The Beginner DJ Blog
Where to Find and Buy Vinyl Records Locally
The Internet has spoiled us with the option to buy vinyl records online. We often forget that there are plenty of places available in the real world where vinyl is still sold and traded.
As a DJ, you’ll find yourself digging through crates at some point in your career. Once you find some of the local shops, you’ll never want to shop for your vinyl any other way.
Sometimes buying online can be very impersonal. Getting to know a local dealer has many benefits besides friendship such as being able to receive exclusive releases, discounts and the rush from digging through crates. Finding your vinyl locally will help stimulate the local market while building a network of DJs.
If you want to find vinyl records locally all you need to do is look around. Here are some of the the locations where you could find vinyl records for your next mix or collection.
Record shops are becoming increasingly hard to find due to competition from online sales. This isn’t to say that there are still plenty of these shops out there but it does mean that they may be a bit harder to find.
Local record shops are a great place to find and buy vinyl records. Not only will you be able to find much of what you’re looking for but you’ll also get to meet some very cool and knowledgeable people. Owners and clerks are more than willing to talk about music and make selections. If you buddy up with the shop you could get some great kickbacks like certain vinyl being held just for you or an extra discount off the top.
There are plenty of mainstream stores that offer vinyl (Virgin Megastore) but it’s often too impersonal and doesn’t have the same feel as digging through boxes and crates. Instead, I suggest you take a look through the phone book, ask around or do a local search online to see if your city has a record shop. These small shops are often tucked away in a little corner of the city but when you find them it’s like entering a whole new world.
Sometimes local shops aren’t able to carry certain vinyl or genres because the market has too narrow a margin to be profitable but that isn’t to say you won’t be able to find what you’re looking for. You could always ask the clerk if they’d be able to place an order for you as well.
Supporting your local vinyl shop builds a great sense of community between DJs and the shops that supply them with tunes, it’s a symbiosis relationship. Get out there and take a look around, dig deep into the crates and make some friends while you’re at it.
Craigslist is a great way to find vinyl records locally. If you don’t know, or have been living under a rock, Craigslist is a website that’s dedicated to local sales and swaps.
You can find many people around you that are selling off singles and collections. I’ve seen multiple times where a DJ is retiring and have decided to sell off their collection – at $1 a record! At times, local deals can’t be passed up.
You may also be able to find local dealers that collect and sell but don’t operate a shop. These people will buy collections with the intent of selling off the records they don’t need or want. If you jump on it fast enough you may be walking away with a really great deal and a stack of vinyl under your arm.
Whenever I drive past a yard sale in my city I always think the same thing: I wonder if they have any vinyl?
Yard sales are a great place to find vinyl but most of the time it may not be something you’d be spinning. Vinyl sold at yard sales are often oldies, rock and if you’re lucky (and it’s your thing) disco. The slim selection at yard sales is mostly due to the fact that the majority of people aren’t’ exactly out in shops looking to find electronic singles or DJing.
Every once in a blue moon you may stumble across a yard sale that is selling something you want. I don’t expect too much when stopping, mostly looking for classic albums to complete a portion of my collection. Think of yard sales as the in between when shopping locally for your vinyl, you’ll find stuff for really cheap.
Flea markets are a step up from yard sales but you may be faced with the same sort of selection depending on your area.
I like to swing by the local flea markets every couple months just to see what sort of selections I can find from local dealers. On the rare occasion I have found crates full of electronic and hip hop vinyl which I promptly snatched up for incredible prices.
The flea market people are a little strange at times but they’re always a fun character to deal with. Once you get to buddy up with a seller, they’ll easily hold vinyl for you if you ask them. Many times I’ve snagged a couple rare albums after I asked the patron to look out and hold the specific groups and bands.
With flea markets, you’ll often get merchants that buy collections from people and then break them down and price them accordingly. If the merchant is lazy, it often seems this way, they’ll slap a generic price on the records. You’ll be able to find some incredible deals if you come across these lazy merchants, they’ll sell albums that are easily worth $30 or more for $1 just to make the quick sale.
With all things aside, flea markets are just plain fun if it’s your thing. You don’t need to spend the whole day there but it gives you something to do and you get the joy of the hunt. I may sound crazy but there’s something zen about sweating while hunched over a box buried under junk looking for a great tune.
Lastly, swap meets are perhaps your second best bet in finding quality vinyl next to vinyl shops. Swap meets consist of people from all over the state, sometimes the country, coming together in a convention style format to set up to sell/swap their vinyl.
At swap meets you are able to find almost every genre of music. You always find a wide range of dealers and fellow seekers looking for a great deal.
Swap meets are also a great way to network yourself. While at at meet, you could get to know some of the fellow local DJs that you may not have heard about. You could also use the time to talk to the dealers and find out additional information about local stores and where else to find vinyl.
Some deals at swap meets are hit and miss, many times people are out to get collectible prices despite the fact that people are there to make reasonable offers. You’ll still be able to find a lot of great stuff, some old some new.
Expect to drop a lot of cash at swap meets because you’ll find a lot of stuff you want. Remember, try to moderate yourself. I know seeing so many records can be very tempting to snatch up as quickly as possible but don’t break the bank.
Where else can you find vinyl locally?
As I mentioned in the beginning of the post all you need to do is keep an eye and ear out to know what’s going down in your area. Sometimes you may find the one-off seller that just wants to get rid of a few. Other times you may be able to land a huge collection of vinyl from a retired DJ.
Pass around your phone number with local dealers and people to keep up to date on whose selling and buying. You’ll be able to find some really great vinyl if you take the time to look around locally.
About the Author - Muxx
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