Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Hunt for Vinyl

This week the music post isn't about a certain band or artist but it's still music related. Lately almost every conversation I have has turned to a discussion about vinyl. Most of the time it's just me complaining that I can't find Bobby Darin records in the record shops or thrift stores and every time I am asked why I don't order them online. The main reason is I'm impatient when it comes to waiting but I really enjoy going to the record shop.

I didn't grow up with records. I grew up looking through my parent's record collection and listening to their curated music collection. I thought the records were neat, the large artful covers, the heft of the record and the ritual of putting it on the turntable and dropping the needle. I grew up with CDs and cassettes. I knew how much fun going to a music store to buy an album was and it's something I miss. It's always interesting to talk to other people about music, I've had a lot of interesting conversations in record stores.

Part of me loves digital media, I love my iPod like it was my child, but I miss that shopping experience of digging through the albums to find what you were looking for and chatting about music with the other customers and clerks. What I don't miss is carrying loads of CDs to play on my walkman whenever I wanted to go somewhere.

Record shops are a rarity now. When I was a child and in my early teenage years there were lots of places to by CDs and slowly they began disappearing. Most of the time new business don't move in and the building is abandoned.
                                                                          Some of my records.

Thankfully it's still possible to have a great record shopping experience. In New Jersey (where I'm from) there are two great places that spring to mind, the Princeton Record Exchange in Princeton, NJ (surprise) and the chain of Tunes stores.

The Princeton Record Exchange (http://www.prex.com/) has a huge selection of top quality records and I owe most of my collection to them. They have the biggest vinyl selection, to my knowledge, in the state of New Jersey. There is a huge dollar section with quality records (not junk) and harder to find albums at reasonable prices.

Tunes ( http://www.tunesonline.net/) is a chain that has 6 locations, including 1 in Maryland. Like the Princeton Record Exchange they have a dollar section and reasonably priced harder to find titles

Of course there are always thrift shops, my local Goodwill is always packed with records, but I find that some thrift shops store records in a way that makes it difficult to look through them.

A small collection of my collection. Some of them have the Princeton Record Exchange sticker on them.

So, how many of you prefer purchasing your records from a record shop instead of ordering online?


  1. Hi, Megan! I have purchased records from Princeton Record Exchange over the years. Shopping for records was one of my favorite experiences in the 1960s and it's great to know young people like you are carrying on the tradition to this day. After selling all of my records to a vinyl dealer for a fraction of their worth 25 years ago I recently rebuilt a modest collection of near mint specimens. I found them all on eBay.

    1. I haven't been to the Record Exchange for awhile and keep meaning to plan a trip to Princeton for that reason. I only go on Ebay if I can not find the album I'm looking for.
      For some reason I can never find Bobby Darin records and he is my absolute favorite so Ebay is where I get his albums.

  2. For me, I most certainly prefer hunting for records rather than buying online. Building up my collection, searching years for particular records, I've met some fantastic people, experienced some great things and picked up many other records a long the way. What I've also found is that my searching takes me to new towns, new places that I've never been to before. I wouldn't have stepped out of my comfort zone and gone to these place if it wasn't for looking for my dream LPs. The hunt for it is what excites me, and when I've finally found that special record the feeling in my opinion is much better than simply having it sent straight to your doorstep. But you must know, I am not after strictly after mint collectibles.I just want to have my little piece of the past, good condition or not. As long as it plays, I am happy!