Record Store Day started in 2007 as a means of holding on to and celebrating the independent record store that up until recently, seemed like a dying breed. Hosted one Saturday in April, it is one of the largest dates for vinyl enthusiasts and music fans alike.
So, you're thinking about diving into the world of vinyl and starting a collection of your own? Here's a quick guide on how to start and then grow your collection.
One: Buy A Record Player!
Duh. Obviously, right? I mean, you can start your collection without this in mind, as there are plenty of collectors that surely never owned one, but it makes about as much sense as your director's cut Blu-ray movie collection without the corresponding player. You're spending money on your records, you want to be able to enjoy them, right?
Typical, this is the first hurdle that puts people off starting a collection of their own. Low-end turntables are easy to come by and are not overwhelmingly expensive, but if you're super serious about listening to your records it's really worth investing in a good turntable/speaker setup, especially seeing as some of the inferior brands could potentially be harming your records with shoddy materials.
Do your research online and in-store, ask around for opinions and see if you can find a model that sports good quality sound and also suits your budget.
Two: Browse In-Store!
Sure it's easy enough to jump online, find exactly what you want, click 'add to cart', forget about it entirely, then six weeks later question why there's a package at your door.
What was I saying?
Anyway, you could do that, but half the fun comes from the ethos of in-store shopping and finding stuff you may not have heard before. Not to mention most practising record retailers often have access to brand new releases, bargain bins as well as rare b-side and 7-inch records that you might not know existed!
Moreover, shopping in-store enables you to enjoy the subtle physicalities of record shopping itself. Talking with like-minded people about music is a surefire way to expand your musical horizons, and there's a lot of tactile pleasure to be found in appreciating the weight of a fresh sealed record in your hands, hence the reason people collect records, to begin with.
Three: Buy, Swap and Sell!
Perhaps one of the great things about vinyl collecting is that it's somewhat of an investment. If you look in the right places you can probably sell or trade some of your old records for new ones, so even if you're apprehensive about purchasing something on vinyl, provided you can keep it in good condition it'll likely be something you can resell at a later date.
This is why Record Store Day is such an exciting day for vinyl enthusiasts. Most places will offer discounted vinyl in addition to some other rarities, much like test presses. What is a test press exactly? Before a record gets properly manufactured onto vinyl, usually a sample run is made with a plain label to ensure there are no audible flaws like any noticeable pops or skips. The rarity of these test presses make for very valuable purchases, and even more valuable investments.
You can do your research online about the whereabouts of these or keep an ear out as to when your favourite local retailer might be offering some kind of special promo. Ahem.
BONUS: Keep It Clean!
It's important to remember that while vinyl and record collecting is, technically speaking a thing of the past, its resurgence in recent years indicates that it's not just some time-worn fad, and anybody who has some old pristine records from long ago is probably laughing.
It's because of this that we stress the proper care and patience needed when it comes to enjoying your music this way. The vinyl industry is flourishing and you can get in on the action but only if you have the time, patience and good taste in music to warrant starting a collection. If you do, it's well worth the effort - opening you up to a whole new world of experiencing music.