The act of looking for vinyl records (wax) in a non-corporate, non-chain-retail establishment. It may mean mom & pop independent record shops, but could also refer to thrift stores, flea markets, estate sales, record shows, or any other sort of second-hand place for vinyl. If the shop's sign consists of someone's name, followed by the word "Records" ("Jim's Records", "Craig's Records", "Bob's Books & Vinyl"), chances are you'll be digging there.
"Digging" is short for "digging the crates", as most of these shops consist of an unorganized room filled with tens of thousands of records shoved in cardboard boxes and milk-crates of all sorts. "Digging" means to comb, or "dig", through these boxes, in search of great vinyl that has slipped under the radar. Most, if not all of these records, are second hand, and sold at prices well-under that of retail music. Haggling is expected.
The digging process takes hours at a time, then a few hours more on top of that, and anything less indicates that a person is "shopping", and not "digging". Astute diggers will be standing outside a shop as it opens, or showing up at a record show at 6 am, just as vendors are unloading their vans, to try and get the choice picks while one-upping the other diggers. A primary difference between "shopping" for records and "digging" for records is with the latter, you don't know what you're looking for upon entering. You dig, finding interesting things as you go, most of which you may never have heard of, and may spend an equal number of hours listening to/screening it all, before deciding what is worth purchase.
"Hey, I need some new records for tonight’s gig. Wanna hit up Virgin Megastore?"
"Nah, let's go digging instead. I hear Bob's shop got a new collection for sale, in from a friend's roommate's cousin's sister's brother-in-law, who was a DJ and died last week. We've got to dig through it before the other guys get to it first."
"Is John going to be there?"
"Naw, he's kind of lame. He only plays new tracks, bought retail. He doesn't dig."
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