How to buy vinyl records ?

Find out how to choose a good record, how to keep it in good condition and where to buy it.

With the growing presence of streaming music through the internet, a surprising trend is happening. Indeed, vinyl records are coming back from the past with an impressive boom those last 5 years when records’ sales have been tripled according to SNEP* : we went from 988.000 to almost 1,7 million sold records. The trend is also younger as 48% of the sales are made by buyers under 30. To measure up this trend, here are advice to buy a good vinyl record and where to buy it.

How to check a record ?

First of all, to buy a record it is very important to check its condition. Vinyl records have usually been used several times before its owner put it back on sale. A cracked record cannot be used so you have to check it every time. And to do so, you have to take it out of its sleeve and to spin it to see if there is any mark, scratch or crack on both faces.

If there are a few scratches, it would result in some crackles. But if there are too many of them, it is possible that the record cannot be read. A deeper scratch would make the record jump. A scratch on a record is irreparable so avoid as much as you can to touch the microgrooves with your fingers

Finally, to be sure you are buying a well-functioning record, check also if the case and sleeve are both in good conditions. 

To take care of your record, you can use a carbon fibre brush to remove dust from it or you can use a simple dry and soft rag. Also, if you need to wash it, you have to avoid hard water. The best is yet to use 90% alcohol to make it stay clean with no marks on the grooves.

Where to buy a vinyl record ?

There are many possibilities available to find these precious records. First, you can go to antique dealer shops, to car boot sales or to secondhand shops. There are also many independent record dealers where you can get advice.

Records that can be bought in professional shops would be more expensive as they are generally taken care of and stored in better conditions than in second-hand shops for example. Also keep in mind a vinyl record is more expensive than a CD so you will have to pay around 20 euros or even more than 30 euros for particular albums.

It is better if you want to discover an artist or a song instead of going into the shop with a precise idea. Vinyl records from your favorite artist can’t be found everywhere. 

Also, you can find new records in big record shops like HMV or Barnes&Nobles or on the internet through Amazon or Ebay. The problem is that you can’t check the condition of the record sold online so do not hesitate to ask lots of questions that will give you a proper idea on the product. 

*(Source: 2016 report of the national federation for the gramophone edition (SNEP : syndicat national de l'édition phonographique))