Whether you’re a casual vinyl buyer, or a serious record collector, the need to unload some unwanted wax arises every once in a while. Sure, there are profitable online selling options, like Discogs and eBay, but that requires some tedious vinyl-grading wisdom, and the time it takes to ship records at the often-crowded post office. Hauling in a box to local record shops is often the easiest option, plus you leave with a few bucks in your pocket. Of course, not all vinyl is valuable, so learning the ropes before you head out is a good idea.
Vinyl experts Heather Frarey (owner of The Record Lounge in REO Town) and Jon Howard (manager of Flat, Black & Circular in downtown East Lansing), offered up some friendly advice to consider before you lug those heavy crates of LPs over to their respective stores. Here’s what they had to say.
What’s some advice you’d give to a person selling used records for the first time?
FBC: First timers might want to come in and get a tour. Online prices can be unrealistic, and they can see how we price and the condition we carry.”
Record Lounge: “I’d say make sure there are records in the cover as well as the right record. Also, like I said before: condition is everything.”
What are the best days and times to bring in vinyl for you to sort through?
FBC: “Usually weekdays for big loads of records. Smaller anytime.”
Record Lounge: “Usually weekdays are best. Tuesday or Wednesday is best as the weekends are really busy.”
Should people call first?
FBC: “Yes, a call would be appreciated. “
Record Lounge: “Yes, if they have a quite large amount. For anything more than two small crates, I’d have them call first.”
What are the best genres to bring in to sell?
FBC: “Classic rock, jazz, funk, metal, hip-hop and reggae are good sellers.”
Record Lounge: “Classic rock, metal, punk, soul, jazz, blues, indie and alt are the ones that typically sell.
What genres do you typically NOT buy?
FBC: “Easy listening, old showtunes and most pre-1965 music.”
Record Lounge: “For things like polka and instrumentals from way back, I’d say don’t bother. They do not sell. Usually, what we don’t buy, are the typical things like Liberace, Andy Williams, Herb Albert and all that. We don’t do much country, and no 45s or 78s anymore because they usually end up sitting.”
How important is the condition of the albums and sleeves?
FBC: “Covers and condition are very important. We still get people bringing in moldy albums, empty covers, and all that. Please give them a basic look over.”
Record Lounge: “Condition is key in vinyl. If the cover is all ripped up and moldy, don’t bother. Same with the vinyl: if it’s got a lot of scuffs and so forth, no one will really want it.
What amount of vinyl is too much to bring in? Will you make house calls to look at bigger collections?
FBC: “There is no limit if you can leave them with us. If you have over 300 or so, we would make a house call.”
Record Lounge: “Too much would maybe be like 300 on up. Anything more than that I can always come and take a look.”
Do customers have to wait while you look at their records?
FBC: “They can wait or they can drop off and wait for a call.”
Record Lounge: “They can or they can drop off and come back later, or even the next day.”
Is both cash and store credit offered?
FBC: “Yes, usually the same, but we might round up in trade.”
Record Lounge: “Yes, indeed. Both.”
Your store buys vinyl — what other used goods do you purchase from customers?
FBC: “CDs, cassettes, stereos and music books. Occasionally posters and magazines.”
Record Lounge: I have an electronics guy and for things like that (stereo equipment, etc.). I’ll give them his number.”
Flat, Black & Circular (FBC)
541 E. Grand River Rd, East Lansing
Phone: (517) 351-0838
The Record Lounge
1027 S. Washington Ave., Lansing
Phone: (517) 862-1976
Need another option?
Replay Entertainment Exchange, 536 E. Grand River Ave., Lansing, is reopening soon in Old Town Lansing and also buys/sells used vinyl.