Collecting vinyl records is an absolute pleasure. Record shopping, or digging as I call it, is a pastime of its own. The record shops we lend our attention to are completely open to us, and it’s an entirely new frontier every visit. We are fiercely loyal to these brick-and-mortar shops, but there are sources outside of your friendly neighborhood vinyl joint that are worth checking out. These sources can play a huge role in how you dig for new vinyl and maintain your collection. Here are three sites that will take your record collecting hobby up a notch.Vinyl Me Please
This first wildly popular site is a modern-day record club that offers a little more beyond a monthly record. If you are a huge vinyl head, you probably have already heard of this one. If you haven’t heard of it, I highly suggest you jump on board.
Vinyl Me Please is a monthly record subscription service that “celebrates your birthday every month” by offering an exclusive pressing along with extra loot thrown in. Along with the monthly record, subscribers receive an album-inspired art print and a unique cocktail recipe to enjoy.
Vinyl Me Please is the best record club of its kind, and from what my friends tell me, it’s well worth it. I haven’t had the pleasure to sign up for this one yet, but I most definitely will as soon as my wallet allows. It may seem a hair steep, but keep in mind, the pressings are exclusive. Paired with a nice cocktail in your hand, you’ll thank yourself for signing up.
For a detailed explanation of what Vinyl Me Please offers, visit their site.
Brick-and-mortar record stores are great, and you really get to live the full “digging” experience to its fullest. Sometimes shops don’t offer everything you need, and more often than not, Best Buy doesn’t either. Needles, speakers, amplifiers and more; It’s time to check out my all-time favorite online retailer, Turntable Lab.
Turntable Lab is a retail store based in New York. They originated as a “DJ shop”, and over time they’ve worked up an impressive history and reputation among record collectors, DJs, and record labels.
What I love most about Turntable Lab is that they offer more beyond turntable gear. If you happen to be an audio engineer or a producer, I highly recommend checking out their inventory of production gear. If you swim through their stock, you’ll find software, MIDI controllers, DJ mixers, and more. For record collectors, they also offer just about everything you’ll ever need to maintain your collection.
In my previous post about vinyl cleaning and restoration, I stressed the importance of using reliable, affordable tools (brushes, sturdy record crates, etc.). Turntable Lab carries all of these things, and they stock several variations to fit any budget. Additionally, if you are on the market for quality Hi-Fi audio systems, look no further. Turntable Lab has a borderline overwhelming lineup of speakers and pre-amps. Last, but not least, they carry high-quality turntables from reputable brands like Pro-Ject, Audio Technica, and Denon. There is a long list of these, so I encourage you to take time to browse their inventory.
..Oh yeah, and they carry cool records you’ll probably have a hard time finding in store too.
One of the most helpful sources for record collectors is a massive database of information called Discogs. It’s a site that can tell you almost anything you want to know about any particular record pressing. This can be a pivotal tool for identifying vintage records and obscure pressings. There is also a Discogs community of record collectors lurking their forum as well. Be social!
My favorite Discogs feature allows you to create an account and keep track of the nitty-gritty of your entire collection. The site calculates the the value of your collection at all angles, plus you can really get fancy and export the data for your records, no pun intended. I’m not a Discogs expert (yet), but it has been a huge benefit for getting to know what my collection consists of. If that isn’t enough, there is an entire marketplace on Discogs to buy and sell vinyl.
There you have it! Vinyl Me Please, Turntable Lab, and Discogs are great supplements to your vinyl digging journeys. If you want to learn more about how to take your collection to the next level, check out my guides on how to digitize vinyl.