How We Price

Everything you need to know about pricing in the vinyl record industry and how Comeback Vinyl prices its inventory

An Intro To Vinyl Record Prices

Vinyl prices can vary dramatically from retailer to retailer. Some record stores price their inventory above manufacturer suggestions, so their prices are higher than average, while big-box retailers such as Amazon sell vinyl well below average. At Comeback Vinyl, our goal is to provide fair prices for everything we sell. Below is a guide on how pricing generally works in the vinyl record industry along with how we price our inventory. We aim to provide transparency to our customers in everything we do, which is why we’re shedding light on this side of our business.

Why Prices Can Be Different From Retailer To Retailer

Within the vinyl record industry, prices are not fully standardized

Sometimes vinyl record manufacturers give suggestions for retail prices (”manufacturer’s suggested retail price,” or “MSRP” for short), but sometimes they don’t. Additionally, unlike some other retail industries, there are also no rules or regulations regarding pricing. Manufacturers for some types of products will provide a minimum advertised price (also known as a “MAP” policy) that restricts how low a retailer can set the price for that product. Others will sometimes restrict retailers from pricing above MSRP. These standards do not exist for vinyl records, so record stores can price the records they sell as low or as high as they want.

Margins on vinyl records are significantly lower than other retail items, leading some stores to raise their prices

The margins between wholesale cost and MSRP for vinyl records are significantly lower than those in other industries—such as clothing, electronics, and home goods. Because of this, some stores choose to use a “cost-plus” pricing strategy, which means they determine their selling price by adding a fixed percentage onto their cost—even if it raises their selling price above MSRP—in order to maintain a specific profit margin. This is another factor that can lead to a wide array of prices when comparing one store to another and can lead to some stores having significantly higher prices than others.

Big-box retailers can source their inventory at a lower wholesale cost, allowing them to have lower prices

Because larger companies (like Amazon, Target, Urban Outfitters, etc.) buy in higher quantities than independent record stores, they have negotiation power with vinyl distribution companies to reduce their wholesale costs. Also, labels and manufacturers commonly set minimum order quantities, which prevent some indie record stores from purchasing from them since they don’t buy in the same large quantities as big-box retailers. This means that record stores frequently have to buy from secondary distributors that sell other products as well as vinyl records. These are known as “one-stop” distributors, and since these distributors are purchasing from labels and manufacturers, their wholesale costs for record stores end up being higher. Because of all this, big-box retailers are able to buy their inventory at a lower cost than independent record stores, allowing them to have lower prices and make the same profit margin. It is not unheard of for a big-box retailer’s selling price to be lower than an independent record store’s wholesale cost for the same title.





How We Price

We always price at MSRP

Regardless of our profit margin or how we’re able to source our inventory (i.e. from the label/manufacturer directly or a one-stop distributor), we always price at MSRP. Since there aren’t any industry-wide rules for price, we self-regulate based on manufacturer suggestions in order to keep our prices as fair as possible for our customers. In instances when we’re not provided an MSRP, we compare all of our vendors’ wholesale costs and other retailers’ selling prices to make sure our selling price is fair—even if we make a smaller profit margin than we usually do.

We only raise our prices if the manufacturer raises the suggested price

Manufacturers raise their wholesale costs and MSPRs occasionally due to inflation. Because of this, we perform quarterly checks to make sure that our prices match current MSRPs. When MSRPs are raised, we adjust our selling prices to match new MSRPs. On the occasions when MSRPs are lowered, we lower our prices as well. Furthermore, if our costs get raised but the MSRP doesn’t, we keep our selling price the same since we only price at MSRP. We also will never raise the price for products that are limited edition and are expected to sell out quickly. Instead, we limit these products to one per household in order to get music into the hands of as many people as possible and to try to prevent these items from going straight to the second-hand market.

We offer box sets at a discount

Almost all of our box sets are offered at a discounted price, all of the time. While box sets are awesome additions to any collection, a lot of folks overlook them due to the high price tag. We’ve decided to make these collectibles more attainable by discounting them, mostly between 7%-25% off and up to 70% off.

Our prices are the same online and in store

We’re regularly asked if all of our inventory that’s on our website is available in our brick + mortar store as well, and it is, and our prices are the same in both places. We do not have any “web exclusive” titles or any price differences associated with one channel over another.