Vinyl records making a major resurgence

by Andrew Lang, Seattle Goodwill
December 2, 2016

Before MP3 files on iPods and Bluetooth capability, before CD players and audio tapes, vinyl records were the music industry’s king of sound.

For many music enthusiasts, though, whether it be collectors, DJs who want to stay true to their roots or people wanting the unique aesthetic of dropping the needle down and listening to that authentic record sound, desire for vinyl has never diminished.

Seattle Goodwill is an excellent option to find some of the most unique, coveted records available.

We regularly receive pallets of vinyls. Shopping in store gives customers a few solid options to choose from, but online at or on our eBay store is where the rarest records exist and where the best deals await.

“A lot of lots go from $30-$40 and consist of six to nine records,” Seattle Goodwill Auction Lister Bennett Tiglao said. “That is good considering most could sell for $10-$20 each, so you’re getting great deals.”

Vinyl, in fact, is making a massive resurgence. reported vinyl record sales grew by 30 percent in 2015. Just under 12 million records were sold, up from 9.19 million in 2014. The Wall Street Journal reported the number of vinyl sales are the highest recorded by SoundScan since it began tracking in 1991.

So why are music connoisseurs going back to their old ways?

The answer is two-fold. One, many digital downloads don’t offer the same pristine sound quality records do. Vinyls supply a crisp, richer quality that digital music simply does not. Secondly, there is something to be said about physically holding and using a product.

“People also just really romanticize with vinyl,” said Bennett, who used to work as DJ. “With vinyl, you can actually see the music. You can see how big and long that song is just by looking at the vinyl itself. You can’t do that with CDs and stuff. Also, with a lot of vinyls it’s a relic of the past. The record covers themselves are highly collectible.”

Tips for collectors

  • Look at the label: While trying to identify the worth of a vinyl record, one of the first steps should be checking out what label the record derives from. For example, if you’re looking at a vinyl from Blue Note Records or Capitol Records, there’s a good chance it holds some worth.
  • Small labels matter, too: On the opposite end of the spectrum, many records on indie labels are valuable, too. For instance, take Sub Pop Records, which is rooted in Seattle. They produced music from Nirvana, Mud Honey and a lot of that 90s grunge sound. Because it’s an independent label, less records were made, making them rarer, which ultimately drives up the value.
  • Trust your instincts: Simply put, anything Beatles or Rolling Stones is going to be valuable.
  • Don’t forget quality: It all depends whether or not you’re collecting the record for the cover art or for the actual music itself. If it’s the latter, then you want to ensure the vinyl is free of deep scratches or mold. Surface dust or dirt is OK, because it can be wiped clean, but nothing can fix a deep blemish.

Top 10 vinyl sales of 2015 reported by Forbes

1. Adele “25” (116,00 sales)

2. Taylor Swift “1989” (74,000)

3. Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” (50,000)

4. The Beatles “Abbey Road” (49,800)

5. Miles Davis “Kind of Blue” (49,000)

6. Artic Monkeys “AM” (48,000)

7. Sufjan Stevens “Carrie & Lowell” (44,900)

8. Alabama Shakes “Sound & Color” (44,600)

9. Hozier “Hozier” (43,000)

10. Various Artists “Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack” (43,000)


Andrew is a Content Specialist for Seattle Goodwill and has a wealth of writing, communication and digital media experience. He loves all things sports related and owns a treasure trove of memorabilia. He also enjoys storytelling, the outdoors and sugar is his kryptonite.

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