for this year is already out, and these pressings are only available at independent shops. Keep in mind, however, not every record store participates in the event. The best way to find out if your local shop will carry RSD releases is to go to recordstoreday.com and use the search engine to find participating stores. They also have a list of record stores and their current Covid protocols.

Use Discogs to Keep Track of Your Collection

Discogs is a digital hub for all things vinyl. It’s a marketplace, social media site, and encyclopedia for records and other physical media formats. The most useful thing about Discogs is that you can keep track of your collection, and its database is extremely complete, down to various pressings and releases of the same record. The site also gives you estimates on the value of your collection as it grows and as pressings become rare.

As a marketplace, your best hack is to see what record stores in your area post their inventory to Discogs … and then call them directly to purchase over the phone. If you’re local, you can avoid shipping fees and possibly even get a discount! Some places increase the price of records on Discogs to compensate for seller fees and shipping.

Use Social Media to Find Community

After you follow record stores on social media, you might find record accounts on Instagram and TikTok of collectors showing off their vinyl. This is the best way to find your virtual vinyl community. Posting your vinyl on TikTok can be the start of online friendships with other collectors, DJs, and music lovers. 

Your real-life friends and family might not get the excitement you feel when you receive a new record in the mail or land that special in-store pressing, but the online community will be ecstatic when you show it off. Instagram accounts like Addiction to Vinyl also post vinyl alerts for new records and restocks.

Major Retailers Have Joined In

This might sound odd to someone shopping for music in the 21st century, but if you go to Target, Walmart, or even Urban Outfitters, take a look at their music section. 

You’ll find a number of mainstream artists on vinyl in big-box department stores. Retailers have taken advantage of the vinyl market by releasing their own exclusive pressings of albums. These pressings usually have an alternate cover and are some sort of color variant, just to make them destination purchases. This is a great alternative if you want a special edition of a record but don’t have an independent record shop in your area.

Buy Only What You’ll Enjoy

Vinyl can become an expensive hobby. Just because it’s trendy and growing doesn’t mean that prices for gear are coming down, or that records are being pressed like they used to be. It’s easy to find yourself accumulating a lot of records that end up just collecting dust because they were a great get at the time, or you bought them thinking of their collector’s value and not their musical value. 

It’s better to start off with a small collection of albums you play over and over again than to have a large collection of vinyl you listen to once a year—or worse, forget you own altogether. In other words, take it slow. Vinyl’s not going away anytime soon.

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