Earth... The Vinyl Frontier

The Vinyl Tourist Visits
The Internet

"Mambo El Soudani" Greetings, Seeker! Looking for Joik Music from Sámiland? How about a Mambo Combo from Egypt? You know, between world-wide computer networking and online grocery services, there's no reason for the record collector to ever leave home again.

The Internet

The Internet is an international computer network of which the World Wide Web and eMail are the most popular components. To quote Dr. Web, "What punk was to rock, the Web is to the Internet." And who can argue with that?

In keeping with the Vinyl Tourist's goal of providing personal recommendations, here are a few Internet-based dealers and services with whom the VT has personally enjoyed doing business with:

  • Worldwide Online Record Shops
    Looking for a Croatian pressing of Rubber Soul? This site maintains a comprehensive collection of links to shops from Argentina to Trinidad & Tobago, many of which have online catalogues.

  • Music By Mail Canada
    A province by province tour. Includes eMail and online links.

  • UK Online Record Shops
    A detailed look at British resources, including eMail and online links.

  • Fun Records
    Michael Mozdzan's online shop is located in Hamburg, Germany, and offers a large selection of European LPs at very reasonable prices. Major credit cards accepted for easy international dealing.

  • Music Direct
    Located in Chicago (USA), Music Direct offers an excellent selection of new LPs and record care accessories. Major credit cards accepted and international orders are welcome.

  • GEMM
    GEMM is an open, competitive marketplace for music in which you can conveniently search and browse more than 26,000,000 new and used CD's, LP's, and memorabilia and place orders directly with thousands of retailers, collectors, and labels around the world. Awesome!

  • Kevin King's WebVinyl.Com
    Kevin supplies mainly pop and rock, treasures to trivia, at bargain prices. Send him your wantlist!

  • eBay
    On any given day, eBay, the online auction service, carries upwards of 170,000 LPs in its "Records" listings. This popular site allows you to check the current high bid for any given item, as well as view the bidding history and read feedback about buyers and sellers. In contrast, the so-called "auctions" found in Goldmine and are really "sealed bid sales" and should be advertised as such. While true auction houses allow the marketplace to set the price, some of the minimum bids on eBay have little to do with reality, so caveat emptor and bid carefully! -- These things have been known to get out of hand. Also, while most on-line record auctions are honestly run, every so often you run into someone who is fundamentally dishonest or someone who overcharges for postage in order to pad their winnings.

    eBay hint: For a complete listing, visit the eBay Search Page, enter LP in the Title Search field, hit Go!, and be prepared to scroll through over 90,000 titles. Better yet, just enter the name of your favorite artist or the album title you're looking for.

  • Tony Wilds's Hip Wax is your Exotica HQ. Features Jazz, Latin, Moog/Electronic, Pop/Vocal/Odd and other genres, too, in all formats. If you're looking for adventure, don't forget to take Tony's Vinyl Safari, including Odd Pop and The Soul Patch.


Another international computer network, running parallel to (but not actually part of) the Internet, is Usenet. This network is comprised of Newsgroups and consists of public access eMail in which people post articles to groups chartered around a common interest. [Tech Note: If your Internet Service Provider (ISP) does not supply you with a news feed, you may want to read my essay on Usenet options.] There are more than 50,000 newsgroups, including many devoted to individual artists and genres, but the major ones which relate to music collecting in general are the three groups where the goodies are bought and sold:

and the three groups where the great issues are debated:

To further explain the way things work, it's helpful to read the FAQ's for all music collecting groups and be sure to check out Susan Murray's FAQ's on how to avoid being ripped-off buying vinyl (or anything else) on the net.

Then again, dealing with someone in person in an established retail environment is no assurance of integrity. The following articles were taken from a series of postings which concern a RARE Bob Dylan Record. I've only edited the redundant parts--everything else is quoted verbatim...

And let me mention here that if your bias runs in the direction of classical music, you may wish to look into, a newsgroup dedicated to reviews, recommendations and other recording-related issues.

Finally, be aware that the level of discourse on the groups has taken a nose-dive in past few years. Spam, insults, and off-topic posts (mainly FS and WTB) have unfortunately reduced their topicality. A somewhat more focused alternative awaits below...

Mailing Lists

Mailing lists (also called LISTSERVs) are similar to Newsgroups in that articles are posted to a group which is dedicated to a common interest. They differ in that they are privately run and (sometimes) more tightly controlled. You subscribe by sending eMail to the host or owner and members communicate to the group via their eMail accounts. This means that only subscribers can read and respond and that you only need an eMail account (rather than full Internet or Usenet access) to participate. One way to locate mailing list addresses is to enter the phrase "list of mailing lists" (including the quotation marks) in a search engine (DuckDuckGo, Google, Yahoo!, etc.) and have it look for lists of lists. Another option includes visiting CataList, the official catalog of over 71,000 public LISTSERV lists which use that software.

There are at least six mailing lists which are of particular interest to record collecting and related issues:

  1. 78-L
    This is a discussion group for music and recordings of the pre-LP era and is intended to be a broad-based group covering everything from Edison's first tin-foil cylinders to early rock 'n' roll. The common element is that the recordings were made at (or near) 78 rpm.

  2. 78-C
    This is now a Yahoo Group and is open to anyone interested in buying, selling or trading 78-rpm and cylinder recordings. Commercial announcements are welcome. This list is unmoderated and is not a replacement for 78-L, but is a "daughter" group established to remove as many of the Auction Listings and For Sale posts as possible from 78-L.

  3. The Classical Music List
    To become a member, fill out the Classical Music List Subscription Form.

  4. Phonogram
    Phonogram's focus is the discussion of records and directly related issues. Recently, it split into two lists: traditional Phonogram, limited to recordings, and Equipment, limited to hardware. Both are available in both list and digest versions. As with so many things Internet, Phonogram is dominated by a clique who may or may not make you feel at home, as well as one Administrator in particular who belittles anyone who's opinions (especially in relation to classical music) differ from his own. You've been warned!

    To subscribe to Traditional Phonogram, send email to:
    Leave the subject line blank and in the message write:
       subscribe phonogram for the list version or
       subscribe phonogram-digest for the digest version.

    To subscribe to Equipment, send email to:
    Leave the subject line blank and in the message write:
       subscribe euipment for the list version or
       subscribe equipment-digest for the digest version.


Tired of reading the small print and misleading subject lines in the newsgroups? Lately, I've been using a newsgroup search tool called NewsRover with great success. You create an "interest group" (like "music wantlist"), select the newsgroups to search, enter a set of keywords or phrases to look for, and off it goes! The cost is $29.95, but it paid for itself in the first week when it located a mint copy of the MFSL Muddy Waters Folksinger for $15 (it typically sells for $45). Available from directly from NewsRover.

The Printed Page

After you tire of the computer screen, there are always the ads in Goldmine, DISCoveries, or The Record Finder to keep you preoccupied. Be sure to equip yourself with a magnifying glass and a bottle of eye drops.

Not enough choices? Then you'll have to continue with the Survey of Audiophile and Home Theater Publications.

World Wide Web Links

This Internet thing is like a mobius strip consisting of links, links, and more links which twist and turn and lead back to one another. Rather than distract you with another meg or so of URL's, I've only listed a few of the more interesting links pages found on other sites (in addition to the ones above). Don't get lost!
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