5 ways the Discogs app will change record collecting forever

5 ways the Discogs app will change record collecting forever

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Buyers and sellers alike have waited a long time to take Discogs on the road.

And this week, the Portland-based tech start-up turned universal record marketplace delivered, launching its first official app for iOS (the Android edition is still in beta testing).

We say official, because although several record collection apps have drawn from the Discogs API (most notably Milkcrate) and integrated key features, this feels like a watershed moment. With close to 3 million users participating in over 6 million record sales last year, the potential for the app to become a key part of every record shop and record shopper’s toolkit is huge.

discogs app_screenshots

With the masses clawing at the door, Discogs explained to The Vinyl Factory back in November what the new app delivers: “The app syncs with your Discogs account, so once you login you can fully track your Want List and Collection, and add and subtract from these. You can search the entire Discogs database of over 6,467,000 releases. You can also use your phone’s camera to run a barcode scan, which is a great example of how the app can offer certain unique Discogs features that aren’t available through the main site.”

Although you’ll still be taken back to the site proper to make a purchase, with geolocation built in, it’s easy to see how Discogs’ record store database Vinyl Hub will stand to benefit from further integration down the line.

Having spent twenty four hours with the app since it launched yesterday, here are five ways in which the app may very well change the way you buy (and sell) records for ever.


© The Vinyl Factory, Utrecht Mega Record Fair 2015, Photography by Amar Ediriwira

1. No more record rip-offs…

Surely the biggest single benefit for record buyers with the Discogs app will be having a constantly updating price guide for over 6 million records at your finger tips, meaning you should never in your right mind pay more than a few quid for that Marvin Gaye & Diana Ross LP in the local market for over a tenner.

Likewise, gone are the days where a wily record store head will hoodwink you into believing something is rarer than it is. Information is power and provided you don’t mind whipping your phone out at the counter, you should never pay over the odds again.

While you can currently check the price range each record is going for, marketplace history is still yet to be integrated.


DSC_0915

2. But you can wave goodbye to those bargains…

While buyers are busy exulting their new found financial autonomy, it’s not all bad news for those on the other side of the counter. Many shops already price by Discogs averages, but now that both retailer and customer are going to be largely drawing form the same bank of data, you can wave good bye to bargain finds and mis-priced rarities.

There’s an ethical point here too, which will further accelerate the changes the internet has visited on record collectors. Buying and selling records to a standardized marketplace puts the whole delicate, romantic, wonderfully exciting eco-system of digging for records and discovering new old music at the mercy of the market.

Although generally cheaper than most shops, Discogs is not an bipartisan marketplace and has been increasingly infiltrated by hawkers and price gaugers (Record Store Day anyone?), which makes reading its pricing system as gospel particularly dangerous. If you work in a record shop though, you can expect life to get a little bit easier.


Discogs App - Collection

3. You can forget forgetting what you’re after….

From now on, the list of every record you’ve ever wanted on Discogs will be with you, in your pocket, on your phone, whenever you may need to call upon it.

One of the big positives of the new app is that it has stripped down the Discogs experience to you and your relationship with the database, putting Wantlists and Collections front and centre of the clean design.

Added search flexibility will also allow you to order searches more intuitively to fill any label or artist gaps you may have.


bar scanner

4. You’ll suddenly care where the barcode is…

It may just be a bit of fun, but the Discogs barcode scanner works a treat. Although most records pre-1980 will be counted out for not having a barcode at all, the feature makes it much easier to find information about a record you’re weighing up but unwilling to take a punt on.

The one we’ve tested so far is so rapid it’s practically scanned the code before you’ve found it.


© The Vinyl Factory, Mega Record Fair Utrecht 2015, Photography Anton Spice

5. Maybe, just maybe you’ll spend less time in front of the computer…

Buying records on the internet is addictive and has spawned a generation of armchair collectors snapping up rarities (and copies of ‘Rumors’) from home in their underwear, emerging only to sign for special delivery first pressings from Japan every once in a while.

