#331: Where Do You Buy Your Music?



#331: Where Do You Buy Your Music?

Where do you buy music?  I put together an informal survey of where my music has come from over the last 12 months.

DISCOGS – What a great way to fill up on old 12” and 7” singles that I am missing.  Not a great way to fill up on uber-rarities.  For example, I cannot pay $63 for Tenacious D’s Jazz EP which has only one track.  I cannot pay $58 for Iron Maiden’s “Virus” single on 12” vinyl which has two rare Soundhouse Tapes on the B-side.

AMAZON – The lion’s share of my music comes from here.  Whether it be a new release or a reissue of something in a deluxe format, Amazon is my go-to store.  The prices are fair and the shipping is free for all orders over $25, which is all my orders anyway.  Also great for gift-giving when your family has created their own Amazon wishlists.  And if you don’t want to buy new titles, Amazon has plenty of marketplace sellers who deal in affordable, good condition used CDs.  You just have to check out their ratings, like you would on eBay.

ENCORE RECORDS – The newly relocated Mecca of music shopping in Kitchener.  It was even better when Encore was located just around the corner from the great comic book store, Looking For Heroes.  Then I could kill two birds with one stone (or as Ricky might say, get two birds stoned at once).  Their selection of new and used is awesome.  Any deluxe reissues that I don’t get from Amazon can easily be found there.  T-shirts, oddball releases, singles…this is the place to go in the area.  At least, this is where I go!

CD JAPAN – I’ve been buying on and off from CD Japan for over a decade, but only in the last year have I really gone hogwild.  (Thanks, Mitch.)  When I can find Japanese versions of albums with bonus tracks for only a little more than the domestic versions, I’m in.  These guys have never let me down.  I’ve bought about a dozen discs from them in the last 12 months, none of which I would have been able to buy affordably anywhere else that I shop.  My biggest score ever was my recent Thin Lizzy At The BBC box set.  CD Japan price, brand new?  $140.  Discogs price, for US issue?  $322.

SUNRISE – Now closed at Fairview mall.  Too bad.  I used to buy a lot of stuff there.  They had great sale items.  I stocked up on Zappa reissues there for $9 each!

ITUNES – For exclusives only.  I will never buy anything on iTunes that can be had physically.  This year I purchased Mitch Lafon’s A World With Heroes EP on iTunes, and the odd bonus track here and there.  That’s it.  iTunes can fuck off otherwise.

TARANNA – Aaron and I do our annual Toronto trip and end up with many treasures every time!  See our videos for more details.  Also included here is the Toronto record show I attend each April.

And of course, sometimes you just have to buy music directly from the artist. Artists such as Lee Aaron and Helix have earned my dollars via their own websites this year.

Then, there are places I haven’t bought anything from this past year.  Walmart, Best Buy…there’s no point, really.  Others include:

EBAY – I have bought no music from eBay in over two years.  When I’m looking for uber-rarities, this is a very expensive way to get them.  A last resort only.

My old store – Although Aaron finds stuff he wants there all the time, I haven’t had any luck in the last 12 months.  However that is simply because I have so many CDs.  It’s not due to the quality of that store.  They are excellent at selling good condition used items.  I just haven’t found much this year.  I’m sure I will again.  I’m just very picky about which versions of items I want, and if I don’t find the exact version I just want to keep looking.  I still recommend my old store to anyone looking for cheap, good quality used CDs.

Regardless of where I obtain my music, one thing is certain:  The collection keeps growing, and growing, and growing.  I am confident with 100% certainty that it will continue to grow, thanks to the fine vendors listed here!


    1. They hardly make singles anymore. At least over here. I know in the 90’s, singles were way easier to find in the UK than here. I enjoyed collecting singles from albums, but these days it’s more about finding the versions with the most/best bonus tracks.


  1. Most of my music shopping is done through a local South African online retailer – they do a great job at finding importing what I am looking for. If all else fails I try Amazon or ask the family in Germany to find it and send it over ASAP. Every now and then there’s something on bandcamp – especially handy if you are trawling for new bands :)


    1. Hey Marco! So here’s a question for you — what kind of music do you have to import? More obscure stuff?

      I have some family in the US and they are able to search for stuff that we can’t get in Canada, somewhat like your Germany connection!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi Mike, good question! 90% metal and you get some of the mainstream stuff in the stores here – stuff like Cradle of Filth, Iron Maiden – and annoyingly a lot of it is coined metal so when you go the the shelves you think yay! jackpot! but it turns out that they file some pop and metal together?

