Digging for Vinyl Records in Havana, Cuba

Sometimes we go to extreme lengths when it comes to finding vinyl records. Whenever I end up in a new city or a new country I always try to find some records. Unfortunately I can’t always buy them but I try.



In March of 2017 I went to Cuba for 7 days. Before leaving I tried to do research on record stores in Cuba and was always led to one single place, Seriosha’s Record Shop.


Havana’s Only Record Shop

“Tienda Seriosha” is on Neptuno No. 408, between San Nicolas and Manrique in Centro Havana. It’s one of the oldest record stores in Havana and probably the only one.

I was very happy to find the shop but I wasn’t as excited when I saw the records. They have been obviously neglected and are simply stacked up all over the place. Most come with sleeves although they’re still dirty inside and out. Many of these records are badly scratched and some of them are broken in pieces. Don’t freak out when you spot cockroaches running over the crates and records but do make sure there aren’t any inside the sleeves when you leave the shop, you don’t want to bring those back home (or even to your hotel).

You will mostly find Cuban records which is really awesome. There is a lot of latin, African and jazz records. You will also come across quite a few Soviet pressings of western artists such as Abba, Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and many others. Don’t be surprised if the covers don’t look “official”. Most of these LPs were pressed on Melodiya label in USSR and are unofficial releases although legit.

The price of these records is quite high in my opinion. The owner of the shop told me each record is 5 CUC (about $5 USD) regardless of the condition. Don’t forget that you will not find a single record in near mint condition. The price is obviously made for tourists as most Cuban earn about 20 CUCs per month.

Since they weren’t open to negotiating the price I decided to only purchase 4 or 5 records instead of the initial 20.

Here is what I got at Seriosha’s:

More info on discogs

More info on discogs

More info on discogs

Lazaro Ros & Olorun – cannot find it on discogs so I will be adding it there.

Songs and poems of Chilean revolutionaries, also not on discogs (yet).


Records on the 26th street, Havana

We had a friend in Havana who mentioned that he saw a guy selling used records in his backyard. This intrigued me and I certainly had to check it out. The seller is located on the 26th Street between Calle 19 and Calle 21. You’ll see the book and records in his yard from the street. Basically you can simply walk in and ask him for the records.

That man brought out a few piles of records and I started looking through them. Mostly Cuban and Americans LPs there. Once I selected a few the man announced the price of 5 CUCs per record. I took one and was about to leave. At this moment he announced that he had more records in the back that he sells for 1 CUC but they’re “not as good”. Once he brought them out I realized they were in the same condition as his “expensive” pile. Some of the same records were in both piles and oddly enough the cheaper copies were in better shape than the expensive ones. To be honest I think he always sold them for 1 CUC a piece but as he noticed the demand growing he raised his prices. Only when you end up not buying anything he offers you the 1 CUC records.

I bought 2 records from him after all.



More Vinyl Records in Cuba

As I was walking through the city I came across a few used book shops. They also had a few dozens records but these folks were asking for 10 CUCs per record. The condition of these LPs was also pretty horrible. Once again, no one was willing to haggle, apparently that’s not a big thing in Cuba.

I also came across records in various street markets. The sellers asked 10 CUCs for albums that have been left out to bake in the sun for years. They don’t seem to realize that ripped covers, deep scratches, exposure to sun and water, mold and lots of dirt all lower the value of these records. Needless to say, I didn’t buy anything at those markets. If you are curious to see them (since you are on a vacation and have loads of free time) check out Plaza de Armas on Saturday. There is a used book sale and many sellers have records. Who knows, you might get lucky and find something in decent shape! (but I doubt it…)

Another great way to find records in Cuba is by simply asking the people around you. You’ll certainly come across someone who knows someone who has some old records. Turntables are pretty much non-existent in Cuba at this point and people can’t afford new ones. Cubans don’t want to throw the records in the garbage and are willing to let them go. Friends brought me some records from Cuba and they found them by asking around.

Last but not least, there is It’s Cuba’s Craigslist and although there aren’t many ads, you mind be able to find vinyl records from time to time. Search for “vinylo”, “discos” or “discos viejos” and you might find something.


Final Thoughts

You can certainly find old vinyl records in Cuba. However most records will be dirty, scratched up and severely damaged, especially at the markets. Your best bet is asking around, this way you’ll have a chance of finding records in good condition for a 1 CUC or even less.


vinyl record storage

How To Store Your Vinyl Records

Whenever someone gets into listening to music on vinyl they might simply have a few records laying around. However as the collection grows, we realize we need to store them somewhere. There are bad and good ways of storing your music and this is the subject of today’s post.

How To Store Your Vinyl Records Properly

Check out this video with all the details and examples:

New to vinyl? Check out our Beginner’s guide to turntables.

1. Keep you records away from direct sunlight and heat sources.

The heat will warp your records and they will become unplayable with time. Make sure to keep your vinyl records away from heaters and other sources of heat. For example my receiver runs pretty hot and the ventilation openings are on the top cover. So I need to make sure to never put an LP on top of the receiver.

Direct sunlight is also a heat source. Additionally, bright sunlight damages the paint on cars over time. Just imagine what it will do to your records! If you value the covers of your records that usually come with amazing artwork then make sure to keep them away from the sun.

