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How to Ship Records Vinyl Distribution

how to ship records
CC image courtesy Alan Levine via Flickr

What is old will be new again. This is the life of “the cool.” For the past few years, vinyl sales have exploded. Vinyl records are hip again, and I imagine they’ll continue to be until cassettes make their long-awaited return, and after that, compact discs. It’s a vicious cycle.

But for now, we’ve got vinyl. With Spotify and iTunes, we select songs. Nobody has times for albums anymore. You click on your phone, you hit shuffle, the end. But the novelty of vinyl is that you listen to whole albums. You have to flip them over! They’re curated! And what’s cooler than that popping noise? Groovy.

So with vinyl records being popular again, it’s time we learned how to ship records. If you’re just shipping one or two records, it’s best to use small package mail. But for distributors, or others moving boxes of vinyl, LTL is a fine alternative.

Here’s a step by step process on how to ship your records:

      1. Remove the vinyl from the record over, and place it on top. Keep the vinyl in the inner sleeve. Put both the record and the cover in a plastic, resealable outer sleeve.
      2. Take a cardboard stiffener that measures 13×13 inches. This ensures that the whole record will be protected. Use masking tape to secure the stiffener to the vinyl on both sides. Having cardboard on both sides of the record will keep it from bending in transit.
      3. A record mailer box should resemble a small pizza box. Put bubble wrap in the bottom. Place the record inside, and then another round of bubble wrap on top. Close and seal the mailer box with tape.
      4. Once your vinyl records have been secured in their own packaging, you can put the mailer boxes in a larger box that will be picked up by the carrier. Be careful not to overpack the boxes, you don’t want too much weight on the vinyl. Put additional bubble wrap inside the shipping box to make sure the mailing boxes don’t move too much in transit.
      5. If possible, package all the boxes together on a standard-sized pallet. This will make it easier to move LTL.
      6. Before you ship your vinyl, get freight insurance. Make sure you have a valid invoice for everything that you’re shipping. This makes it easier to file a damage claim if necessary.

Those are the basics on how to ship records. As with anything shipping, the more packaging the better. You can choose to ship up to 3 LPs in one mailer box, but I wouldn’t suggest any more than that. And finally, vinyl records are expensive and fragile. Make sure you get with your freight broker to find out the most reliable carrier to use.


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