How to Buy Vinyl Records

How to Buy Vinyl Records

Music is a way to connect with the past, the present, and can sometimes offer insight into what will be popular in the future. Vinyl records offer a classic, authentic way to listen to music, but they are not always easy to come by. Fortunately, there are ways you can make your search easier and ensure that you get exactly what you want. Buying vinyl records doesn't have to be difficult or expensive. If you’re thinking about getting into collecting vinyl but don't know where to start, this post is for you. We've put together this guide to help explain how to buy vinyl records.

Know What You Want Before You Start Shopping

Researching the artists and albums that interest you is a great place to start. Check out their track lists, read the lyrics, and look at the cover art-these things can help inform your decision when buying vinyl records. Once you've done this research, listen to some samples from different labels or pressings of albums to determine which version sounds best for your needs.

Choose Your Format

The next thing you need to do is decide what format you'd like your vinyl record to be. There are two main options: a standard LP record, which plays at 33 1/3 RPM, or an EP (extended play), which features four songs on one side of the record and has a different track order than its full-length counterpart.

EPs are usually found as 7-inch or 10-inch discs that are slightly smaller than LPs, but they can also come in 12-inch formats similar to those used by full-length albums-the only difference being that EP tracks are shorter than their counterparts on full-length albums due to each side having fewer grooves per inch (GPI).

If you're unsure whether you want an LP or an EP, consider how many songs you want to be included on each side of the vinyl record. If there are fewer than six tracks total, it'll work better as an extended play. If there are more than six tracks, consider getting yourself some extra space (and time) by buying something longer instead! Another option is to create your own vinyl record. Freestyle Vinyl makes this possible, allowing you to mix and match songs from different artists and put the ideal number of songs on your record.  

Look For a Record Store With Knowledgeable Staff

Your best bet for finding what you want is a record store with knowledgeable staff. Even if they don't have the exact album, they can tell you where it may be available and even order it if necessary. Equally important is that they’ll probably be able to advise you on the proper care protocols for vinyl records so that once you get yours, you’ll know how to keep it in tip top condition for years to come. 

Learn How to Spot a Fake Record

It is essential to know how to spot authentic vinyl records vs. fakes. While there is nothing wrong with a DIY vinyl or even a custom record that you make yourself, this won’t serve you if you’re looking for a real collectible. Many people sell counterfeit copies of their favorite albums on eBay, Amazon, and other marketplaces. Here are some tips for identifying authentic copies:

  • Look at the back jacket and analyze it carefully.  
  • Check out the record number. This can be found in many places depending on when your copy was made.
  • Look at the barcode (if applicable). If you can't find one anywhere on either side of your album cover or insert sheet inside of your record jacket, then either: A) You're looking at fake artwork; B) You're holding an early version that didn't come with barcodes yet.

It’s not too challenging to learn how to buy vinyl records, especially when you’re making them yourself. Interested in putting your own playlist creation on vinyl? Freestyle Vinyl can help. Shop for custom vinyl records and make your own today!