I am an information junkie, so when I become obsessed on a topic or hobby, I sweep through the internet, diving into a deep underground world to find what I need to satisfy my craving. It becomes a black hole, because one thing leads to another as I scour the internet and socials, getting deeper into the virtual world to find exactly what’s relevant to me and my specific taste. Collecting vinyl has become a new obsession of mine. The warm sound which amplifies though the speakers as the needle touches the record is something you cannot get through anything digital. There is a charm to that less than perfect analogue sound, which makes you feel closer to the music and becomes more of an experience as you listen to the entire album. So, looking for the best online record store? Here are my top 5!
[ 1 ] VINYL ME, PLEASE
Vinyl Me, Please is my number one pick and favorite online members-only club. What I like most about this company is their ability to bridge the gap between older classic records with modern day music that is focused on curating quality music. VMP is not just selling a product to it’s members; they have a philosophy that recognizes the album as an art form, which is essential in providing a genuine connection with the music for an engaging experience. This is also the reason why I am a current member.
Their vision is focused on quality over quantity with an impressive catalog of exclusive limited edition vinyls ranging from Weezer, The Avalanches, Fugees to other more obscure bands such as rock n’ rollers Wells Fargo, who have lead cultural movements in their community through their music. I personally look forward to the ‘Record Of The Month’ that is carefully curated for VMP members, providing an exclusive custom pressing that is packaged with an album-inspired art print and cocktail recipe, starting at just $23 per month. For limited edition records the price point is extremely reasonable, at roughly $25 on average. Weezer’s Pinkerton was a recent ‘Record Of The Month’ selection featuring an art print by Fuco Ueda and a cocktail recipe as shown below.
Pinkerton + Sake Martini (VMP Cocktail Pairing Recipe)
3 ounces Sake
Fresh juice from 1/4 of a grapefruit
2 teaspoons ginger paste
1 teaspoon sugar
// TURNTABLE LAB
While most conventional brick and mortar record stores are virtually non-existent these days, Turntable Lab (TTL) has managed to thrive for over 12 years and throughout the changing times, staying true to their roots as a “DJ Shop”. Due to TL’s ingenuity and ability to adapt to the changing environment they have developed a loyal online brand with a diverse catalog of vinyl records and turntable equipment to satisfy your craving for quality music (DJ Shadow, A Tribe Called Quest, Anderson .Paak, Deftones, and many more).
I genuinely appreciate their focus on customer service – here you will find a team of experts who are genuinely knowledgeable in music and also understand the importance of having a well built turntable in order to get the best sound quality from the records you spend your hard earned money on. Obviously being a vinyl enthusiast can be expensive, but TL has done a great job selecting a catalog of products, which offer a wide range of turntables and equipment at varying price points. Even the lower end turntables are the best quality within their price category, so you are assured to walk away with a top tier product. For those just getting into the audiophile world and don’t know where to begin to put together a proper setup, TL also provides Turntable Listening Packages (#TTLSETUP) at discounted prices to start off your new obsession the right way
If you live in New York like myself, get the Lab experience firsthand at their east village location.
TURNTABLE LAB NY
84 East 10th St.
New York, NY 10003
12-8pm, 7 Days A Week
Discogs is unique to the list in the sense that it is the largest music database and marketplace, where you can buy and sell vinyl records with collectors all the across the world. Although you may pay a hefty price, you can find the most exclusive and limited edition pressings for any artist. But, you can also find regular pressings for much less than almost any online store, depending on the condition and whether or not it is used or new.
The Discogs app is very user friendly and you can easily manage your entire collection in one central place. It will also estimate the value of your entire collection which is very useful to see how much your records are worth, whether it’s for your own knowledge / status or if you are looking to sell something.
// THE SOUND OF VINYL
The Sound of Vinyl is an online vinyl store with a unique business model that leverages advanced mobile technology, which the kids these days call “texting”; sending you daily new vinyl picks tailored to your taste. I find this to be extremely convenient since text messages are the the simplest and most direct way to receive information. When you initially join it will show you albums from various different artists and genres, which will require you to click thumbs up or down, until it personalizes and curates a catalog for your profile. It is so simple, that it is brilliant. If you are looking for something specific, just shoot a text of the album or artist, and within seconds you will receive what you are looking for if it is available. I look forward to my daily texts to see what sort of present is delivered to my inbox each day.
Vnylis another members-only club for record collectors. The curation process is slightly daunting, requiring you to fill out a lengthy profile that includes your personal preferences and also links to your SoundCloud, Spotify and other streaming music services. Then you have to select a category each month such as, #danceparty or #workout which they call “#Vibes”. If your musical taste tends to be more general and are looking for a trendy fun company, this is the perfect club for you. But, if you are a more seasoned music enthusiast that is seeking something more unique, VMP is clearly your best bet. There are four different plans ranging from $22 to $35 per month, which is great for people looking for an affordable way to build their vinyl collection.
VNYL AT THE GOODLAND HOTEL
5650 Calle Real
Goletta CA, 93117