Where to Buy Vinyl Records?
Where to Buy Vinyl Records?
There’s something special about hearing an album on new vinyl for the first time. A few decades ago, when a new album releases, you would go to your local record store, pick up a copy, bring it home, and listen to it all the way through on your turntable.
Today, people are more likely to stream a few singles than sit down with a record. Maybe one day they’ll hear the whole album sometime down the road, but not always. However, for us audiophiles who still collect vinyl records, there’s nothing else in the world like it.
The unique sonic experience of listening to an album from start to finish on vinyl is unmatched. It’s special, and there’s nothing else like it.
But finding good records can be difficult. Many modern albums are not released on vinyl, and some classics are so rare that they are nearly impossible to find collectible items.
We’re going to walk you through all of the different places you can buy vinyl records, including brand new releases, classic albums, and limited-edition vinyl records that may be hard to come by.
Vinyl Record Purchase Statistics
Although many people are streaming their music these days, the data shows that vinyl record purchases are on the rise.
According to Statista, vinyl album sales have shown consistent growth since 2006, reaching a peak in 2019 of more than 18 million sales. This was a more than 14 percent increase over sales from 2018.
In addition, vinyl sales are set to potentially surpass CD sales for the first time since the 1980s. The Recording Industry Association of America reported that vinyl record revenue was up nearly 20 percent by the end of 2019, while CD revenue declined by 12 percent.
With the way things are trending, it will likely become easier and easier to find your favorite records on vinyl ranging from indie, to hip-hop, to reggae, to classic rock. For the time being though, where should you shop for vinyl records?
Local Record Stores
One of the easiest ways to buy vinyl records is from a local record store or music store. Depending on where you live, this may or may not be an option.
Lots of record stores also have great communities of music lovers that you can get to know, go to shows with, and “talk shop” with.
If you’re looking for new releases, local shops may have a limited supply. Others will have lots of box sets to choose from.
Typically, local shops will have a large used records section, but it can be hard to find a specific album with the limited selection
A local used section can be a great place to find new music, though. It’s always fun to go pick up a $1 or $2 vinyl that you haven’t heard before. If you don’t like it, no big deal. If you do, now you have a new artist whose back catalog you can search through.
There are a few downsides to local stores, though. If you are looking for a specific album, they may not necessarily have it in-store—especially if it’s an older record. In addition, local shops often have to raise their prices when compared with larger companies.
If you’re having trouble finding a record shop near you, check out recordstores.love. They have a map of every record store across the country from Brooklyn to Los Angeles, which makes it easy to support your local business.
If you don’t have a local record store, many retailers carry a limited stock of vinyl records. Stores like Walmart, Target, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Amazon, and others all carry some albums on vinyl.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a John Coltrane album there, but if you’re looking for the latest Imagine Dragons or Ariana Grande album, you’ll likely be just fine.
The basic downside here is a lack of options. Sure, they have a few albums, but you’ll have a hard time finding anything specific like Michael Jackson or Pink Floyd unless it is immensely popular.
Although, it’s a huge step that you can walk into an average retail store and pick up a new record on vinyl. Just a few years ago, that wouldn’t have been possible.
Up until the last decade or so, the only way you could buy most vinyl records was used. You had to seek out someone who had the record you’re looking for and buy it off them.
Even with the rise of online retailers, there are still lots of small collectors you can purchase records from. Here are a few places you can look for them.
- Flea markets are a great place to look for old records. Lots of people had record collections back in the day and haven’t known what to do with them. They may not even know what they have on their hands.
If you get lucky, you can find some really great records for a steal price at local flea markets. This will require some patience and determination on your part, but if you can stick it out, you can find some incredible bargains.
If there aren’t any good flea markets in your area, thrift stores are another option. Places like Goodwill and other donation thrift stores will typically have a small selection of vintage albums. A lot of these will be in poor shape, but you can always clean them up with a little time and effort.
Most of these will be records that someone forgot they had or just decided they didn’t want anymore, but just like with flea markets, there are times when you can find some real steals here.
Craigslist is another excellent place to find large collections of old records. You won’t typically find one record for sale here, but large batches instead.
If you’re willing to make the investment, there are amazing pieces to be found this way.
You may find a collection of 50 records, or you may find 5,000. It varies, but you can always count on getting a good deal when you buy in bulk like this.
You may not come out with anything good, but sometimes, if you’re lucky, there’s a mint copy of The Beatles White Album hidden in the set. It’s a bit of a gamble, but when it pays off, it really pays off.
If you want something a little simpler, there are lots of avenues to buy from collectors online as well. Sites like eBay always have large collections up for sale. However, just like with Craigslist, it’s usually a shot in the dark in terms of which albums you actually end up with.
Especially from auction sites like eBay, you will be looking at rather large collections that date back decades. You never know what you’re going to get, but that’s part of the fun.
If you still want to support your local record stores, you can try to shop their online storefronts. Small businesses may not have this option, but lots of record stores post what they have on their website.
If you’re wanting to be a little adventurous with your vinyl purchases, there are companies that offer subscription services.
It basically works like this. You fill out a job survey to give them an idea of the kinds of music you enjoy. They then take that and curate a couple of albums to ship to your door each month. You pay the fee, but you never know exactly what records you’re going to end up with.
These can be a lot of fun to sign up for and can really help you grow your artist pool. You also get to try genres you may have never listened to before. However, if you don’t like the albums you get, there’s nothing you can do about it. That’s just the nature of the service.
Here at The Sound of Vinyl, we know that listening to music on vinyl is a sonic experience that is unlike any other musical medium. Because of that, it is our goal to provide you with the opportunity to buy the albums you love as well as try to introduce you to new music we think you might like.
We have a collection of thousands of albums you can search from across every genre you can think of. In addition, we have a number of rare, hard-to-find records that you won’t see anywhere else. These include exclusives like this colored edition of The Allman Brothers’ self-titled LP. If you’re looking for a rare vinyl record, check with us. You might be surprised to see what we have on offer.
Moreover, we have our own take on the subscription service model. Rather than require you to pay upfront for whatever we pick out for you, we send you curated text offers every single day. We ask you a few questions about your music taste, and then we text you about albums we think you’ll love.
If you want to purchase them, all you have to do is reply to the text. From there, we send the album right to your door. If you aren’t interested, no worries—we’ll check in again the next day.
You can also go to our website and find selections from our expert curators on the albums they're loving right now for free.
If you’re looking to grow your album collection, check out our collection. We think you’ll be able to find something you’ll really love.