To start this, here’s a simple question: How many grooves are there on a record? Answer: One. It’s a spiral groove that starts at the outside of a record (in most cases), and spirals in. Why is that important?
Unless you own a turntable that uses a laser to read the groove (yes, there is such a thing, and they generally start at around 9 or 10 thousand dollars), you damage a record every time you play it. As the needle rides through the groove, it carves microscopic pieces of the record. It is unavoidable and, with a good turntable, the damage won’t be noticed from play to play. Now, imagine that there is a single fingerprint on the record.
As the needle rides through the fingerprint, it collects the oil from the print. That oil sticks on the diamond tip of the needle. And once it does that, other bits of dust and carved vinyl stick to the oil. And it builds and builds, like a snowball rolling down a hill. It turns the .07mil needle tip into a tip that does more and more damage.
The picture shows what you are dealing with. This is the reason it is so important to clean the tip of your stylus on a regular basis. It only takes a few seconds, and it will allow you to play your records with minimal damage for years to come. There are inexpensive methods that will greatly extend the life of your collection. We can help.
Your records are an investment. Take care of them by taking care of your turntable as well!