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From a dance DJ’s bedroom hobby to the world’s leading online resource for vinyl lovers, the growth of Discogs has been dramatic. Christopher Barrett speaks to the site’s founder and his core team about the evolution of the community-driven platform

Launched back in 2000 with just a handful of listings, the Discogs database now contains details of more than 10.7 million physical music releases – 5.9 million of them on vinyl. Considered the go-to resource for record collectors and sellers worldwide, the community-built and developed website has 5.4 million users and its marketplace sees more than 19,000 purchases of vinyl records made every day. It’s the biggest virtual record shop in the world.

Almost anything can be found on Discogs, whether it’s a David Bowie reissue LP for less than £10 or a rare 7" of the Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen – which last year sold for $15,882 (£12,264).

“Just keeping Discogs online costs around $1 million a year in hosting and management fees due to the amount of traffic,” says chief operating officer Chad Dahlstrom.

Discogs has come a long way since it was founded in 2000, when Intel software developer and aspiring amateur drum ’n’ bass DJ Kevin Lewandowski found a new hobby – creating an online discography of electronic music releases.

“I wanted to help people learn more about records,” he says. “This was before Facebook and forums, so to talk to people online you used email lists. I was particularly active on a list where people were asking questions about records and labels, things like that. People were calling for an IMDB for music.”

Inspired by user-built content sites, such as Slashdot and Open Directory Project, Lewandowski worked nights and weekends on a simple initial version of Discogs.

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Find the complete article and many more in this issue of Long Live Vinyl - Apr 2019: Record Store Day
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