While everyone thought Steve Jobs would all but kill the recording industry when he invented iTunes and the iPod, it turns out that’s not true. Sure, CDs and vinyl records aren’t commonplace anymore (when was the last time you listened to a CD that wasn’t in your car or saw a vinyl record that wasn’t used for decor?). But there’s a place in the hearts of collectors, purists, and hands-on enthusiasts. If you haven’t heard, old is now new again.
If you’re aching for a retro record such as the disco from the 70s, original country, golden oldies, or some blue note jazz, here are the best places to buy CDs and vinyl online.
Short for discography (as defined by Oxford, “a descriptive catalog of musical recordings, particularly those of a particular performer or composer) Discogs is a crowdsourced database and international marketplace. It’s user-generated with 602k community contributors since it began in 2000. Each day the website continues to grow, topping over 15 million musical releases and a whopping 8 million artists, and 1.7 million labels cataloged in its database. Talk about a masterful music marketplace!
The site connects people, those looking to sell and those eager to buy. The “Marketplace” tab categorizes it by format, genre, styles, and buy or sell. They have Groups, in multiple languages, with specific names like “Pop or Contemporary R&B Dance Track. The Late 80s or Early 90s,” and “80s Boogie Funk,” which can be sorted by recent posts, started, a browse section, and overview. There’s also a convenient blog that covers numerous topics. What’s more, there’s a “Record Shop” tab that allows you to discover new shops and contribute to the database. All of this enables sellers to consistently update their inventory and vinyl enthusiasts to purchase exactly what they’re looking for. The site’s statistics say it all. In 2021, they sold 3.8 million CDs, 286k cassette tapes (I bet you forgot about those), and 13.1 million vinyls. Here is more information about vinyl records from Robert Halvari's Vinyl Record Community.
Dusty Groove started its online store in 1996 as a side hobby but became so popular within months that it turned into a full-time operation. Just over a decade later, in 2007, the website started its very own record label, and in 2010 Rolling Stone named it the #3 Record Store in America, followed suit by other big title magazines and newspapers.
Each day, Dusty Groove adds hundreds of new titles to its database which is easy to search and identify by the tab on the site. You can search for inventory such as blue note jazz or find products such as Out Sound, New Age, Japanese, 78 RPM, and even the ol’ Dusty Groove Label itself. They even sell miscellaneous items of books, magazines, DVDs, videos, bags, turntables, supplies, clothing, bulk vinyl records, and, of course, coffee. There are used items (CDs, LPs, 12-inch, 7-inch) and special offers. Oh, and if you’re in the Chicago area you can visit the physical location as well.
It may come as a shock to some, but Amazon has a CD and Vinyl section and it comes with many options. Broadway and vocalists, Christian and gospel, folk, international music, special interest, you name it. Be sure to be aware of the sponsored results and also keep an eye out for Best Sellers, if you’re looking to diversify your collection.
Amoeba Music has been welcoming in-person shoppers to its brick-and-mortar stores in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Hollywood since 1990. Their chosen locations should say a lot about their independent music following (they’re even a live music venue, double win). Online, they keep an inventory of multiple genres— rockabilly, Celtic, underground rock, electronica, new and classic jazz, roots music, and experimental (and many, many more). Under the music tab you can find subcategories of New CDs, CD and Vinyl, New Releases, Music We Like, Labels, and Top Sellers. They are considered discerning discography experts.
Vinyl Me Please (VMP) has a website that’s upbeat and updated, which makes it easy to explore. They have an Anthology tab, along with Records of the Month, and even an exclusive monthly delivery club.
Presto Music is based out of the United Kingdom and is the country’s leading e-commerce site for jazz and classical music recordings. It offers a selection of classical, jazz, sheet music, books, and instruments. The site proves that online CD and vinyl music sales are far from dead. They have over 160,000 classical and 70,000 jazz recordings. Plus, over 850,000 sheet music titles with larger than 60,000 music books, and, taking it one step further, 40,000 instruments are available to browse and purchase (to take your music from audible to hands-on). They also ship to over 200 countries across the globe.
The next time you’re in search of a CD and vinyl music store and can’t find one don’t worry. Just open your laptop, or go on your phone, and explore any of these websites. From blue note jazz to underground, and everything in between, there’s a CD or vinyl record out there just waiting for you.