SO YOU WANNA BUY SOME VINYL?
As an avid vinyl collector and enthusiast, I get asked a lot by my friends and co-workers: how do you start a record collection? Although it may be simple to just buy a record player and a record, there are a lot of complications that can go with it. Which is the right player? How do you pick certain records to buy? Where are the best places to buy them? And truthfully, it's an investment. So here I am to give you 5 quick tips on how to start a record collection and spend your money on nothing else!
1. Find a record player
I hear from a lot of older generations "oh wow, vinyl's really coming back now, huh?" Yup. In fact, vinyl sales in 2015 were worth more than Youtube and Spotify streaming. That's nuts! Clearly what's old is new again. Now that you want to start a record collection, the first place to start is finding a record player. A lot of music stores, as well as your local hipster Urban Outfitters will sell a really popular brand called Crosley. You may have seen these aesthetically pleasing players on your Instagram feed, but be warned, these are probably not the best players for your wax. Although it'll do the trick and play the record from start to finish, it's structure is very cheap, and has even been known to warp the record. But if you're looking for something simple to start you off, it's your best bet. However, over time, it's best to upgrade to something a bit better that'll not only preserve the records, but will provide a better sound and overall playing enjoyment. My pick is the Audiotechnica!
2. Picking that first record
Now that you have your record player, it's time to find that first record to perfectly place it on. My biggest recommendation is to find a record that you absolutely love. A desert island record, if you will. Your first record should be one that you can listen to from start to finish without wanting to get up and move the needle (it should probably be a max one song that you can skip). Pick a record that has a lot of emotional attachment to you, whether it holds a bit of nostalgia, or it got you out of a tough time in your life. It makes owning that album on vinyl that much more special. My desert island records include Taylor Swift's Red, Joni Mitchell's Blue, and Green Day's American Idiot (that was unintentional that each one of those 3 included a different colour, I promise).
3. Where to buy a record
You should buy vinyl wherever your music is sold, but I strongly encourage you to buy your record from a local/independent store. Not only do you end up avoiding the retail boss man, but you're supporting a local business. Nine times out of ten the employees there will talk music with you, and you can discover new albums to pick up on vinyl.
4. How to store and take care of your record
This is the most important part, because storing records incorrectly can result in damaging them, and after dropping $15-30 on a record, that's the last thing you want to do. Try to store your records in a crate or on a shelf that has them sitting in an upright position. You don't want your records lying flat because it can damage the record. Keep your vinyl out of direct sunlight so they don't melt (I really avoid thinking of that- could you imagine? Melted vinyl? HARD PASS!) Buy some record cleaning brushes to clean the needle with for when it gets dusty, and a separate brush to clean the actual record with. Let the record spin, while you clean it, and move the brush in a circular position towards you.
5. PLAY AWAY!
Okay, I lied. THIS is the most important part! Pop that record on the belt, drop the needle down, and let it play! You have a record! Look at you go! Now start your search for your next purchase, and then watch your collection build. Your bank account might hate you, but your amazing music taste will remain in tact.