It's time... It's time... It's VINYL 101 TIME!!! Yes, kids, it's time for another installment of Vinyl 101. Last week we went over websites such as Discogs and eBay and the best or worst way to use them when trying to obtain records. If you missed out on that article, don't worry! You can find it by clicking here. This week was going to tackle the art of crate digging -- but I just realized that Friday is none other than BLACK FRIDAY!!! Yes, that time of the year when stores and shoppers alike hang out at their favorite stores to get a deal on a flat screen -- like that of yours truly waiting in line to score Pearl Jam tickets. So in celebration (or observance) let's go over Record Store Day (Black Friday) and Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals.

Do You Really Want to Face The Masses all for That Limited Edition Record?

Don't get me wrong, I love Record Store Day. As a matter of fact, I consider it a holiday for vinyl junkies. Now some will disagree with me on that perspective, and that is totally fine with me. But a few years ago, the organizers of Record Store Day decided to capitalize on Black Friday and created "Record Store Day: Black Friday" (personally I call it RSD 2.0). I never understood why RSD chose to do this on Black Friday as it made more sense to do it on Small Business Saturday -- being most record stores are small businesses. I tend to usually avoid Black Friday like the plague. But if you have to get that limited edition translucent puke green version of Dr. Suess's "How The Grinch Stole Christmas" soundtrack for your collection, here are a few tips to follow.

1. Call your local record store to see if they are even participating in RSD 2.0.
Most record stores to participate, however, some don't. So unless you want to lose your cool all because you woke up at 4 AM hoping to get your hands on The Grinch and find out that your local record shop doesn't even participate -- you're gonna have a bad time!

2. Check to see if your local record shop will get that title.
Here's another thing they don't tell you. The limited edition records are pressed to limited quantities. That means only certain shops will get these albums and if your shop didn't get that particular title and you did wake up at 4 a.m. to wait in line -- you're gonna have a bad time!

3. Record stores may get the title but may sell it before Black Friday or Record Store Day.
Here's a little story. A few years ago one of my friends scored a copy of the RSD release of the Across The Universe soundtrack... Three days before Record Store Day. When I pressed them which store did this, they told me it was a local record shop that was participating. Another friend told me of a story that the same record store also sold the limited glow in the dark Ghostbusters soundtrack picture disc... Three days before Record Store Day. You see where we are going here? Now the rules for Record Store Day state that the records ARE TO BE SOLD ON RECORD STORE DAY! But some shops don't tend to follow that rule. So if you know that your local record store is known for its shady practices, you might want to check a respectable store first -- even if that means going out of town.

4. Avoid eBay!
Yes, eBay might be the best place to look for that RSD release. But guess what? Most sellers are looking to make a quick buck and will charge double -- even triple the amount of how much it sold at a local record store. So unless you're willing to drop some major dinero on The Grinch -- and spend all your Christmas money. It's best to stay away and just wait for the best deal to come your way. It might take a while, but not only will the wait be worth it, but you also won't go bankrupt in the process.

Xander's Vinyl Pick of the Week

A Very Special Christmas
Being Christmas is upon us, I must point out that every vinyl collection needs at least a couple Christmas albums on hand -- especially for those impromptu Christmas parties at your very own vinyl den with your peers.  A Very Special Christmas has something for everyone! Whether it's rock (Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Bob Seger), Hip-Hop (Run D.M.C.) or '80s Alternative (U2, Eurythmics), and even  Pop (Madonna). This little Christmas comp packs a powerful punch full of Holliday favorites that everyone can enjoy. Yes, this albums spawned off numerous sequels which sadly can't hold a candle to this album (although I would I would substitute the Alison Moyet track on this album for the Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers track on Vol. 2), but only this album got the vinyl treatment.