Vintage demo records, or "demonstrations", were promotional vinyl records sent to DJs, radio stations, or television stations to announce a new album release. Some demos, especially those containing songs released nowhere else, are very valuable. Proper care involves correct cleaning, handling, and storage, and doing so keeps your vintage demo in excellent condition for years.
Any dust particles in a vinyl record's grooves affect its fidelity and can also damage a turntable stylus. If left uncleaned, dust particles may become embedded, making them impossible to remove. Unfortunately, records build up static electricity and tend to attract dust. Proper cleaning removes dust particles from the grooves without driving them deeper. For regular cleaning, such as before and after playback, use an anti-static record cleaning cloth or brush, following the grooves in a circle. Less often, deep clean your demo record. Record cleaning kits with a directional brush, liquid cleaning solution, and another brush to clean the directional brush, are ideal for this task. A third newer method is to use an ultrasonic cleaning machine. Finally, before listening to your vintage record, ensure that the turntable itself is clean.
Correctly handling a vinyl means keeping other contaminants, such as the oil from your fingertips, away from the record. Never touch the surface of the record with your fingertips. If possible, wear clean, white, lint-free gloves. Just like a CD, always hold it by the edges and the centre hole. For larger records, use the third and fourth finger to balance the label at the centre, while using the thumb to support the rim. Do not place your record on a dirty or dusty surface. Moreover, avoid rough surfaces that can scratch it. To remove the record from its jacket, bow the jacket open and let the record gently slide out with its inner sleeve. Repeat the same procedure for the inner sleeve. Avoid unnecessary exposure to air and light. Lastly, always place it back in the jacket as soon as you finish listening.
It is very important to store a vintage demo record properly. Never stack them on top of each other. Keep them with other records of the same size, and place them vertically to prevent warping. For large record collections, use spacers every 10 to 15 cm. Since wooden shelves expand and contract, use metal shelves instead. Ensure that records are completely supported on the shelf and do not hang over the edge. Always keep shelves clean and dry. Moreover, place the shelves in a cool area, as heat warps records. Experts recommend temperatures between 18 and 21 degrees Celsius for records in use and a cooler 7 to 10 degrees for long-term storage. Finally, use polyethylene inner sleeves instead of PVC or paper ones.