Much like everything else surrounding the world of vinyl records, shopping for records online is more nuanced than you might think. From authentic secondhand records to new releases, the various online hubs each specialize in a different subset of record collection. And then, of course, in addition to the large buy-and-sell marketplaces, there are brick-and-mortar record shops throughout the country also selling online. Whichever you’re after, here are the best places for collectors to buy vinyl records online.
Touted as the largest independent music store in the world, Amoeba Music is a Hollywood staple for music lovers. If you can’t make it into their brick-and-mortar location, not to worry, they offer free shipping across the U.S. Be sure to browse their Amoeba Exclusive Colored Vinyl section, which features limited-edition records available only at Amoeba. At any given moment, Amoeba has a collection of more than 4,500 CDs and vinyl records available for sale, many of which are 45s, 78s, and LPs.
Discogs is the largest online music hub and sells directly from your favorite local record shops—it’s like the Doordash or Caviar of records. With a collection of more than 30,000,000 vinyls—18,000,000 of which are rock related, anyone can sell on Discogs; sellers “range from individuals selling a few records to brick-and-mortar stores with thousands of available items.” The Discogs Database is one of the reasons users keep coming back. It’s an entirely user-built database featuring “discographies of all artists and all labels, branching down through release versions of albums, all cross-referenced.” So, in addition to Discogs being the Doordash of records, it’s also the Wikipedia of records and the Yelp of records (database users can leave reviews on albums).
With a brick-and-mortar storefront in New York City, Turntable Lab reaches a much larger clientel by shipping across the country. A more intimate and extremely well-curated selection, TTL offers a collection of 1,000 to 2,000 records from new music to the classics and prides themselves on their “wide retrieval” sourcing methods. What stands out about this online shopping experience is the ease of it all; rather than overwhelming users with an unwieldy selection and pushing product that’s struggling to sell, TTL orchestrates a “calm and thoughtful” buying experience. Better still, for those looking to upgrade their listening system, Turntable Lab makes it easy with their “ready-to-play turntable packages,” which include a turntable and compatible speakers.
An Anderson, Indiana vinyl records shop that’s been around since 1989, they started out with a focus on hard-to-find vinyl for the serious collector. And while they still offer those meticulously sourced records, they’ve branched into selling hardware and in-print records, too. Selling 7-inch, 12-inch, 33s, and 45s, their selection runs the gamut from movie soundtracks (Call Me By Your Name, Garden State, or Cats, your choice) to a comprehensive exploration of Dire Straits albums. Much like the other independently owned brick-and-mortar stores on this list, Elusive Disc ships “with a little extra care”—each package is hand-packed in the store.
In Your Ear!
If you visit this Boston-based record shop (with a second store in Harvard Square and a third in Rhode Island), you’ll be hard-pressed to find a stretch of wall not occupied by records. It’s truly paradise for a music lover, but they offer the bulk of their selection online as well. And better still, they’ve brought their vinyl auctions online (typically conducted at their Rhode Island store) through eBay. In Your Ear! has been around since 1982 and likes to point out that their independent shop has stood the test of time better than CD-selling retailers that came and went.
Known for their expansive selection, Music Direct makes for a seamless online buying experience. Shop by label (Mobile Fidelity, Warner Bros., etc.), new vinyl, out-of-print vinyl, or of course by record size. With about 300 out-of-print records and 100 brand-new, the collection is on the smaller, more deliberate side. Music Direct is also known for selling audiophile hardware, from high-end turntables to amps, speakers, and record accessories.