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Classical 101

Going Vinyl, Pt. 2: What Do I Do With My Records?

Earlier this week, I wrote about the resurgence of vinyl in a world where it seems everything is digital. (I do have to ask, if digital is so good, why doesn't the clock in my computer keep accurate time?) If you are one of the millions of us who still have at least a little vinyl in your house, and nothing to play it on, I have good news: vinyl has become cool again! Now, what do you do with your record collection? You're moving and don't want to haul it along, you'd like to listen, but you've become hooked on your portable player, phone, Imeem, I-Tunes, etc. Throw them out?  That seems cold. There are a number of answers, all of which require a bit of work on your part.

  1. The best thing you can do, whether you plan to convert, donate, or play your records is to catalog them. Write down what you have, note which you really want to hear, and organize it in some logical way. If a library, radio station, or other organization has to wade through hundreds of recordings hoping to find a couple of gems, it is difficult, time consuming, and probably won't happen. If you bring in a list, it is easy for someone to make recommendations.
  2. Do some online research. For 78s: http://78rpmrecord.com.For vinyl records, you can go to http://www.popsike.com/ where there is a search function which allows you to search specific recordings to see if they are valuable. If you feel you have a valuable recording worth an appraisal (this is rare), try http://auctionwally.com/. He will do an appraisal if enough information a pictures can be provided.
  3. Sometimes, the record sleeve is worth more than the recording. Discs from the 1940s and 50s seem to be particularly desirable.
  4. Transfers to CD are another possibility. There are a number of turntables that plug into a USB port, but something you can plug directly into your computer sound card is better, in my opinion. There are a number of sites which offer this type of turntable, which should come with the appropriate software to convert your vinyl to digital.
  5. Or you could just buy another turntable. No, you probably can't pick one up at WalMart, K Mart, or any other fill-in-the-blank-Mart, but they are available on-line in a variety of price ranges, most very affordable.

If you choose to donate you can call your local library for their policy. I spoke with Michael Murray who is a member of the Faculty/Staff at the Music/Dance Library at Ohio State.  Let me give you his exact words...

Hi Boyce, As regards donations of recordings (and books or scores) to the OSU Music/Dance Library, we're always grateful when people think of donating to us. I'm the person to phone or write (688-0163). As for policy, we can't take 78rpm recordings, but are glad to get CDs, DVDs, and vinyl LPs - always provided the donor will agree to our selling items we may already have or not need. Sale proceeds go to our endowment fund or to the purchase of items that we do need. Nor can we make appraisals: the IRS will not let us. But I always write a nice thank-you letter and can itemize the gift for the donor's use for tax purposes. All the best, as always, Michael Murray

So there you have it. There are many different ways to use or dispose of your recordings.  Feel free to contact me if you have questions.  

Classical 101