It's Time to Cash In on Your Music Collection

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Digital music services have come a long way. Pandora (P) and Spotify combine for more than 150 million active listeners, and now Apple (AAPL) is making its biggest play for the streaming market with the rollout of Apple Music.

It has never been easier to rely on Internet services to provide a steady flow of tunes. Whether you're craving the personalized radio stylings of Pandora or prefer to pick out your own tracks through Spotify, the way that a growing number of consumers are experiencing music is changing. If you're not one of the 154.2 million people who actively listen to Pandora or Spotify, there's a good chance that you will inevitably be one of them.

With tens of millions of songs available on most of the leading streaming platforms, access to these deep jukeboxes is as close as an online connection. Even Internet access isn't required all of the time for some premium services that can store select playlists for you to crank out when you're offline.

So let's talk about that record collection of yours. It may have been pretty impressive at one time. It was the soundtrack of your youth. However, if your vinyl records and CDs are collecting dust, there's a good chance that you don't need physical recordings anymore. Your record collection served you well, and now it's time to cash in on your music.

Passing Along the Music

There are plenty of ways to unload your catalog of albums. You don't need to settle for a garage sale, though that's not necessarily a bad idea unless you're sitting on some valuable rare editions.

The same Internet that's providing you with instant access to tens of millions of songs is also your tool to make some dough on your physical recordings. If you're loaded with vinyl, your first and perhaps only stop should be Discogs.

The leading marketplace for vinyl makes it easy to list and sell an old record. Listing an item is free, and Discogs collects a reasonable 8 percent from any album that's sold (with a minimum of a dime and a cap of $150). You'll have to assign your vinyl a grade based on its condition, but it's a great way to see what others are selling that record for. You don't want to give away a valuable recording for pennies at a garage sale.

Discogs also connects buyers and sellers with 8-track and cassette tapes, but vinyl is the top draw. Discogs' marketplace also lets users swap CDs, but there are plenty of other outlets available for compact discs, which are easier to ship and less prone to scratching.

One popular place to sell CDs is's (AMZN) trade-in program. CD owners will receive instant quotes on used CDs that Amazon is willing to buy. It usually won't be as much as you could generate in a private sale, but at least it's instantaneous. Amazon also foots the postage when you ship your approved titles to the leading online retailer.

Get the Word Out

Just listing your music on a marketplace may not be enough. It may sit there for a long time, and it may be easier to reach out directly to fans. It's easier than ever these days thanks to social media.
Sellers can post on Facebook fan pages for the bands whose albums they are looking to unload. There are also online forums where you can reach out to devout fans who may be willing to pay a premium for recordings that aren't easy to obtain.

It all boils down to simplifying your music collection. You may not make a mint by selling off your music, but it will generate at least some incremental revenue. Creating space is also something that is appealing. The digital music revolution is here, and now it's time to cash in.

Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of, Apple and Pandora Media. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. Check out our free report on one great stock to buy for 2015 and beyond.
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