        So what have I bought in from outside lately? Meads of asphodel, mayhem, ASP, Lordi, Wolfen, Grave Digger, Ulver and some Sopor Aeternus. Still waiting on some more stuff but we’re in the middle of a postal worker strike so who knows when that will arrive.

        I forgot to add…there’s this guy I know who runs a pre-loved album exchange – he’s quite good at sourcing stuff as he constantly circulates what he has available and what the is looking for… a proper treat. He can also import from Europe but then it gets REALLY pricey!


        1. SO it sounds like all of the stuff you have to import is fairly underground metal. Nothing top 30 in there really, Lordi is about as close as it gets!

          Ah postal strikes. We usually get one around Christmas time!

          Liked by 1 person

        2. Pretty much, hey! I think these postal workers are striking because they want to employed full time – at present they are all part-timers. Sheesh – it’s playing havoc with music needs – in the mean time…bandcamp! Lol


        3. Here in Canada we’re cutting postal services. They’re replacing home delivery with those central boxes. So each neighborhood will have a mailbox to go to. Every Christmas, Amazon starts shipping by UPS rather than mail, because mail is so slow and unreliable.

          Liked by 1 person

        4. That makes sense, I mean, using UPS. A central mailbox? Hmm, not so sure about that – everyone is cutting costs where they can, eh.


        5. Luckily it’s still running – sort of. Ah who am I kidding – it’s terrible at the moment! things get lost – or opened or it goes missing


        6. Just got my latest Amazon order today — they have switched to shipping by UPS here now. Every Christmas they do the switch. So apparently it’s early November when they start. It’s a mild incovenience because it means I have to pick up the parcel at the UPS depot.

          Liked by 1 person

        7. Is the depost close to where you live? Odd, here they drop the parcels off wherever you want them…home, office or other. Mind you, not so sure about UPS as they aren’t very big here…and when you make use of them they suck!

          No new releases for me, yet! Grrrr…


        8. The way UPS works here is that they will try to deliver to the house first, but I’m not home during business hours, so they take it to the depot where I pick it up. And yes it’s very close. It’s just a few minutes away. The owner there knows me from the radio so last time I went in, I didn’t even have to say a word, he had my parcels waiting.

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes even Canada to US and vice versa can be expensive when it comes to shipping vinyl. I don’t sell vinyl on Ebay anymore because too many people complained about how much it costs to ship them from Canada.


  2. I’d say I’m a fairly even split between Amazon, Fopp and HMV for the majority of my spending. Thanks to the great shops here I still do more shopping in stores than online. Monorail, LoveMusic, Missing, Record Fayre and the new Cornucopia store have all enjoyed my custom this year! Discogs I buy from rarely but I agree it is essential to check there for rarities. Still buy from eBay. Got stuff there that was either bargains or things I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. I think I use eBay more than Discogs overall.


        1. You know what, since Jen’s really well enough to travel, the only real way I’d be able to go places with people is with friends…we should think about this.


  3. Pretty much the same as Mr Overload there. Lucky enough to still enjoy a great deal of store shopping. Mostly Record Fayre and Mixed-Up for secondhand stuff, with new released from Fopp or an online indy / Amazon.

    I’ve used both eBay and Discogs, pixked stuff up on Bandcamp, the artist or label site … and at gigs.


  4. Well I’m always fucking off at iTunes! Hahahaha…Realistically for one reason and one reason only.
    Price! With a family of 5 and everyday living expenses to go out and purchase order online just ain’t happening for me. I would love to buy physical product but unless I win the lottery it ain’t happening.
    There are certain ones I will pay for at a record shop like Maiden, Rush, etc but that’s few and far between so yep I’m in the minority here iTunes is my way to go…..got the Hip/Adams and Acdc on preorder ….but cool that all u others can still do it old school ! I do miss that!


    1. Yep I know you’re an iTunes man but I still give you credit: you still buy the music, you don’t rip it off. That says a lot my friend. The fact is I love buying music — I love owning a release. It’s something tangible that I can feel and hold as well as listen to.


