The Internet has opened up a new world market for record and CD collectors, where one can search for any LP by U2, Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin, or import CDs by Bruce Springsteen, the Eagles or Grateful Dead. If you want it, chances are you can find it. Websites such as eBay, Amazon.com and Craigslist have made it easy for anyone to be a buyer or seller of music. The problem is, most “sellers” don’t really know what they’re peddling. A prime example arose today when I was searching through my local Craigslist for-sale section: I came across a woman with a copy of The Beatles, Introducing The Beatles. To her credit, she mentioned that it’s one of the most counterfeited records of all time but didn’t explicitly say whether or not this copy was real or fake. She didn’t know. A couple clues pointed clearly that it was a dupe, but here was one of hundreds of such cases of a “seller” not knowing the product. I emailed her to let her know what she had, just so someone wouldn’t be taken and spend hundreds of dollars on a fake.
Fortunately, there are many very good and reputable websites for record and CD collectors, where prices are fair, products are accurately described, the staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic music lovers, shipping is reliable and, what’s more, they’re a blast to surf through. If you’re looking for rare or hard-to-find records or CDs, here are 5 great websites to start your search.
1.GEMM (www.gemm.com) – GEMM is a worldwide music marketplace bringing thousands of dealers from across the globe together into one giant record store. Buyers can search by media type, for a particular seller or even by price. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, GEMM allows users to set up “Want” agents, that will send email notices whenever a new match appears in the marketplace.
2.Forced Exposure (www.forcedexposure.com) – This Massachusetts-based distributor works with more than 125 labels from around the world and maintains one of the best sites for music collectors. Forced Exposure is a particularly excellent resource for those seeking music from indies. Releases are organized by label – if you want to have some fun, browse through the entire new listings for a month and be amazed at how many CDs come to market every 30 days. They update their catalog weekly and include images and descriptions of every recording they stock – written from a fan’s perspective.
3.Doug Larson Imports (http://www.hicom.net/~dlarson/) – For many fans of rare progressive rock, psychedelic rock, jazz, hard rock and folk from the 1960s and 1970s, Doug Larson Imports is the place to find new and reissues of obscure to well-known artists. The site is organized by country, making it easy to find albums recorded by bands from Argentina to Italy, Japan to Mexico, and beyond. You’re sure to discover lots of weird and wonderful CDs at Doug Larson Imports.
4.Music Masters Worldwide (www.musicmast.com) – Music Masters is one of my must-visit websites each week, as they update their inventory with a new release schedule every Thursday evening. Although Music Masters doesn’t include images with associated CDs and LPs, you will find a helpful description of each release. If you’re into Japanese imports or just want to see what’s new, Music Masters is a great resource.
5.EIL.com/Esprit (www.eil.com) – EIL.com touts itself as the world’s biggest online Record Shop for new, rare, collectible, used and hard to find CDs, vinyl records, CD singles, picture discs, memorabilia and more. The site is updated frequently and contains extensive resources for music collectors. If you’re looking for Jimi Hendrix, you can browse by artist or simply enter his name into the EIL.com search box, whose results can be filtered on many levels.