Vinyl Hunting Tips
It has happened to every collector. After months of waiting, that special edition pre-order for a sought-after new album finally goes live, but you're nowhere to be found. Life is busy, and most people don't have time to hound multiple websites at all hours, just to secure the first variant of King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard's latest LP - so you naturally find out a couple days too late, or in some cases a few hours, and are left to fend for yourself on the secondary market.
With the recent vinyl resurgence, more and more limited pressings are selling out at the blink of an eye, leaving loyal fans empty-handed. Fear not, though, there are a couple things you can do to substantially increase your chances of being the envy of all your friends. The first and most convenient way to stay informed, is to simply put your trust in the army of Redditors over at r/vinylreleases. If given a single choice, this subreddit is by far the best one-stop shop for all your new release needs. Of course, every unique pressing won't be listed, far from it, but the site does have most major pre-orders posted within hours of when they're available. Beyond Reddit, there are a few blogs (Modern Vinyl and Sly Vinyl) that specialize in news for limited and rare releases, and while they are worthwhile to expand the search, they usually have the same information as r/vinylreleases, just a bit later.
No matter how hard collectors try, it's inevitable that they will be hunting down the one that got away at some point. Luckily, there are a couple great resources for gauging what the going rate is for just about any record out there. Discogs is primarily used by enthusiasts to catalog their ever-growing stacks of vinyl. I have yet to not find a particular pressing of mine, so the site seems to be very comprehensive. In addition to being a fantastic tool for archiving one's collection, Discogs is also an open marketplace for buying and selling all things physical music media, giving statistics for lowest, median, and highest price paid for the last 10 sales. These vital numbers help determine what people are willing to pay for any given record. As great as Discogs is, it never hurts to get a second opinion, and that's where Popsike and eBay come in handy. The former is an LP pricing guide that yields past internet auction results, and the latter, well, everybody knows what the latter is.
While online shopping is becoming all too common these days, there's nothing like finding something on your want list in the wild. Crate-digging in used, dusty record bins is a time-consuming affair, one where many times you leave with nothing, but it's undeniably the most satisfying way to build a collection. Unless a specific variant is only available via an e-commerce retailer, I will always opt for supporting local brick-and-mortar stores, in Denver or wherever I may be traveling through at the time. White whales aren't supposed to be easy to catch, so don't take all the fun out of it.