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How to Start a Record Collection 🎶

Written by: Carlyn Warren and Sarah Beth Perry

Starting a record collection can be a fun and rewarding hobby for music fans. Not only do vinyl records offer a unique listening experience, but they also provide a tangible connection to your favorite artists and albums. Keep reading to hear some tips on how to start your very own record collection! 😍

The History of Vinyl Records

Vinyl records, also known as phonograph records, have been around since the late 1800s. The first vinyl records were made of a material called shellac, which was brittle and easily damaged. However, in the 1950s, vinyl records made of a more durable material called polyvinyl chloride (PVC) became popular. These records produced a higher-quality sound than shellac records and were more resistant to damage. 🔊

In the 1960s and 70s, vinyl records were the most popular format for music, and many classic albums were released on vinyl. However, the introduction of cassette tapes and later CDs in the 1980s led to a decline in the popularity of vinyl records. In the 21st century, vinyl records experienced a resurgence in popularity, as many music fans appreciated the warm, analog sound of vinyl and the tangible experience of holding a record in their hands. Today, vinyl records are once again a popular format for music, and in 2022 it was popular for most artists to release a special edition album on a gorgeous colored vinyl record. 📻

Starting Your Record Collection

First, it's important to decide what kind of records you want to collect. Do you want to focus on a particular genre of music, or do you want to have a diverse collection? Are you more interested in classic albums, or are you looking for the latest releases? Once you know what type of collection you want to create, you can start looking for records! 🔍

Where Can You Buy Vinyl Records?

One option is to buy records from a record store. Many cities have independent record stores that offer a wide selection of records or some smaller stores might specialize in a particular music genre. These stores can be great places to find rare or hard-to-find records and get advice from knowledgeable staff. 📍

Since vinyl records have gained more popularity recently, easily accessible stores like Target and Walmart are even carrying vinyl records in-store and online! Many artists like to collaborate with Target and Walmart to offer exclusive pressings or colors. A few examples include Walmart's exclusive orange pressing of Lizzo's Special and Target's splatter paint version of Harry Styles’ Fine Line. 🌈

Another option is to buy records online from sites like Discogs or eBay. These sites offer a wide selection of records and often allow you to search for specific albums or artists. You can also often find records on artists’ websites. Check out their online store for their latest release on vinyl; they might even have an exclusive color available online! 💻

How Do I Take Care Of My Record Collection?

Once you start accumulating records, taking good care of them is very important! Records should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight and heat sources. They should also be kept away from moisture, as this can cause them to warp and no longer play. When you're not listening to a record, it's best to keep it in its sleeve to protect it from dust and scratches. ✍️

Sometimes, the slightest thing can make all the difference in how your vinyl sounds. It is important to keep your record player and speakers on a flat surface. This is to prevent the needle from being tilted and possibly scratching your record and causing it to skip when it plays. This also prevents any issues within the player as it spins. Check your needles often, as they can become worn over time. Most record player manufacturers recommend changing it every 800-1,000 hours of playing time. You can find replacement parts like needles easily online, or you can take your player to a local shop to get changed. 🕞

Displaying Your Record Collection

There are many creative and interesting ways to display your record collection. One option is to use a record storage unit, which allows you to organize and display your records in a visually appealing way. You can also use a record display shelf, which allows you to show off your favorite records while keeping them safe from dust and damage. To find a cool record display and support small businesses, check out Etsy! ✨

Another option is to create a DIY record display. For example, you could hang records on the wall using clips or string, creating a unique and eye-catching display. You could also use a ladder or other piece of furniture to create a vertical display of your records. There are plenty of ideas on Pinterest to get you started. 👩‍🎨

Lastly, you can display your records by incorporating them into your home decor. For example, you could use a record as a serving tray for snacks or drinks or use a record as a base for a lamp or other piece of home decor. You could also use records as coasters or trivets to protect your furniture from heat and moisture. Be sure to search TikTok for all of the record home decor ideas! 🏠

Building Your Record Collection

To build a well-rounded record collection, it's important to diversify your purchases. In addition to your favorite albums, try picking up records from lesser-known artists or from different genres that you're not as familiar with. This will help you discover new music and add depth to your collection. If you don’t like an album, no worries! There are plenty of used record stores that will buy gently used records! 🎹

Consider making a Discogs profile to get recommendations from other people who love vinyl. Discogs is not only a virtual record store where you can buy and sell records but also keep track of your own collection and add music to your want list. It’s super cool to see what your friends and other music lovers are listening to! There are also subscription services like VNYL or Vinyl Me, Please that send you records every month based on your favorite artists as well as your Spotify, Soundcloud, and Discogs. Music curators study your profile and send you records they think you’ll like. This is a cool way to discover new music and get a monthly surprise! 🎉

Starting a record collection can be a fun and rewarding hobby for music fans. It might seem like a lot of work, but the sound of your favorite songs on vinyl is unlike any other way we consume music. With a little bit of research and care, you can build a collection of records that you'll enjoy for years to come. Happy collecting! 💜

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