Discogs or eBay for Vinyl Purchases?

Discussion in 'Marketplace Discussions' started by Rattlin' Bones, Aug 3, 2021.

  1. gillcup

    gillcup Senior Member

    Location:
    Raleigh, NC, USA
    I've been using Discogs almost exclusively for used vinyl for the last several years. Maybe I've been lucky, but I can't remember the last time I got a incorrectly grading LP using Discogs. I think professional sellers are getting much better at grading. I check feedback carefully looking for comments indicating accurate grading. I also prefer sellers who give more detail about condition. If an album is rated VG+ and they describe the level of noise, for example "light crackle during quieter parts", you have a good idea of what you are getting. I try to avoid sellers with very few ratings unless the prices are very low.
     
    Recordfan likes this.
  2. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    Yes!!!

     
  3. bulletinwbw

    bulletinwbw Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North Carolina
    Discogs is more reliable, but there are probably more crazy bargains to be had on ebay, incredibly rare though they are these (but they are around! I got a NM Wilco Kicking Television 4LP box set for $25 last year, usually goes for $300+).
     
  4. Bloodbuzz459

    Bloodbuzz459 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I use both eBay and Discogs regularly. Pros and cons to both IMO. My problem is I probably don't ask enough questions.

    Bargains on eBay for me seem few and far between. But they do happen however mostly people get carried away bidding and spend significantly more than for the same item available for much less on Discogs. However, photos of the actual item makes decision making much easier. It's a feature Discogs desperately needs.

    Case in point, I was after a 12" single which is relatively scarce and Discogs had one listed as NM but the sleeve had a price sticker. For whatever reason I had in my head it would be one of those small 1×1cm stickers and on arrival it was bright yellow and about 10x10cm. I should have asked so my fault completely. But photos would make it easier and save time for buyers and sellers.

    Other small gripe I have with Discogs is early on you do (naively) expect everyone is an expert and know what they are listing, but I've bought a certain pressing and not received the correct one. Or bought a colour vinyl, opened it and it's actually black.
     
  5. cut-out

    cut-out Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cambridge, MA, USA
    Still bargains to be found on eBay, but it’s always more of a crapshoot in terms of packaging. I always wish I’d taken the time to ask eBay sellers how they typically pack and ship. Pizza boxes, records rarely removed from sleeves, no cardboard padding, etc. I think everything I’ve ordered from Discogs has at least been in a record mailer!
     
  6. Brian Lux

    Brian Lux One in the Crowd

    Location:
    Placerville, CA
    Both are a bit of a crap shoot, though I purchase on Discogs much more often than on eBay.
    I scrutinize the feedback on both sites and that reduces the chances of something going wrong (especially poor grading and/or packaging), but no matter how many reviews I read and how carefully, you just never know.
    The other thing I do is keep a list- at the top, trusted seller, iffy in the middle but if cheap enough, depending on the record, I might gamble on again (actually, so far, have only done that once), and at the bottom, "won't buy from again" sellers. This is the tally at present on my seller list:
    Trusted: 37
    Iffy: 14
    Never again: 35

    So out of 86 sellers, 37 are ones I feel relatively confident buying from. In other words, only 43% are trusted sellers.
    And again, I scrutinize seller carefully before purchasing. Pathetic.
     
  7. cwitt1980

    cwitt1980 Senior Member

    Location:
    Carbondale, IL USA
    I'm more into Discogs. It's pretty easy to tell if the seller is a collector themselves (or at least a good grader) rather some some shmohawk putting everything up at NM hoping no one cares. Descriptions matter! I'm not a big fan of VG+ if you have zero description. It's such an umbrella grading that it always boils down to being 'subjective' if you have an issue. Also, I've become a little judgmental with seller's profile images lately. If it's some old guy with his own picture stating something like 'I always wanted a record store and now I finally do'... I'm out. These guys usually don't have a clue. As far as Ebay, it just doesn't seem easy to get the feel of the seller IMO. Granted, if they take some pictures and have a better price, I'll go that route.
     
    Brian Lux likes this.
  8. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Chevelle Ma Belle

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    It depends on what you are buying IMO. I have had terrible luck with foreign issue 45s on discogs such that I stopped with discogs. Ebay sellers were far more reliable for them. I find Ebay easier to deal with because they basically force sellers to provide decent photos. I can run quickly through a dozen similar items. Discogs has no pictures and you are dependent on back and forth and iffy photos. Also sellers were having increasing problems locating the correct listing for the item. I concluded that this was not deliberate but a function of the explosion of hundreds of listings for many typical albums. If you are selling a $15 record do you have 30 minutes to locate it with the very confusing discogs system? Not only are the main list headings ambiguous, but many discogs item listings are filled with errors. Generally though discogs is more likely to have offbeat albums than Ebay.
     
  9. Oscar Calero

    Oscar Calero Member

    Location:
    USA
    I use both to compare prices
     
  10. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    It seems to me most Discogs sellers created very limited info listings. Often using the boilerplate pic not pics of their items. And no written descriptions. With eBay most sellers have pics, and mostly several pics, of actual item plus a more detailed description.
     
