How To: Go Record Shopping

Going record shopping never gets old. It is always an exciting experience for both newbies and seasoned vinyl collectors. However, with any type of shopping, it can get chaotic without a plan. Here are some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way…

#1 Have an end goal in mind

When I first started collecting vinyl, I bought a lot of records (new and vintage) without much of a plan for my collection. It’s good to have a goal for what you are growing your record collection toward. Money and finances must be taken into account, as some goals are pricier than others. For example, just buying album art you fancy from the $1 bin is a lot less of a financial commitment than searching for the complete catalog of Abba in “mint condish”. If that’s your jam, go for it!

Also, figure out if it is important to you that you buy vintage copies or new/reissued albums. Some people don’t mind a Beatles digitally remastered album pressed onto an analog format, but others are purists who only listen vintage vinyl and modern artists who record analogue onto vinyl. If it is sound quality you want, go analog all the way. (Tell us what you think, take our poll below!)

#2 Have a routine

DSC_0413 copy

Whenever you go record shopping, it’s good to have a ritual of sorts. That way you can go in and out quickly. This helps when you need to hit three or four stores before they close at 7pm (when you just got off at 5). For example, a good practice is to first go through “New Arrivals” then have a few artists whom you always check for. Sometimes there are some gems in the $1 bin, but beware those records may be scratched and the jackets usually leave much to be desired.

#3 Know when to walk away

When choosing vinyl, it’s good to know what’s most important to you: condition, issue, sealed/opened, or price. Knowing the answer to what’s most important to you for the items in your collection will help you know when to walk away.

If you are looking for a particularly rare album, be sure to check Ebay to get to know what the price range will be. A lot of times, independent record stores will have them for cheaper AND you don’t have to pay shipping! And sometimes it may be cheaper online. it’s a good idea to check out

#4 Know what you have and want

If you read our past post, and you’ve already cataloged your collection, then you can check your current inventory before you dig in the crates, just in case you forget what you already own. You will also need to have a list (mental or digital or physical) of what albums you would like to own before dropping a ton of cash on a record haul. These lessons have helped me have a lot less buyer’s remorse because I can stop myself from buying an album that I’ll regret later.

In other news, anyone want to buy a record shop?

Happy Record Shopping!