Here are a few common questions about vinyl records

Links to articles with more details are provided.

1. Why buy vinyl records?

I often get asked about the appeal of collecting vinyl records. People who aren’t into yet, or are looking to get into want to know things like: Vinyl records are so expensive! Why bother collecting records when you can stream virtually anything online? If you have to collect something, aren’t CDs more practical with better sound quality? Aren’t records prone to scratches and damage?

Well some of these things are true. Vinyl records are expensive, lossless streaming definitely has better sound quality, and everything is at your fingertips, CDs are smaller and arguably more practical (although there is also a big argument against their flimsy plastic boxes that offend me on a personal level) and if you don’t care for them properly, they can definitely get damaged!

Despite all of this, 2017 marked the 12th straight year of an increase in vinyl sales, with a 9% increase over 2016. And it doesn’t show signs of slowing! So what is it about vinyl that is so appealing, what is it that drives more and more people each year to buy vinyl records? Well, this is something that fascinates me too, and I’ve decided on 4 main reasons that drive me to collect records.

  1. Listening to vinyl records is an activity.
  2. It’s all about the hunt.
  3. Something to hold.
  4. Vinyl just sounds better.

You can read a bit more detail on these ideas and add your thoughts here.

2. Best ways to store and display vinyl records

If you store your vinyl records properly, they will last several lifetimes! there is a lot of information on the perfect storage conditions for vinyl, and all the details on temperature and humidity of these conditions can seem overwhelming. But there are three main things to remember.

  1. Always store your records upright, never stack them on top of one another
  2. don’t leave them in the sun or very hot temperatures
  3. Keep your records in plastic sleeves to protect the covers

More details on vinyl storage, including how to display your vinyl, can be found here.

3. How to care for vinyl records

Obviously, once you’ve got the storage part organised, you need to know how to care for these babies. Having clean records not only helps them last longer, but will help your stylus and turn table last longer too. There are a host of cleaning products and gadgets to help you, and even some tricks on how to fix various types of damage such a minor scratches and warping. Have a look at this article for some products and advice.

4. How and where to buy records

Shopping for records can be intimidating, both in the real world and online.┬áRecords aren’t exactly cheap, so you want to know that you are going to receive what you paid for, and that it will arrive in good condition and as advertised. You also want to feel safe that you are not overpaying, or getting taken for a ride. Luckily, there are a lot of good websites and tools to help you!

Buying new records and re-releases is relatively simple. The internet makes it incredibly easy to compare prices between online stores and choose whichever one is the best deal. There are a number of stores that have an incredibly huge selection of albums. I mainly link to Amazon on this blog and will alert you when there are awesome deals, but there are thousands of others out there to peruse and compare. You can find some pretty good deals out there!

Secondhand or collectable records, on the other hand, are a bit more tricky. Sometimes you don’t always get what you think you are going to get, and it really pays off to do some detective work and digging before pulling the trigger. I’ve outlined some of these tips and tricks, some of which I had to learn the hard way, here. Hopefully you can use this to be a little more prepared than I was!

I’ve also written a post about some of my favourite record stores in Sydney here, which if you happen to find yourself in this fine city at some point, you might find useful.

5. How are vinyl records made

If you’re like me, the thought of how music is made from those little grooves pressed into wax is absolutely fascinating. This technology has been around for over 100 years and the actual process hasn’t even changed that much. I’ve done some research on how vinyl records work, and how they are made, which you can read about here.