You can collect almost anything, from rocks to fine art. But collecting vinyl records could be particularly advantageous, especially if you enjoy listening to music in your free time. Still, what’s the point of collecting vinyl records?
The point of collecting vinyls is mostly for profit, as vinyl records can become quite valuable. Others collect them for pleasure, enjoying the lossless sound quality of vinyl and the unique listening experience they provide.
This article will explore the reasons why people collect vinyl records and discuss how you can start your vinyl collection.
Why Do People Collect Vinyl Records?
Vinyl records went out of fashion in the early 1980s as cassette tapes became more popular. But vinyl has experienced a comeback over the last few decades, with many collectors building massive vinyl record collections.
There are two primary reasons why people collect vinyl records:
Although not all vinyl records appreciate over time, some do, making them excellent investments for collectors. But some people just enjoy listening to vinyl records.
Consequently, most people collect vinyl records because:
- Vinyl records can be exceptionally valuable.
- The sound quality produced by vinyl records is often superior to MP3 files.
- The experience of listening to vinyl is unique.
A Profitable Hobby
One of the primary reasons people get into collecting vinyl records is profitability.
Although not all vinyl records become more valuable over time, many do. In fact, some of the world’s most valuable vinyl records sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Investing in newly released vinyls is one of the best ways to turn a profit from a record collection.
An artist that isn’t currently popular can experience a sudden boost in fame and notoriety, and as a result, their records can become vastly more valuable. Investing in vinyl records released by popular musicians and bands can also be profitable, but the value of these records generally increases more slowly, so earning a sizeable profit from them can take decades.
Still, profitability is only one reason to collect vinyl records, as many people collect records for the pure pleasure of listening to high-quality music.
Superior Sound Quality
Digital music, including MP3 files, is often compressed, which makes the digital files smaller and easier to pack onto a single drive. But it also reduces sound quality. However, the tracks on vinyl records aren’t compressed, and instead, they’re fully lossless.
Consequently, most vinyl records produce superior sound quality compared to CDs and digital files like MP3s.
For many, there’s something soothing about playing a vinyl record.
It might be the warm, rich sound that vinyl records produce or the ritualistic process of putting a record on. Either way, the experience of listening to vinyl differs significantly from that of listening to CDs or digital music.
Picture this: You relax on the couch, sipping tea or coffee while your favorite album plays on the record player. Your worries melt away as the music soothes your soul, filling the room with a sense of peace and comfort.
If this scene appeals to you, you might want to start collecting vinyl records.
Starting a Collection
Generally, there are two reasons to start a vinyl record collection:
- Amassing a valuable collection of records that you can sell for profit.
- Listening to your favorite albums without skipping tracks.
If either of these reasons appeals to you, now is the time to start collecting.
But the approach you’ll want to use when collecting vinyl records differs depending on your reason for collecting. So, let’s take a moment to discuss the potential advantages and drawbacks of collecting vinyl records based on both incentives—profit and pleasure.
Profitability: Pros and Cons
Private record collections vary significantly in net value depending on the number of records included in the collection and the independent value of each album.
Investing in vinyl records can be a profitable hobby, but only if you own the right albums and track price changes. Consequently, collecting vinyls isn’t the right choice for everyone, especially those looking to profit from re-selling collected records.
- Potential for profit: You might be able to sell or auction records for significantly more than you initially paid for them.
- Low-cost investments: Discerning buyers could find high-value LPs by purchasing vinyl records at garage or yard sales.
- Bigger is better: Large collections, including those featuring entire discographies, can sell for much higher prices than smaller ones.
- Storage and maintenance: A massive vinyl record collection can consume a decent amount of storage space. Keeping records in excellent condition can also be challenging, especially when maintaining hundreds or thousands of them.
- Not always profitable: Not all records become more valuable over time, so there is some financial risk in investing in new LPs and albums.
Pleasure: Pros and Cons
If you enjoy listening to music in your free time, there are fewer drawbacks to collecting vinyl records.
After all, vinyl records, such as LPs, EPs, 45’s, and singles, allow you to listen to your favorite songs and albums in high-quality, lossless stereo sound. However, starting a vinyl collection might not suit your needs if you primarily listen to music while on the go.
