I always manage to hear about this after the fact, but this year I got lucky. You can too… Saturday, April 21 2012 is Record Store Day, celebrating independent music stores everywhere. They’re becoming harder and harder to find. The record store day website has a handy participating store finder that helps locate a vinyl store near you, but it isn’t perfect… my local favorite in Chattanooga, Chad’s Records on Vine Street, isn’t included. It also doesn’t show up on my handy vinyl finder app, The Vinyl District, which locates vinyl stores based on your location.
Don’t let the lack of a turntable stop you, either. Sony has a LX300USB turntable for $88 available online, and if you’re really strapped for cash, Ion has one (the QuickPlay)for $30. And you can always try to find a deal on eBay, but competition for a good turntable is usually pretty stiff, and they are fragile… easily damaged in shipping unless the seller is extra careful with their packing job.
And while you’re at the record store, ask if they have a copy of Goldmine’s Record Album Price Guide. I have the 6th edition, which lists most records fro late ’50’s until 2009. The prices in the price guide may seem high at first glance (most average from $10-20), but these prices are for records in near mint condition. This condition is truly rare in most record stores. Near Mint means, basically, opened and played one time, then put away. No cut-out notches, scuffs or wear marks of any kind allowed Most of the records you’ll find are VG or VG+, and some will be lower. A VG grade record lists for 25% of the NM price. (More on grading here) But once you’re in the store, you’ll find that the popular bands sell for the most money, and the common stuff is in the dollar bin… with some exceptions. I’ve always managed to find some good music there.
Some of my other favorite vinyl stores… Disk Exchange in Knoxville, and Grimey’s Records in Nashville. I’ve gotten some great stuff at each of those places, though Grimey’s and Chad’s has a much larger vinyl inventory. I haven’t managed to find a store in NYC that I could afford, though they did have some really hard-to-find titles.
UPDATE: I made a trip to Chad’s Records on the 21st and scored the following: Steeley Dan’s Cant Buy A Thrill for five bucks, Santana Abraxis for three bucks, Wings Venus and Mars for a buck, Kornog On Seven Winds for six bucks, and from the discount rack, Tannahill Weavers,, Third World, and The Call for a buck each. A whole lot of music for not much cash. It’s a little more work than the iTunes Store, but WAY more fun… and I can always resell them later if it turns out I don’t dig ’em… try THAT with a download!