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When I first got into record collecting in high school, I was overwhelmed with the amount of items you could acquire as a record collector that weren’t, well, records. While I love getting records as a gift, I’ve been gifted an album I already own by a well-intentioned gift-giver more than once. And nothing is more fun when you first start collecting than going to the record store (online or IRL) and picking out a record you’ve been waiting to add to your collection.
So, as a record collector, some of the best gifts are gifts that compliment my record collection — things I may not buy for myself over buying a record I want, but feel like a luxury to own. Here are some fun, functional and otherwise delightful gifts for someone in your life who’s just starting out their collection, or even someone with a more robust collection.
I put off getting a cleaning kit because, well, I hate cleaning and it seemed superfluous, but it really is a simple way to amp up the sound quality and enjoy your records juuuust that much more. I’m lusting after the AM Clean Sound box set because, not only does it have everything you need to clean your records (record cleaner, vinyl brush, stylus cleaner, pick-up brush and two lint free cotton cloths), its packaging is simple, clean and perfect for the more aesthetically inclined collector in your life.
To put it simply: Records are pretty. Not only do some of my favorite pieces of visual art happen to be album covers I own, seeing a familiar album hanging on someone’s wall always leads to instant conversation. I sometimes get a pang of guilt when I have to put one of my more stunning albums back on the shelf after playing it. What’s the use of owning such a gorgeous physical object if you and the folks around you can’t admire it? But then again, what’s the use in owning a record if it’s on your wall and you can’t play it? Luckily, Art Vinyl makes a record frame that hinges open with ease for quick access when you want to play the record that’s hanging on your wall and easily put it back again when you’re done.
Look, it’s not the most “exciting” gift, but as someone who tears one of these babies about once a month, it’s great to have some extra on hand, and your vinyl lover will thank you for your foresight one day. Outer record sleeves are also essential for further protecting your gems from the wear and tear of time.
Any Vinyl Me, Please subscription is an exciting gift that you keep getting every month. It obviously depends on the taste and interests of the person you’re gifting to, but might I recommend the Rap & Hip Hop subscription? In 2017, according to Nielsen Music’s year-end report, R&B/hip-hop surpassed rock to as the biggest, most-consumed music genre in the U.S., and the Rap & Hip Hop subscription’s monthly curation consistently selects a diverse range of the genre’s essentials that everyone needs in their collection. All three VMP tracks have a very special place in my heart, but in terms of total play time on my turntable, our hip-hop picks take the cake, and I bet I’m not the only one.
Let me tell you, people who own a dog and people who collect vinyl have one main thing in common: They’re absolutely obsessed. And for those who fall in both categories, like myself? This is the ultimate gift.
This adorable little vintage-suitcase style record bin is a great fit for those with a smaller-yet-growing collection, as it houses roughly 30 records. Not only is it functional, it also has that nostalgic feel that those drawn to vinyl often love, and comes in a variety of patterns and colors to best fit the tastes of your favorite new vinyl junkie.
Also well-suited for a small-yet-growing collection, this all-in-one turntable stand and record storage shelf meets all the basic setup needs you have when you first start collecting vinyl. It’s the definition of functional and aesthetically pleasing for when your proud new record collector wants to flex their expanding collection on Instagram.
As I mentioned, the most exciting part of starting out your record collection is going out and picking out a record to bring home to your collection. Whether they get to pick out one they’ve had on their list for a while or the obscure cratedigger pick recommended by their friendly neighborhood record store employee that will soon be their favorite, they’ll thank your for the treasure-hunting experience.
Amileah Sutliff is a New York-based writer, editor and creative producer and an editor of the book The Best Record Stores in the United States.
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