Vinyl Record Sales Growth
Vinyl records are getting something of a revival in popularity, with sales the highest they’ve been in 25 years. Album sales suggest a return of interest in owning physical media, especially vinyl records. According to Nielsen, vinyl sales have been steadily on the rise over the past 10 years, ballooning from 900,000 units sold in 2005 to nearly 12 million in 2015. Discogs also reported an increase of 31% in vinyl sales from 2014 to 2015.
Vinyl sales are anticipated to continue to do well, with figures even topping digital download sales for the first time ever towards the end of 2016. It's not totally clear why vinyl has taken off again, but many suppose it’s related to the recent wave of deaths in the music world (think David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Prince, etc), increased availability (even some supermarkets are now stocking vinyl), and events like Record Store Day.
How To Grade Vinyl Records
The condition of your records will greatly influence their value. No matter how rare your records are, they‘re of no value to anyone if they don't sound very good.
An accurate grading should invovle both play grading and visual grading. That is, how good does the record sound when played, and how does it look on close inspection.
For play grading, you‘ll need to listen closely to the sound of the record, preferably from start to finish. It‘s recommended that you use different systems at first to help determine which setup produces the most accurate representation of the sound. This will help you detect issues like needle wear, scratches, bubbles, bits of paper or other defects in the vinyl. Putting the record on a turntable is also a good method of discovering subtle warping or bubbling from heat damage.
For visual grading it‘s best to use a higher lumen light source a short distance away from the record itself. Halogen and direct natural sunlight work best for this. Defects that may seem trivial or invisible on lower wattage lights will become more prominent under strong lighting. Find a solution that works best for you.
Ultimately, the best teacher of grading vinyl records is experience. If you can find someone who is experienced in grading records who is willing to help or teach you, go for it. You can also find help from other sellers in the Discogs Marketplace Help Forum.
How Much Are My Vinyl Records Worth?
Once you‘ve accurately graded the condition of your record, and identified the exact version you own, you can determine the value of your records. Look at what other sellers are asking for the same version and condition of the record you want to sell. You can also find historical sales data on Discogs, which only includes completed orders (where the seller actually received payment from the buyer). Other resources for sales history are Popsike or CollectorsFrenzy, which offer sales data from eBay, but may include orders where the seller didn‘t receive payment for the order.