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What should you look for when buying records online?

The record gave way to the cassette tape; the cassette tape gave way to the CD; the CD gave way to the MP3. Music is always changing. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t purists, still loving music in all its forms. While cassettes and CDs generally aren’t collected and cherished, vinyl still has plenty of followers; partly due to its popularity on DJ turntables.

For the ardent record collector, the devoted DJ, and the casual vinyl enthusiast, there are copious records to be uncovered on eBay. But with something as fragile as vinyl, is it a good idea to buy used records online? While buying records online will never offer the same experience as buying them in person, it’s still possible to pick up a great deal. It all comes down to knowing what to look for.

When buying a used record, good photos are essential. It’s important to be able to see the record clearly to get a clear indication of its condition. Look first at the overall condition of the record. If it’s shiny and lustrous, then chances are it should have minimal wear. If it looks flat and greyish, then it may be much worn. Next, look for scratches and scuffs. While some scratches and scuffs may not be audible, many will be, causing track skipping. Be sure to check the edges for damage, not just the surface, and inspect for signs of heat damage and warping. Sleeve condition can also indicate how well the record was treated.