- Improved sound quality: While some digital media file types, like FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec), produce high-quality lossless sound, these files can be massive and consume several MBs worth of data. Vinyl records are naturally lossless and won’t fill up your hard drive.
- Zero subscription fees: Music streaming apps and services can quickly become an expensive habit. But when you buy vinyl records, you own that music for life, and no monthly or annual subscriptions are required.
- Ritualistic experience: Selecting a record, sliding it out of its sleeve, delicately placing it onto a record player, then setting the needle down is highly ritualistic and can become a comforting go-to after stressful days. You won’t get the same experience while playing digital music.
- Not portable: You can listen to cassette tapes, CDs, or MP3 files while walking around your home or traveling around town. You can’t do that with vinyl records, as they require a stable and stationary record player.
- Easy to damage: Vinyl records feature small grooves that emit sounds when exposed to a record player needle. The record is essentially unplayable if these grooves become dirty, dusty, or cracked.
- Requires storage space: While you can store hundreds of thousands of digital songs on a hard drive, vinyl records have a maximum playback of only about 25 minutes per side. So, you’ll need to set aside plenty of physical storage space when building a vinyl record collection.
If you want more points to help you decide whether collecting vinyl records is worth it, check out my article on the topic. In the article, I’ve shared many more points which should help you make a clear decision if you still have doubts: Is Collecting Vinyl Records Worth It? How to Decide
How To Begin Collecting Vinyls
If you’re interested in collecting vinyl records, either for profit or pleasure, getting started can feel overwhelming. After all, there are hundreds of thousands of records from which to choose, including new and used options.
Still, no matter why you’ve chosen to collect vinyl records, getting started in a straightforward three-step process:
- Search and shop for records online.
- Visit local music stores that have vinyl records.
- Invest in record storage solutions and protective sleeves.
Following these steps is a fantastic way to begin a record collection, so let’s delve more deeply into each one to ensure your collection starts on the right foot.
1. Search and Shop for Records Online
If you’re looking for specific albums, you’ll likely want to start your vinyl record search online. Doing so can help you find the best record deals and track down hard-to-find albums.
Some of the best online storefronts and resources for record collectors include:
- The Sound of Vinyl
You can also find vinyls on Amazon. This massive retailer primarily stocks brand-new vinyl records from popular artists, but you’ll also find a few classic albums in Amazon’s vinyl record inventory.
Of course, you can also choose to shop locally for vinyl records. Many nationwide chain retailers like Best Buy, Target, Kohl’s, and Barnes & Noble sell vinyls of all genres.
2. Visit Local Music Stores
Record stores are less common than they were in the 1950s and 1960s. But you can often find new and used vinyl records at local music stores.
The Google search engine is a wonderful resource for discovering record stores in your area.
To utilize this tool, you only need to access the Google search engine and type “record stores near me” or “record stores in [your location]” into the search field, then press enter or click the magnifying glass icon to the left of the search field.
You can also use the Google Maps app on your smartphone or tablet to find record stores in your area. Google will scour your local business listings and present a list of potential options to help you do some in-person shopping.
After that, it’s as simple as selecting the store you want to visit. If you’d like, you can also call your chosen retailer ahead of time to inquire about specific albums you’d like to buy.
3. Invest in Record Storage Solutions and Protective Sleeves
Physical media requires far more care than digital media.
If you’re determined to build an impressive vinyl record collection, it’s crucial to ensure that each record is stored properly. Stacking vinyl records atop one another is a surefire way to end up with damaged albums. Instead, you’ll want to store them upright in cases or specialized furniture.
The MODERN VINYL Record Holder from Amazon.com is a fantastic storage solution for everyday albums and those collecting records for pleasure. It can hold up to 100 vinyl records, and its angled design makes it easy for listeners to browse their collection and find the album they’re looking for.
The storage option can help protect vinyls from dust and damage, especially when paired with protective plastic sleeves.
There are two general reasons for collecting vinyl records: profit and pleasure.
Vinyl records can be valuable, especially if kept in excellent or like-new condition over a long period. So, those looking to create a collection of valuable assets that appreciate over time might decide to begin investing in vinyl records.
But vinyl records also appeal to music lovers, as the vinyl record format provides higher sound quality than digital formats like MP3. The experience of listening to a full album on a record player can also be a draw for some.