Vinyl is increasing becoming more of a regular alongside t-shirts, buttons and hoodies at concert merch tables. But is it smart to purchase a record at a concert in the midwest?

Consider asking yourself these five questions before tossing down cash for some souvenir vinyl while at a show.

Are you ready to hold that album the entire night? Sure, you could buy it when you leave the venue at the end of the show. That also means you run the risk of the album being sold out at the merch table. If you’re planning on buying one early, you might want to consider where you’re going to stash it until the end of the night. It’s even more difficult at standing room only general admission shows. I watched a guy spend most of a show holding his freshly purchased album high in the air during a packed Against Me! show at Codfish Hollow Barnstormers in Maquoketa, Iowa a couple years ago. His album might have been safe up there, but the people directly behind him surely weren’t happy.

Rob Carroll photo

Have you checked the weather forecast? At some point, you’re going to have to leave the venue during a rainy night. You probably should think about how you’re going to stuff that album under your shirt. Oh and if it’s an outdoor show, you might as well forget it. You’ll have to contend with not only rain, but your own sweat during steamy summer nights. Mother Nature can be rather fickle when it comes to weather in the midwest.

Are you just making an impulse purchase? Another way of saying this is “does this album have any unique tie to the show you just attended or the band’s current tour? If you are looking for something to remember a specific tour, maybe a concert t-shirt or poster would be the best option. You could buy the same album when you get home and forego all of the above issues.

Rob Carroll photo

Are any of the albums at the merch table limited edition? Don’t totally skip past the vinyl selection at concerts just because you don’t want to deal with the hassle of carrying it around. You might actually spot some hard-to-find albums. It’s not uncommon for a band to offer special limited edition releases, unique colored vinyl and more.

Is monetarily supporting the band important to you? If the answer is yes and you love vinyl, then you should definitely buy albums directly from bands. When you buy direct from an artist, the profit is being divided among less people. There isn’t a store or distributor getting a cut of the money. Most of the profit is going back to the band. Plus, less fingers touching the album you are about to purchase might even mean lower prices than what you would find in a store or third party website.

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