    Recordfan likes this.
  11. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Depends, it could be a very lucky NM item the seller does not know about. Price is a consideration, and returns accepted is the other consideration.
     
  12. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Bingo!

    I was searching in the last few weeks for an LP issued late 1972 which I'd owned back in 1973. I had a UK pressing and wanted one of those but prices on Discogs are $40 to $80 plus international shipping. Or it was found in the US but the condition was rather worn. US copies have an early PC prefix with no barcode, and a later KC prefix with a barcode top right back cover. I wanted a clean cover with preferably shrink wrap still on it.

    So I combed every copy on Discogs (hundreds of LPs), as well as eBay filters and searches. In completed i9terms folks have scored original w/o barcode for $10 plus shipping with shrink still on the cover. So I know it is just a waiting game. And it seems Discogs is going to be very high prices for this.

    ok, so a UK original appears, and it said to be NM condition LP, no mention of the cover condition. $9.99 or best offer! I ask about condition flaws as well as the cover (as it is laminated, and difficult to see if ring wear is present in the pic), and the seller replies that there is a very faint 1/2 inch scratch that does not sound, and the cover has hardly any signs of wear. But does not answer my question if the LP was kept in a poly liner. Feedback is stellar on sold LPs, and some or many of his opening prices and best offers are actually too low. He's getting less for some of his LPs than he should be getting.

    I do the math on his LP and fees I will be paying, approx $2.00 tax, and $4.00 shipping, which means if I offer $14.00 it will come to $20 shipped. I offer him $14.00 on his $9.99 OBO LP. I felt his LP is worth more than his asking price, and decided to pay him a bit more. And I can flip it on Discogs later if and when I decide what to do. If it is really stellar and underplayed, then my $14 paid price is a really great deal on a 1972 UK original.

    But anyway looking at both sites, asking some questions, and studying feedback closely will help one find the deals. I think that because at Discogs there is no chance for the auction market to up the bidding final prices, sellers just mark them up high in advance. So less chance of a deal.

    I'll have the LP in a couple of days and report back. But it looks like I found a really nice LP here.
     
    Recordfan likes this.
  13. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Discogs features a picture of the exact record issued, but never of the given items, you'll purchase. And a good seller will want to give more details in the description field. I tend to fill it in with plenty of additional comments. It's easy and fun to fill in the details when and if your stock is in nice condition and has good titles. If you have to say a "split cover on all three sides but has been taped up, and the record plays great, but surface noise in some spots, mainly between the tracks." It must be a drag trying to flip poor condition LPs. So if details are missing, then ask the seller to describe any flaws. The way I ask is, why it LP NM graded but not Mint? What flaws bring the cover down from NM- to VG+? Are there spindle marks on labels? Does the VG+ cover have ring wear or splits?

    In this day and age a record buyer is going to have to learn to read between the lines of a description and ask the right questions. Just like buying a used car. I've asked a seller about what flaws are found on this NM/NM LP? Is it really NM? I sometimes get no answer, and sometimes I get a message that the LP is no longer available! I answer back with "Why am I not surprised". If you find comments on over-graded LPs in feedback, try and for sure avoid that seller. Its interesting that the seller avoided me once I started asking around and wanted to poke around the tires. :laugh:

    I just ordered an LP from Germany which was $75 plus shipping. :eek: Very high, but it is rare, and he was the only seller with no neutral or neg feedbacks with complaints of condition not as graded. It's a classic Rolling Stones LP (Beggars Banquet) that was pressed on white vinyl in 1977, but a very few were also done on clear vinyl.:help: The very rare clear ones generally only seem to appear in Germany, but it's a Dutch-issued Decca LP. :rolleyes: I need it because I have the whole series of cv pressing from Holland except this one. :shh: And it's the last colored Stones LP I may ever buy. I about have the band covered now once this arrives. I can sell some dupes to cover this purchase later is how I am justifying it in my head. :confused:
     
    Recordfan likes this.
  14. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    I got my 1972 UK original today. Packed beautifully and in STONE MINT Condition LP, with an almost NM jacket. The laminated cover made that crackling noise from never being open as I partially opened it. I really lucked out finding this one!

    Listen, fellow record hunters. I have one bit of advice to share with those who are looking for top copies. Because all the other advice of asking questions, asking for more pictures, looking at feedback, comparing prices at various venues, one big tip is this: Look at all of the listings offered checking the condition and all of the above, and if you do not see exactly what you want in your price range, then check back in a week, another week, a few days, and another week. Do not buy one that "seems" close enough to what you are looking for. LP records were mass-produced, it is very likely another one will show up and be in top shape, there is no need to buy this week or next. You have time. If it is a nice copy of Bowie's "Low" you are looking for and it's not there, look for another LP on your list, and then another. Just hold out for top feedback, and the exact one you want in the condition you desire. If the seller has even one neutral feedback of over-grading an LP then seriously consider shopping elsewhere. That is what keeps me from buying an item that seems perfect and exactly what I am looking for. Sometimes I see several people leaving Negs or Neutrals about over-grading. Or even Positives with a comment that LP was over-graded but seller made good with a partial refund. So the time is going to be needed to be spent on reading deep into seller's feedback.

