Are vinyl records media mail | USPS Media Mail for Vinyl Records

Are Vinyl Records Media Mail? How To Ship Vinyl Records

If you’re in the market to ship some vinyl records using Media Mail, then this article is for you. Maybe you sell vinyl records and are looking to save on shipping, or maybe you’re trying to send a friend a vinyl record as a gift. As someone who frequently ships and receives vinyl records here is some information I wish I knew before my first experience.

Hopefully, you will find this helpful and that it may answer any of your questions before you head to the post office to ship your vinyl with media mail.

Are vinyl records media mail? Vinyl Records are considered sound recordings. According to the USPS , sound recordings, including vinyl records, can be shipped using Media Mail with their included incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings.

The questions that remain unanswered are whether Media Mail is the best option and how do we recommend packaging your records properly. We want you to be confident in your choice whether you choose media mail or not. So we have included some USPS links to help you understand their classification on vinyl records. 

How USPS Classifies Vinyl Records

According to USPS Domestic Mail Manual 173.4.1.e “Records, Phonograph Records” are classified as “sound recordings eligible”. On the USPS website, they allow sound recordings to be shipped using Media Mail with their included incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings.

There are however some restrictions to sending your records, and some tips, that you should be aware of before going to the post office. 

  • Your Media Mail package is subject to inspection. This is to make sure that you are not shipping items not included on the list of approved items eligible for the Media Mail shipping rates. Depending on your post office and the clerk you go to, they may or may not inspect your package. We have had this happen both ways several times. So to be safe do not seal your package until they have inspected it or be sure to bring some packing tape.
  • You can not include anything with the media items outside of your packing slip or receipts and the record’s standard contents. That, unfortunately, means you can not write a thank you note to your customer or include a card inside the gift box unless you write it on the packing slip.
  • Maximum weight of 70lbs. This means no shipping of your whole collection in one box! You can send them separately in multiple boxes all using Media Mail, though.
  • Media Mail packages must have a delivery address and the sender’s return address. If your package is inspected after shipping is accepted and it is determined you owe more postage, the post office may send your package back to the sender to collect additional postage.

Why Ship Your Records Using USPS Media Mail? Affordable Way To Ship Vinyl Records

We like sending vinyl records using Media Mail because you get a great deal on shipping rates and some awesome free add-ons that you just have to ask for at the clerk’s desk. How does $2.80 for 1lb sound? What if we told you it even comes with a tracking number? Well, with Media Mail that is the case. There are several pros and cons of using media mail for shipping vinyl records.

Pros and Cons of Shipping Your Vinyl Records Using Media Mail

Reduced shipping ratesSlow – Typical delivery is between 2-8 days
Free tracking numberPackage inspections
Already insured No additional advertising allowed in your box
Variety of packaging optionsLow priority
You can not upgrade the speed of shipping

Current Media Mail Shipping Rates*

Weight Not Over (lbs)CostWeight Not Over (lbs)Cost
* According to this pricing chart found on at the time of writing this article.

Given that vinyl records range in weight depending on the size, number of LPs, jacket, and press weight you could budget around 8oz per single LP.

We usually come prepared and budget for 1 pound per LP, although they rarely hit this rate, that way we can consider the rest additional savings. With the lowered shipping rates you are going to see some nice savings!

Steps For Using Media Mail With Your Records

  1. Be sure to leave your packaged vinyl record or records unsealed and bring your packing tape.
  2. Bring your properly packaged vinyl record to the post office unsealed.
  3. Be sure to already have your addresses written on your package. This is really just to keep things quick for the postal worker.
  4. Let them know that you plan to use Media Mail so they can inspect the contents. Depending on the post office and clerk they may skip this step and just ask you to seal the box.
  5. Once they have inspected the contents of your package they will ask you to seal your package.
  6. It’s important to ask for a tracking number at this point. Currently, according to, all media mail is eligible for a free tracking number. All you have to do is ask for the tracking number.

Pack Vinyl Records for Media Mail – Cardboard Mailer?

There are tons of options for packaging your vinyl records to ship using media mail. This makes this shipping method very appealing as a lot of other methods, such as flat rate, require a certain sized and shaped package.

Are Vinyl Records Media Mail? How To Ship Vinyl Records

Some people prefer using the USPS Priority Box #2DPCON-13-B-0008 which measures 12.25 X 2.875 X 13.375 inches when put together. However, if you leave the box flat instead of folding it into a box the record is reported to fit. We do not recommend this if possible as you may have to turn the box inside out, since it is a priority box, and label it as fragile for media mail. If you do not label this as fragile, there is a big chance that the records will be damaged or at a minimum, the jackets and sleeves will be damaged. 

We prefer that you purchase some vinyl specific boxes such as these found here on Amazon. This will allow for optimal protection for the record, the jacket, and the sleeves. This may not be feasible if you plan on only sending one album to a friend but if you are a trader or seller you can not skimp here. 

