Why Start A Vinyl Collection?
There are many reasons to start a vinyl record collection. Records turn listening to music into a full experience. In our digital world, we have become accustomed to pressing play on our phones.
Vinyl records require a bit more work, but in my opinion, offer a more fulfilling musical journey. You have to take care of records and the record player. You get to drop the needle to start the song. The album art is large and can be seen much better than on your phone screen.
- Big Album Covers and Album Art
- Special records (colored, different sizes, special editions)
- An Interactive Way To Listen To Music
- Great Sound Quality
- A Fulfilling Musical Experience
There are also specialized records that offer an aesthetic not seen in other musical mediums. Vinyl records can be clear, colored, or even have the album art printed on them.
Listening to records on vinyl can be more immersive than listening to music on other platforms. Record player are a great compliment to living rooms, dens, and any other hang out area.
How To Start A Vinyl Record Collection
What Do I Need?
Starting a vinyl record collection can be intimidating. There are millions of records to choose from, and many record players to play them.
While there is a lot to choose from, you really only need 3 things to start your collection:
- A Record Player
- A Storage Container
There are more products that can be purchased (record cleaning brushes, stylus cleaners, etc.), but these three items are enough to get you going.
Choosing your first record player can be overwhelming. There are so many to choose from. However, buying a reasonable player from a reliable company will get you started.
If you are starting a collection from scratch, look for record players and storage that fit into your budget. Record players can be very expensive. Work your way up to those better systems.
For vinyl storage, there are many options available. There are nice vinyl record bins available for a price. You can also get cardboard containers cheap (similar to cardboard comic book boxes).
I use a storage box that I found at Walmart for $5. I believe the box was intended for children’s toys, but it was a perfect size and shape for about 50 records. Keep an eye out at the store for cheap, cool-looking bins for record storage!
Where Can I Buy Records?
There are a plethora of places to buy vinyl records. Many cities have record stores. With the resurgence of vinyl, many mainstream department stores (like Target) are beginning to sell records again.
As with most products, there are also a plethora of online retailers selling records. This includes big stores like Amazon, and specialty record stores such as Ameoba Music.
For a cheaper alternative, you can head over to your local thrift store or check your garage sale listings. While the selection is limited (and most aren’t in mint condition), you can usually pick up records at very good prices. You never know what you will find at the local Goodwill or community garage sale.
- Record Stores
- Online Retailers
- Thrift Stores
- Garage Sales
There are also monthly subscription boxes available for those who want their record collection to be curated for them. For example, Vinyl Me, Please offers a great monthly record subscription service. Their boxes usually contain some of the greatest albums of all time.
Selecting Your First Record
With millions of albums to purchase, what should your first record be?
I believe your first album should be one that is special to you. It could be a copy of the first album you ever bought on CD. Maybe it is your favorite artist’s best studio album. It is all up to you, but I suggest building your collection around an album that means a lot to you.
I am a huge hip hop fan. I also love punk and hardcore. When I started my vinyl record collection, I knew that I needed two albums that would reflect my tastes in different genres.
I ultimately decided to go with Midnight Marauders by A Tribe Called Quest, and The Art of Drowning by AFI. Both of these albums I have been listening to for most of my life. They hold a special place in my heart for different reasons.
In my opinion, this was a great starting place for my collection. I used these albums as the building block to buy other classic hip hop and punk albums, such as Beastie Boys and The Sex Pistols.
While it may be great to own the album of the year, I feel that it is more important to purchase records that are meaningful to you. Many people ask me “What are the best vinyl records to collect?” The answer is simple. Collect albums that mean something.
Think In Terms Of Albums
Many of us are used to thinking of music in terms of specific bands or songs. Favorite songs are put on repeat. Playlists are made with collections of single songs.
While this is fine, vinyl records work on more of an album-by-album basis.
Buy records for albums you love as a whole. You can’t skip tracks on vinyl. If you put an album on because you only like the title track, it will probably not be the best experience.
Special Edition Albums
Not all vinyl records are made the same. There are a variety of different types of albums you can obtain. These collectible vinyl records can be nice additions to your collection.
Some records have colored vinyl. Others come as a double LP (two records). Much like CDs, there are all types of special editions and box sets to be had.
While special editions and box sets may be pricey, colored vinyl records are often more affordable. Many times these records are the same price as the standard black vinyl.
My favorite colored vinyl in my collection is a soft pink version of Ceremony’s Violence Violence. There is just something fun about having a soothing pink record that plays extremely aggressive hardcore punk.
Start Collecting Vinyl Records!
I hope you learned a lot about how to start a vinyl record collection! If you are already a collector, is there any beginner advice that I missed? Let me know on social media!