    But my main tip, is do not expect to find the LP you wish to purchase on the first search. Do not think you need to select from the available items listed. Hold out, and check back later. I did this and ended up with a stellar UK original from '72. It's the exact same issue I had when I was 13 years old. But my old copy was worn out and trashed 35 years ago at least.

    I was just looking at UK copies of DP's "Made in Japan" with "Porky" in deadwax. There is nothing out there at the moment in anything above a lower VG+. But the album sold boatloads of copies, and I know many are out there not trashed, and I know they are not going to be anywhere near $100. It's a waiting game. And I own a Japanese pressing with "Porky" stampers anyway. I'd just like to have the UK cover, thin but laminated. It's a childhood thing, I want one like I had in '73. I'll hold out and keep looking, likely find a NM one in the US for $40 - $45 plus shipping.
     
    LivingForever likes this.
  15. eddiel

    eddiel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto, Canada
    Sellers on Discogs are limited to what they can upload. Although they can add notes to their listing, there isn't enough room to provide the detailed notes that some eBay sellers include. So any notes would be minimal compared to a lot of eBay listings.

    Sellers cannot upload photos of their items either. They aren't "often using boiler plate photos".
    They are actually using no photos at all since they cannot upload photos. If a buyer wanted to see pictures of the actual item they would need to ask the seller for them.

    Often, I see complaints from buyers who thought the photos represented the items being sold. One buyer complained in the official forums that all the sellers were using the same photo and he thought Discogs was pulling a scam.

    Some people really do need to spend a bit more time working out what they are getting into. Many don't but there's generally a bit of comedy you can get out of it when they post in the forums about how they were ripped off.

    But in terms of photos and amount of info, eBay does have an edge on that front.
     
    GentleSenator likes this.
  16. Rattlin' Bones

    Rattlin' Bones Grumpy Old Deaf Drummer Thread Starter

    Location:
    Louisville, KY
    I have read detailed overviews on Discogs about how the seller does grading. One seller included 4-5 paragraphs of info on cleaning/grading/equipment used/etc. (not on specific LP, but on his policies and grading).

    I thought I have also seen actual photos of LP for sale. No?

     
  17. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    The first point is the only one I disagree with. There is plenty of room to write out full descriptions of the LP and the cover. I've rambled on and on about an item and even added some hype about my packing quality and shipping speed in that field. How much more writing space do you need? I find I never run out of characters when writing in that field on Discogs.

    I think your complaint is more about sellers not including much if anything in their given field, rather than the space not being provided. I've seen plenty of ebay sellers who do not provide enough info on the LP/Jacket. Or the pictures are lacking important views, etc. "Compared to a lot of ebay listings" is a generalization, and open to interpretation, and depends on what one sees on a given day.
     
    Rattlin' Bones likes this.
  18. RobsterK

    RobsterK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    I have been disappointed with both. Discogs seems more lax, delayed shipping, NM is more like VG+ etc, - Ebay ratings are take slightly more seriously. The NM rating is too loose at Discogs based on the 50 plus records that I have bought there. Frankly, I don't have the time to argue with the sellers and its easier for me not to leave a review. I buy most of my albums from Amazon now - can't beat their Prime shipping and amazing customer service. Amazon has also somewhat helped sellers at Discogs and Ebay limit the price gouging. These days you have to pay over $20 for a decent used album - ridiculous.
     
    Rattlin' Bones likes this.
  19. quicksrt

    quicksrt Senior Member

    Location:
    City of Angels
    Well, I have a few comments on this.
    1. It comes down to the seller, not really the venue. I've seen way over-priced LPs at Amazon, as I list there and see what others are asking for before I set my price.
    2. If you don't have time to argue with sellers, then at least take the time to check out feedback, and ask a question about the condition. Ask what are the flaws that keep the NM LP from being M? Why is cover VG+ and not NM? Very simple questions can reveal plenty. But feedback is so important in figuring out if grades are accurate.
    3. It's easier for you to not leave feedback on your purchase, therefore not helping others know about this over-grading seller? Well, if others are doing like you are (too busy to leave an honest review), then no wonder you can't identify good sellers, nobody has time to comment like you, everyone stays in the dark about this problem.
    4. $20 for a nice clean but used LP from the 70s or 80s, and much of the 90s is actually a great deal with inflation adjustment. Especially if the title has any demand for it.

    I suggest you go for CDs, they are going to play cleaner, and are not near the ridiculously high prices of $20 to $30 LPs.
     
    joachim.ritter likes this.
  20. RobsterK

    RobsterK Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Pasadena, CA
    I wasn't really looking for advice on how I should consider cd's over vinyl. Might be a path for you - but it's not for me.
     
    Rattlin' Bones likes this.

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