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The Broke Music Fan's Guide to Buying Music in Denver

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Sometimes a music lover has to stay home and get her fix from her own sound system. But buying music — even if it's not in the form of concert tickets — takes dollars, so what's a broke music fan to do? We're here to help with a few tips for scoring music in Denver within a reasonable budget.

1. Search for great deals at thrift shops and used record stores.

Many good music snobs are also music collectors with a soft spot for the obscure in vinyl or tapes. Record collecting can take a serious toll on the wallet, so instead of pre-ordering or buying new, even when purchasing a reissue or classic album, first try finding your favorite music in the discount section of a record store or a thrift shop. Check the condition before buying if you can; adding something pre-loved can add some spunk to your collection.

2. Pay for Spotify and support Bandcamps. 

The digital landscape has changed the music industry forever. Rather than ruining music with illegal downloading and oversaturation of the market, sites like Spotify and Bandcamp are actually making it easier for  musicians and fans alike to engage and purchase. For just ten bucks a month, you can use Spotify Premium to check out any local or national bands or artists you are curious about. If you love what you hear, a whole world of fandom awaits, and if you don't love what you hear, no harm done (and pennies in your pocket). Bandcamp and Soundcloud are great ways to get to know local musicians, and with Bandcamp, you can even make donations for digital downloads, or order physical merch. 

3. Buy cheap merch — including self-released albums — from local bands. 

Sometimes bigger bands and artists ask outrageous amounts for their merch. Mastodon and Clutch killed it at Red Rocks last summer, but more than $30 for a record or T-shirt is not exactly in the budget for the average music fan. One of the best ways to end up with some truly awesome records and other goods while supporting your scene is to buy music at shows from local bands. Often they only charge $5-$10 for a record or other cool keepsake. 

4. Sometimes, you've just gotta have that collector's edition. 

Okay, saving is all good and well, but you do it sometimes in order to splurge. Is it necessary to buy the Black Sabbath boxed set when you already have all the records and tapes, and even some assorted CDs? Of course! It comes with a booklet that has never-before-seen photos and fliers, as well as exclusive interviews! Sometimes, trying to save just isn't worth it.

5. Check out these free or cheap shows this weekend!

The Roxy Suicide, Friday, May 13, Streets of London Pub, free.
King Rat, Friday, May 13, Bowman's Vinyl & Lounge, free.
The Clearwings, Saturday, May 14, Syntax Physic Opera, $7.

Keep Westword Free... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Denver with no paywalls.

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Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.


Join the Westword community and help support independent local journalism in Denver.