  5. I haven’t bought a new album in a long time. Mostly, I buy used from VV if I find anything. I haven’t bought anything from iTunes.
    When I did buy new, I’d buy from HMV or MusicWorld, but I hardly shop in a mall any more.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. OK let’s see… these days…

    Value Village. My main source. Tons from there, all $2 each. And I can check the quality of things before buying.

    Mike’s old store. Yup, I find lots there, always have. And they have free shipping after $25.

    Discogs. Very occasional. Usually only rare things I know I am never gonna get anywhere else.

    Amazon. Very rare. And again, only if they (or a secondary seller) has the best price on something.

    Taranna. Mike and I go every year and I load the hell up on great tunes and all the majesty!

    Freebies. Seriously, people sometimes give me stuff and it’s all wonderful. Like Mike gave me music on our trip this year, or when Craig gave me all those vinyls, or James sens stuff or Scott sends stuff… yeah, I’m serious when I say I am a welcoming home for all unwanted musics! Send it all! I will love it! :)

    So yeah, mostly I’m a bargain hunter sort of guy. It takes a lot of patience – there’s a bunch of junk, for sure. But I can pop for a $2 CD. And a big advantage for me is I like many, many different things, so there’s always something there for me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah Aaron’s right. My old store has free shipping over $25 just like Amazon. And he;s also right about the VV. He finds great stuff there all time, he’s always sending me pics of interesting things he sees.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I send you pics of the hilarious stuff I see, too. I could do a whole blog of all the crazy records I find.

        But yeah, VV is a big one for me. We’re on one income, since I stay home with the kids, and we make that work because there are a lot of things we let go as unimportant. If my fun can be 5 CDs for $10, it doesn’t hurt as bad as 5 CDs for $75!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Good idea for a post. I try to buy as little as I can from Amazon because of their tax avoidance over here – my dad’s antique shop pays full UK tax, why not one of the biggest retailers on the planet? (dismounts from high horse) I do use them though.

    I shop/browse weekly at the brilliant Probe Records in Liverpool as well as any others I can track down on my travels – Tangled Parrot in Carmarthen and Spillers in Cardiff particularly.

    BUT in the last couple of years I buy more and more direct from the artists and the record labels – I find that’s where you get all the coolest stuff, the real limited editions etc. Thrill Jockey are particularly good. I also like the fact that the money goes straight to them.

    I use eBay too, less than I did but I do use it – you just need to have a clear idea of how much something is worth to you, if its too expensive F-CK it! There’ll be another copy along next week.

    Never used Discogs.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I truly am old school. I have never downloaded a song, bought from ITunes, Discogs, Amazon, Ebay etc. I have only ever bought(or got free) physical copies. I go to Value Village, Salvation Army, MCC stores, Thrift stores, antique markets, garage sales, Liquidation Stores etc. I also do buy the odd new item from HMV, Encore, The Beat Goes On, etc., or buy at live concerts. I find if I buy in large quantities, I get a better deal. So I often buy as much as 200 at a time, usually for much less than $1 a piece. It has become an addiction for me, and I often plan to visit the local music shop or thrift store whenever I am on the road.


      1. Cd’s are listened to in the car. Especially on longer drives. Albums at home. I probably have bought a years worth of music in the last month, so it will take me a while. Special albums get listened to right away, but the rest get filed away for another day. Since I keep buying though, I don’t know if I will ever catch up. I need to also find a new house with a wine cellar that can be converted to music storage room.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Ah storage — the ongoing concern here at LeBrain central as well.

          Also important — finding the time to really dig deep and LISTEN. Gets harder when you buy so many at a time. How do you give each one a fair shake? Not easy to do.


        2. Oh man, you hit it all on the head. Every CD I review is done in the car, waiting for my son to get out of school. Albums at home, but only after the kids go to bed (so always with headphones on).

          STORAGE! Biggest issue ever. I’m in the middle of a massive overhaul of the library at KMA central and space is definitely the issue du jour. And I have a room, dedicated to this (well, and our chest freezer and all 3 bookshelves of my lovely wife’s books.)!

          Actually I was gonna ask, Mike, where’d ya get those tall CD spinners? I’ve got a spot one could go but I never see them anymore.


        3. Aaron those came from Sears. The first one holds 1000. Then they discontinued that, and I got the one that holds 800. Then they discontinued that, and the last one I bought (a piece of crap unfortunately) only holds 200.


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