If you just want to send one album in a standard box, you can get some spare cardboard and cut two pieces to size 13 x 13 inches and sandwich the album inside. Securely tape the pieces of cardboard together and place this inside your box to be packaged for shipping. This will give at least some protection to the album and jacket. Just remember the post office may want to inspect the contents so do not tape it up until they have inspected.

Are Vinyl Records Media Mail? A Conclusion

According to our experience and the information we have provided, we feel that vinyl records are considered Media Mail and that this is a viable option for shipping your records.

Worst case scenario if your local post office disagrees with you, kindly show them the links on the USPS website that states otherwise or just upgrade to Priority Mail as the same package sizes still apply for only a small increase in cost. We do not really want to argue with them over a couple of dollars, but sometimes they may not understand exactly what you are shipping.  

Would We Ship Using USPS Media Mail For Records?

This depends on personal preferences as brought up in the chart of pros and cons. If I was just sending a record to a friend as a gift or for them to listen to, I would likely use Priority Mail. If I was a store or selling vinyl records online, I would likely go for Media Mail to save money and use Priority Mail to get the package to my customers faster and with a little more confidence when needed.

I hope you found that this article helped a little to walk you through the process of determining if vinyl records are media mail or not, and that you enjoyed some of our tips and tricks for packaging. We felt the information needed to be put out there in a clear discernible way.

Frequently Asked Questions – Safely Ship Vinyl Records USPS Media Mail

Are Vinyl Records Media Mail?

Yes, vinyl records can be shipped using Media Mail. Media Mail is a cost-effective option provided by the United States Postal Service (USPS) for shipping educational materials, including sound recordings such as vinyl records. However, there are certain requirements and restrictions that need to be followed when using Media Mail for shipping vinyl records.

How To Ship Vinyl Records?

To ship vinyl records, you need to follow a few steps:

1. Start by choosing the right shipping carrier. USPS, FedEx, and UPS are popular choices.

2. Pack your vinyl records securely using appropriate shipping materials, such as bubble wrap.

3. Place the records in a sturdy shipping box that provides adequate protection.

4. Ensure the records are properly cushioned and won’t move around during transit.

5. Consider adding insurance to protect your records in case of any damage or loss.

6. Seal and label the package correctly, including the destination address and return address.

7. Finally, choose an appropriate shipping service based on your requirements and budget.

What is the cheapest way to ship vinyl records?

The cheapest way to ship vinyl records will depend on various factors, such as the weight of the package, the distance it needs to travel, and the shipping carrier chosen. USPS Media Mail is often considered a cost-effective option for shipping vinyl records domestically within the United States, especially for lighter packages. However, it’s important to compare shipping rates and services offered by different carriers to find the most affordable option for your specific shipment.

How much does it cost to ship vinyl records?

The cost to ship vinyl records can vary depending on factors like the weight of the package, the destination, the shipping carrier chosen, and any additional services or insurance selected. USPS Media Mail rates for shipping vinyl records within the United States typically start at around $2.99 for packages under 1 lb and increase based on the weight and distance. To get an accurate cost estimate, it’s recommended to use the shipping calculators provided by the carriers or consult with their customer service representative.

How to protect vinyl records when shipping?

When shipping vinyl records, it’s important to take measures to protect them from damage. Here are some tips:

1. Use bubble wrap or similar cushioning material to wrap each record individually.

2. Place the wrapped records in a sturdy shipping box with enough space for additional padding.

3. Fill any gaps with packing material, such as bubble wrap or packing peanuts, to prevent movement during transit.

4. Seal the box securely using shipping tape.

5. Consider using “fragile” stickers or labels to alert handlers to handle the package with care.

By following these steps, you can help ensure that your vinyl records arrive in pristine condition.

Can I use any shipping box to ship vinyl records?

While you can technically use any sturdy shipping box to ship vinyl records, it’s generally recommended to use a box specifically designed for shipping records. These boxes are often slightly larger than the record itself and provide added protection with features like reinforced corners and padding. Using a proper shipping box specifically designed for records can reduce the risk of damage during transit.

How do I choose the right shipping carrier for vinyl records?

When it comes to shipping vinyl records, there are several factors to consider in choosing the right shipping carrier:

1. Evaluate the carrier’s reputation for handling fragile items like records.

2. Compare shipping rates and services offered by different carriers.

3. Consider any additional services or insurance options that may be important to you.

4. Look for carrier-specific guidelines on shipping vinyl records.

By considering these factors, you can make an informed decision on which shipping carrier is best suited for your needs and budget.

Is insurance necessary when shipping vinyl records?

While insurance is not mandatory when shipping vinyl records, it is highly recommended. Insurance provides coverage in case of damage, loss, or theft during transit. By adding insurance to your shipment, you can have peace of mind knowing that your records are protected and you may be eligible for reimbursement in case of any mishaps.

How long will it take for my vinyl records to arrive?

The delivery time for vinyl records will depend on the shipping service and carrier selected, as well as the distance between the origin and destination. Domestic shipments within the United States generally take between 2-9 business days, but this can vary. Factors such as holidays, weekends, and unforeseen circumstances may also affect the transit time. When shipping internationally, the delivery time will depend on the destination country’s customs process and transportation network.

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