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 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:
UsenetAnother 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 rec.music.marketplace.vinyl 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 rec.music.classical.recordings, a newsgroup dedicated to reviews, recommendations and other recording-related issues.
Finally, be aware that the level of discourse on the rec.music.collecting 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 (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:
SoftwareTired of reading the small print and misleading subject lines in the rec.music.marketplace 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 PageAfter 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 LinksThis 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!