This will be an informative entry regarding where one should buy records online. The first of this series is focusing on buying newly released items online. Unfortunately due to living in Turkey and only being in certain cities for meetings for a certain period of time, a physical sale evaluation is not easy on my part regarding specialized stores even though at the end of the entry, I will name a few. However, I will get into detail about online purchases and also gradings. I will also write another entry regarding books that will nourish your purchasing ego.
First hand purchases:
These purchases can be mainly based on either big distributors or labels. However, they can also be directed on p2p websites like Ebay, Musicstack, Eil or Discogs. Let's start with big distributors in alphabetical order.
A Number Of Small Things (Anost) is the sister company of Morr Music label. It is heavily specialized on experimental, drone, electro acoustic and avantgarde works. The labels under it's contract are Morr Music, Karaoke Kalk, Type, Touch, Editions Mego, City Centre Offices, Italic, Lok Musik, Thrill Jockey, Tomlab, Raster-Noton and Room 40 to name a few. The staff is extremely friendly, they have very tempting sales from time to time. Their packaging is also exceptional. It should always be a distributor you should be a regular visitor. The only downside is that it ships from Germany and shipping is higher than UK (Even close to US prices).
The info on the releases are more than welcome here. There are sound clips for each track. You get to view all details necessary. No popups, so that's a nice thing.
Bleep is the sister company of Warp Records. However, from that point on, they have established a huge distribution channel that spans all around the world. It sometimes has some of the out of print items still in it's stock. The prices are also acceptable and staff is friendly, packaging is great. They distribute Warp, Ninja Tune, Axis, M-Plant, Planet Mu, Mule Electronic, Sub Rosa, XL, Domino and others. They also distribute some of Anost's portfolio, but Anost's prices seem to have the better edge. Shipping is quite tempting since it is based in UK.
Information regarding the releases are very well organized. Sound clips are there and no popups again. User friendly system which is easy to grasp.
Bleep is also a member of FILTERED (Unsigned Competition). They are supporting artists that are currently unsigned and they just released an initiative to support these artists in cooperation with Warp Records, Soundcloud and Transition Mastering. For more info click here.
This is a an online store which as far as I know is not affiliated to any specific label. It is heavily specialized on underground music styles may this be Dubstep, IDM, Ambient, Free Jazz, Noise or Hip Hop. They have a huge collection of limited item materials and most of them are gone within minutes of sales. Therefore you need to be a member of their newsletter. The prices of Boomkat are not that tempting for materials you can find elsewhere though. However, they have a special priced section where they make discounts on selected items. This part is always worth a checkout. Shipping is quite tempting since it is based in UK.
There is quite a bit of information regarding the release. There are also sound clips from "some" of the tracks, so it's not really enough. The sound clips open a popup which does not make life easy. If you listen several releases, you are left with several popups.
Forced Exposure is a major distributor in US which features a ton of releases and their main speciality is quite similar to Anost, but in a more detailed way. However, I hate to admit that they don't ship to Turkey (Even though I've really pushed them a lot). I truly hope that they'll start shipping soon since they have a huge list of titles which might be of interest for any alternative electronic music listener like I am.
Regarding the info about releases, it is mainly quite basic although with some releases, they get into detail and fulfill that need as well. They could develop this feature more. However, there is no chance of listening an audio clip or anything similar.
This is an American distributor that has quite a different approach from the other ones here since it mainly specializes on Rock, Folk and mainstream Electronic genres and sub genres. The prices are not that interesting and shipping is also another headache. However, you have a good chance of finding some items which are out of stock at other stores.
The information level is generally OK. You can listen to the samples of the tracks, but the listening gadget is quite dismal. Does not show any progress, doesn't continue to the next track.
This is a distributor, one hell of a distributor. They distribute everything. It is one of the oldest ones around with selling everything you may need apart from really Hi-Fi systems. They are not specialized on really anything, but they sell almost a part from everything. Summer sale has just started that features almost 30.000 items on sale. They also have specialized newsletters for certain styles. Shipping is again quite tempting since it is based in UK.
This also comes with a popup when you try to get info on a release or listen tracks, but this is probably the best source for listening samples. Moreover, whenever you click on another track, it does not open another popup, continues on the old one. The listening gadget is very well.
This distributor is the sister company of Kompakt Label. They are extensively concentrated on Electronic Dance Music and they are distributing almost every single one of them apart from some major ones in UK and US. They are not really into alternative genres. Prices are good, shipping not that good. They have a nice price section with showing some discounts.
The information on the releases are very well organized, audio clips are all there, and the listening gadget is quite tempting.
These are just samples of distributor web sites where you can buy new items. Moreover, almost all labels sell through their own web sites as well. Therefore it is better to check both options before getting into anything.
If you have any other web sites (Apart from direct label web sites) that you would like to share, please do so. I may not have the knowledge of all, so every comment or info is more than welcome.