A jukebox can add a lot of character to your home basement or garage. In addition, a jukebox can be a large revenue generator for your small business. There are just a few important things to consider before you make that large purchase.
1. Media Type
What kind of media you would like your jukebox to play is the first thing on the list. For a home or personal jukebox consider the type of music media you already own. If you have a large collection of 45 rpm vinyl records then it would be wise to shop for a 45 rpm jukebox. However, if you own a large collection of CDs then, of course, you will want something that can play that collection. A jukebox intended for business use will receive a lot more use and as such, reliability and ease of use is paramount. In that case, consider a digital media jukebox. A machine that plays digital files will not break down as much as a CD jukebox which has more moving parts and discs which can become scratched. Ultimately the choice is yours. If you want the jukebox for its unique and retro feel than a CD jukebox will likely be the best balance of modern and vintage technology.
Next, think about the age of the machine you are looking for. A collector may want one of the original Seeburg or Rock-Ola machines from the 1940s and 1950s. These will be more difficult to find in good working condition but the craftsmanship will be unmatched compared to the modern machines of today. Just expect that an older machine will require more work to restore it to working order and to keep it operating in tip-top shape. Modern jukeboxes have largely tried to recreate the feel of those mid-century machines with hand crafted cabinets and kaleidoscope lights but come with newer technology packed inside. Class D digital amplifiers, aux stereo inputs and more reliable mechanisms are just a few examples of the upgrades a modern jukebox will offer. If you wanted a jukebox that played digital music than modern would be your only choice. Some companies make digital music jukeboxes styled like the 1940s and 50s machines (Rock-Ola and Crosley), while some make machines that look more like a computer or iPad (TouchTunes).
3. Coin Operated
This is going to largely depend on where the jukebox machine will be placed. A business will most likely want a machine that accepts coin or dollar payments in order to generate additional revenue. A personal owner probably does not want to cough up a quarter every time they play a song in their own home. Of course, this is not always the case. A business owner may want to offer the jukebox as a free service to their customer while a personal owner may find it fun to have a coin operated machine at home. Just keep in mind that coin operated machines will be slightly more expensive than those without a coin mechanism. In some cases it can be in the order of 10% more in price.
Of course, one’s budget for the machine will largely determine what type of machines they can look at. If vintage is what you seek, the price will be largely determined by the decade you are looking for. Assuming a good condition and fully working machine, the most expensive vintage units will be from the 1930s-1950s. From this era, expect to pay somewhere around $20,000. Prices get cheaper as they get newer (slightly counterintuitive). Jukebox machines from the 1970s and 80s will run you around $15000 or so on average. A newer jukebox from the 1990s or even a newly produced machine from the current decade will usually start around $8000 new.
These are just a few of the things to think about when purchasing your jukebox. Personal preference will also play a large role in your selection. If it looks good to the eye than go for it. Just make sure you fully test and examine the machine before you make the large purchase, especially if it is a used or older machine.