5 TOP TIPS FOR NEW VINYL COLLECTORS
Vinyl collecting can be a daunting thing to begin, and you might be scared to start as you're worried about doing things wrong. Well, fear not, because at rubyonmusic we don't want to gatekeep collecting and we want to give simple and easy advice on how you can start your collection.
And if you're wondering what kind of authority I am on this, I was a newbie collector a couple of years ago (and still am) but my father has been collecting vinyl for years, and he endorses these tips too.
PSA: None of the products or resources listed here are ads, they're just products/resources I genuinely use.
Know your worth
Contrary to popular belief, you don't actually have to be a valuation expert to start collecting vinyl. That being said, it is helpful to at least know roughly what the records you are after are worth.
Unfortunately, people will take advantage and try to sell at a higher price if they think that you don't know what you're doing. But, luckily enough it's easy to make sure you're not being completely ripped off and really is worth
It doesn't mean endless research or needing to know all the details about everything, it just means having a quick check on the internet or flick through a book to see roughly what you're aiming for and what other places are selling the record for.
Some really great resources for vinyl valuation:
If you want a copy of some of the old greats, there's a good chance you may be able to find them second-hand.
There's no point buying newer copies of older albums, especially if you just want them to play on repeat anyway, even though it might be tempting.
Not only is there just something nice about having an original pressing from the year it was released rather than a brand new one, but it's also (usually) cheaper. Sure, they might be a little rough around the edges or have a little note on them from a previous owner, but that's the charm of it!
Examples of places to buy vinyl second hand include:
Vinyl record fairs
If you want the vinyl for show, sure, get a new one but if you want to use and play it, older is just as good.
Depop (a second-hand site known for clothing but people sell vinyl too)
Everyone always says that when buying vinyl you should support your local record store, and everyone says it, because it really is the best option. Record stores, much like any other retail store, need our help at the moment, and the best way to do that is...you guessed it, buy records from them.
However, there is also something in it for you if you support local. Often, with new releases, local stores will have limited edition, signed, or exclusive event tickets to go with the purchase. If you're a coloured vinyl obsessive like I am, then indies are absolutely the way to go.
I live on the south coast of England, and my personal favourite places to buy from (with delivery at the moment) are resident records in Brighton and Banquet Records in London. However, there are a lot of smaller shops closer to me that I look forward to visiting again soon too. You shop at what's local to you.
Also, Record Store Day is coming up on 12 June 2021 which is a great opportunity to explore your local store (if they're partaking) and see what they have in. Plus, it's a great way to find limited edition vinyl that you'll kill yourself for missing out on at a later date. To this day, I still think about the RSD 2018 version of 1989 by Taylor Swift...
Best resources to help you support your local record shop:
VinylHub (powered by Discogs) has a database of a huge amount of record stores, no matter where you are in the world.
Keep them well
This might sound like a very simple one, but it's the most important thing of all: make sure you take care of the vinyl once you have it. A basic place to store the records and a basic cleaning kit are pretty much a must.
For storage, doesn't have to be a huge space at all, it could just be like a bookshelf or there are plenty of vinyl storage cases online for not much more than a new vinyl itself. Vinyl are best kept vertically to prevent any warping or damage, so wherever you do decide to store them, upright is the best way.
Then with cleaning, you can get some super cheap kits pretty easily either from your local record store on Amazon. You might see a lot of stuff about how high-tech and crazy vinyl record cleaning needs to be, but if you're just an amateur collector, then don't need to go wild, just a little wipe before a play or every now and again can do the job.
Super detailed advice on keeping records can be found on this post on Discogs
I couldn't find my exact cleaning kit but this Hama record cleaning kit (HMV) is pretty close if you got some cloth to go with it too.
Buy vinyl you like
This one is arguably the most important one of them all: buy music that you want. If you want all the classics, get them! If you just want every limited edition Britney Spears vinyl that's out in the world right now, then you go get em. There's no point spending money on things you don't like or aren't interesting.
For example, my most recent purchase was a Stranger Things soundtrack. Is it collectible? No. Will it be worth much in a couple of years? Definitely not. Did I love the soundtrack and was the vinyl neon pink? Yes, so I bought it. It's as simple as that.
This one took me a good while to understand, and if I had understood it earlier, I would have had that damn 2018 RSD Taylor Swift 1989 vinyl. It's a bit of a sore subject.
So there it is, rubyonmusic's top tips for starting a vinyl collection. If you're interested in my own vinyl collection, you can often find me talking about it on my Instagram: @rubyonmusic_ and I've (hopefully) got some exciting things coming soon to help showcase more of my collection.
Good luck collecting!