A few years ago, vinyl was in the graveyard, mortally wounded by the advent of first, the CD and then the arrival of iTunes, Spotify, YouTube and their friends. To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports of its death have been greatly exaggerated, and vinyl sales are soaring.
2014 is the biggest for vinyl sales in 18 years with more than a million records sold and predictions sales will top 1.2m by Christmas. Earlier this year year Jack White’s Lazaretto sold 40,000 vinyl copies in one week, becoming the first album to hit No.1 on vinyl sales since Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy in 1994. And vinyl enthusiasts are no longer just searching secondhand shops and boot sales, almost every new release, and remastered back catalogues are now re-issued in vinyl format, often at 180g (the Rolls Royce of vinyl) while original editions are an increasingly expensive collector’s item.
Bands like Arctic Monkeys have helped a new generation turn on to vinyl alongside reactions to the ‘own-nothing’ nature of online music streaming. You can’t love a download, it’s hard to treasure a CD and lest we forget all that classic album artwork was designed to be 12ʺ x 12ʺ. Think Andy Warhol’s legendary Velvet Underground cover, any Pink Floyd Album, Peter Saville’s designs for Joy Division and New Order , the Stones Sticky Fingers with an actual zip, achingly hip Blue Note jazz album covers…..
And if you are getting analogue fears, don’t panic – most new LPs now come with a CD version or an MP3 download code as part of the package or Amazon’s Auto-Rip feature gives you an automatic MP3 version on vinyl purchase.
A rare original LP can be worth a lot of money, and its cover condition is a key element of its value. If it’s a new album, arriving dented or torn is unacceptable and if you are a vinyl seller, your customers will expect what they buy to be as you have described. I buy a lot of vinyl from Amazon and have yet to have something arrive damaged. True, more trees than are necessary get to die while Amazon over packages in a robust corrugated LP mailer, encased in insulating paper and enclosed in a strong box. Surprisingly many established online secondhand vinyl stores and individual sellers still don’t always package their vinyl well – whether you are a retailer or sending vinyl this Christmas, here are some great ParcelHero tips for keeping your vinyl fresh in transit. Don’t just stick albums in an envelope, scrawl ‘fragile’ on it and hope for the best.
Use proper packing materials
LP covers are prone to tears and denting so it’s important with any parcel that you use the correct packaging materials and good quality, robust LP mailers are pretty cheap (about 30p a pop) or alternatively you can construct things yourself with good cardboard and strong parcel tape. Even better, if you purchase vinyl from the likes of Amazon – reuse the packaging and do the environment a favour.
Take the record out of the sleeve
If you leave the record inside the outer sleeve, you’re inviting damage (records have sharp edges) so remove the disc, avoiding touching the actual grooves, and lay the disc on top of its inner sleeve and place the outercover above it – a protective sandwich. This is a general guideline but there are exceptions. Vintage vinyl has vintage sleeves and quite a few covers have adhesive or sellotape residues on the covers. The result of sleeve fixes, especially on ‘60s vinyl. You won’t want any residue or any old gunk against bare vinyl, so in this case, keep the actual record in its inner sleeve.
Before you place your sandwich into your outer packaging ready for your courier or the Post Office, add extra inserts or protective materials. You can either use LP-sized cardboard cut outs or bubble wrap. I prefer the former as it reinforces protection for the corners, the easiest part of your LP cover to be damaged in transit. If you are using bubble wrap, simply cut out two 12.5 inch squares. Basically you are turning your sandwich into a double sandwich.
Place in the mailer
The next step is to secure the sleeved LP sandwich in your outer packaging. The key here is to avoid the record moving around in transit. If you are sending more than one record, trial and error will quickly give you a sense of how many you can pack without over-cramping or damaging your items at source.
Sealing Your Package
Once you have folded the flaps of your mailer to enclose the ‘sandwiched’ contents, it is important to seal the whole package up correctly. No matter what kind of outer packaging you are using, make sure the flaps are correctly aligned and most importantly check the corners. Once you are happy everything is lined up, seal everything with packaging tape, giving extra attention to the main flap and the corner joints. Make sure the joins have enough tape to hold them securely closed, and run tape in both directions across the box and joints.
Label Your Package Correctly
The last thing you want is after all that great packing, is to hit fail on labelling. ParcelHero recommends that you:
- Remove all existing labels and cover any old barcodes (if you are using a second hand box)
- Use a single address label with delivery and return information.
- Place a duplicate address label inside the package.
Send it with ParcelHero
You need a reliable, responsible courier, especially if you are sending a valuable LP. ParcelHero only works with top-line international carriers and we doubt you want that original copy of Dark Side of The Moon left behind the bin. Check out our labelling and packaging guidelines.