Sure, it’s comfortable, safe and avoids all the potential dangers associated with going record shopping in the real world. With this tool now uploaded into your phone, perhaps the app will encourage the cave dwellers out there to get their fingers dusty once more.

  • Talbot

    Why the hell are companies still making iOS apps the priority and Android users need to wait (or not get the app at all)? Apple’s largest percentage of the market is in the U.S., and even there Android outsells it by over 2:1. Android is over 80% of the market in some countries. So frustrating and confusing.

    • Ysstog

      Because iOS users spend more money.

      I’m also an Android user (and own a record store) and am disappointed in the lack of official app for the platform, but that’s the reason iOS goes first — research shows those people spend more money.

    • Rob Banker

      As a vinyl collector and mobile software developer, I can say that the economic factor is not as big as you might think. It is *extremely* difficult to make money on either Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. The expected price point is $0.99 and $0.33 of that goes to Apple and Google. For $0.66 (before tax), I have to sell a lot of apps to even break even on an app I may have spent 300-400 hours creating. Not to mention that app buyers seem to feel entitled to free updates forever for their $0.99. Kinda like buying a car and expecting to get the new model every year after for free. Ad-supported apps are a visual and usability nightmare. In-App Purchases are often used as a sneaky way to get a buyer to download a hobbled app.

      Honestly, as both an iOS and Android developer, I prefer working on iOS apps. The Xcode development environment is improving by leaps and bounds with every release. Android is improving, but it is considerably more difficult to create an Android app that looks and works as well as an iOS app when you have to make accommodations for literally hundreds of different device types, screens sizes, and Android versions. Having fewer Apple products to target with little-to-no concern about what random customization or custom ROM the user is running has its advantages.

      I like both platforms and both have their unique advantages. Given a project where I need to produce native apps for both platforms, I will start with iOS first — not for money but for a better software development experience.

      • Óscar Adán

        I subscribe all the above said as a iOS and Android developer.

    • Rudy™

      Agreed. As a developer, marketer and monetization specialist, I’ve found it unwise to develop on minority platforms first, no matter what “difficulty” might be involved in doing so. You go for where the audience goes; you don’t do what’s trendy or hip, which is the trap that Discogs has just fallen into–appease the hipsters first, damn the rest. Apps are on the way out anyway–Discogs should have focused on a responsive site instead. I don’t want more apps cluttering my phones, tablets or watches (or even my computer for that matter), and there isn’t much of anything accomplished in this app that can’t be done on the site.

  • Alex Green

    Disapointed with Discogs App. I downloaded Discographic App for Discogs yesterday and while I just wanted something to input what I have (so I don’t end up with doubles), it does a TON more than that. It seems fairly intuitive – the only downside is that most of my old used records don’t have barcodes. So I’m stuck entering by title or catalog number – oh well…

  • Maybe the only reason to buy apple products ever

  • Lidia Pardo

    I did go through the app extensively and Discographic is 10 times better than the new Discogs app. Why didn’t they get with this guys instead of the MilkCrate people? Just my thoughts.

  • Óscar Adán

    Discographic is a more complete option for a Discogs app if you feel Discogs official app a bit basic. http://apple.co/1I9et1V

  • Nico Pou

    i don’t get the whole “revolution” factor of the official discogs app. it’s basically Milkcrate, rebranded. An milk crate has been around for years now.
    I also prefer Discografics, more features, more color, and great support.

  • Adada Hue

    It’s so sad that Discogs is only obsessed by the marketplace and how to make more money of it and the launch of the others Ogs smells just like that, hungry for $$$$. For once Discogs could give something back to the users (who gave them their database for free) by finding ways to make it better. For example they could go to big collectors’ home and do professionals scans of records covers. I’m sure there’s other way to make it better. Records are so much more than buying and selling !!!

    • Adada Hue

      And in 10 or 20 years nobody will give a shit about the record market but the database will still be as useful as it is now.