2. Storing Your Records.

If you have just a few records you might get away with a box or even a milk crate. Just make sure that the records fit freely into the box without you having to force them in. You don’t want to apply any unnecessary pressure on your LPs.

vinyl record storage

For a bigger collection you’ll need to find a better solution. Ikea’s Kallax (affiliate), formerly known as Expedit shelving units have become a very common record storing solution. They are inexpensive, sturdy, good looking and of perfect size for your records. You can buy them on Amazon, directly at Ikea or even through Craigslist and Kijiji. They come in 1X4, 2×2, 2×4, 4×4 cubes and a few other variations.

If you’re thinking of another vinyl storage solution you’ll need to pay attention to the size. It must be about 12″ deep (30.5cm) and at least 13″ (33cm) tall. It’s also preferable to have a divider every 10″-13″ (25-33cm). The dividers act as supports for your records and help you distribute the weight in a much better way. You don’t want 100 LPs leaning to one side.

It is very important to store your records vertically. Never pile them up on top of each other. Stacking them up will result too much weight on the records at the bottom.

Do not put too many records between the dividers. If you have too many records stacked into a box or a shelf, you will create ring-wear on your covers (that big visible ring in the shape of a record). It’s also annoying when you’re trying to pull out a single record and 3 of them come out.

vinyl records ringwear
Visible ring wear

When you don’t have enough records in your case, they will fall on the side and lean on that last record. Once again, too much weight being applied on a record will damage it.

3. Inner and Outer Sleeves

Outer sleeves are the transparent sleeves that protect your cover. These sleeves are great for protecting your records from dust as well as protecting your covers from dirt and physical damage. When using an outer sleeve, make sure to have the opening facing upward or downwards. If your outer sleeve opening is in the same direction as your cover opening, the dust will get in there. Also every time you’ll be putting your record back on the shelf, there is a chance that the outer sleeve will slip off.

Inner sleeves are usually the paper sleeves that protect your record. These sleeves go inside your cover. Just like with outer sleeves, make sure your inner sleeve opening is facing upwards. The first reason being that when the inner sleeve is facing up it’s actually protecting your record from dust. Also, if your inner sleeve opening is facing in the same direction as your cover opening, there is a chance your records will simply slip out and fall. This has happened to me more than once, before I learned I was storing my records wrong.

Putting your outer and inner sleeves in the same direction as your cover opening is certainly more convenient however it isn’t the proper way to handle your records. If your main objective is convenience then you should probably listen to music on your computer. Vinyl is not a convenient format and if you enjoy and value your records then you must take care of them.

Here are some outer sleeves I like – I always go for the 4mm thick ones for better quality and durability (affiliate)

4. Storing 7″ Vinyl Records

Just like your 12″ LPs, the 7″ records also need to be taken care of. Personally I’d suggest finding a covered box just like the one I show in the video. Most of the 7″ vinyl records will have very cheap and thin paper covers which will rip, bend and wear out. Having a closed box helps you protect them. It will also help you keep your covers looking great since they won’t get faded by the constant exposure to the sun light.

Flipping through your 7″ records is also a lot easier in a good box. I also store my CDs in the same box for convenience.

storing 7" records

I might have missed some details in this post so make sure to watch the video.

If you have any feedback, suggestions or comments, please do submit them in the comment box below. If you want to share your own vinyl records storage solution, tag us on Instagram @longplayvinyl


Incredible Amazon Vinyl Haul: 650$ worth of records for 100$

When it comes to vinyl hauls we’re usually talking about finding a mint record collection, or nice thrift store finds or even yard sale scores at low prices. I’ve seen a few videos on Youtube where people brag about their “Amazon haul” where they simply spent $50+ on a 2014 re-issue of The Wall. That’s not a haul. That’s not a deal in anyway.

However, in this instance I was able to get AC/DC’s Back in Black 2009 limited edition UK pressing for $5.50USD, brand new on Amazon. Also Led Zeppelin (Deluxe Remastered Edition) [180g Vinyl 3LP] for just $7.40 when Amazon usually sells it at $50+ and many other awesome deals.

Check out this video where I show off the 15 items that I got from Amazon at a fraction of their real cost:

And here is the full list of the items I received:

  • 2x Leonard Cohen – Popular Problems (LP + CD)
  • Flying Lotus – You’re Dead 4LP
  • Suicidal Tendencies – No Mercy
  • Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin (3LP)
  • The Beatles – Live at the BBC (3LP)
  • The Rolling Stones – Sweet Summer Sun (3LP + DVD combo)
  • Iron Maiden – Run to the Hills 7″
  • Iron Maiden – The Evil That Men Do 7″
  • Iron Maiden – Wasted Years 7″
  • Iron Maiden – Twilight Zone 7″
  • Iron Maiden – Infinite Dreams 7″
  • 2x AC/DC – Back in Black
  • Radio Radio – Havre de Grace (2LP)

By my standards it was a pretty awesome haul! I have shared these deals through different Facebook groups and even on reddit and lots of other folks were able to get some of these items at a discount. In the next post I’ll explain what happened and how I was able to get such low prices.

If we come across another sale like this one we’d happily share it with you! In order to do this, please go ahead and “LIKE” our Facebook Page. This will make things easier 😉



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