Streaming has become a trend as consumers shift from paying for music ownership to paying for music access. It has changed the way people listen, share and discover songs and artists. But for some listeners, interacting with albums through a screen or device doesn’t provide the same tactile, tangible experience as vinyl. Matt Fiedler, CEO and co-founder of Vinyl Me, Please, has personal experience with records. His dad, an avid collector who had several thousand records, used to pay his son to take his LPs and burn them onto CDs (and then eventually put those CDs onto the computer).
Fiedler became interested in vinyl, and would often visit record stores wanting to buy something to start his collection. But, as he told PYMNTS in an interview, there were “a bazillion” items on the shelves. As he was making a pretty meager salary at that point, he didn’t like the idea of spending any amount of money on a record that he didn’t know if he would enjoy. The situation created, in his words, a “decision overload.” Today, Vinyl Me, Please provides an alternative to that uncertainty.
The company helps consumers discover music through its subscription service. Each month, they feature a record that they believe is essential to the modern vinyl collection. For subscriptions, consumers can choose from three different "tracks,” each of which has a different flavor of curation ranging from essentials to classics and rap and hip-hop. Consumers can choose three-month, six-month or one-year terms, and can pay with credit cards or PayPal.
The company’s essentials track, for instance, is what Fiedler said the company thinks of as “the must-haves” – the items that everyone should have in their collections, but probably don’t. They run the gamut from 50s soul and jazz to rap/hip hop and indie releases. The classics track is centered on soul, blues and jazz music, while another track features rap and hip-hop. After the consumers sign up for a subscription for one of those tracks, the company notifies them which record is on its way approximately 10 days before it ships. They also provide some additional context and rationale for the selection.
The service is designed to provide an experience of discovery and curation. But if the consumer doesn’t want a particular item or has been eyeing something else, they can opt-out of the selection and find an alternative.
For this month’s selections, Vinyl Me, Please is offering “U.F.O” by Jim Sullivan for the essentials track, “The Freedom Rider” By Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers for the classics track and “How I Got Over” by The Roots for rap and hip-hop.
The eCommerce Experience
Vinyl Me, Please has two components to its business: the subscription offering, which it calls the record of the month, and an eCommerce operation that allows consumers to buy individual records from an online store. Subscribers can also shop online.
When it comes to the company’s target market, Fiedler said they cater to two different types of people. Some people are rigid in their tastes, believe they know what they like and want to make their own selections. That group tends to heavily interact with the company's eCommerce offering. The record-of-the-month consumers, however, are more “interested in that discovery experience,” Fiedler said.
Whether consumers are looking to discover new music or buy a specific record, digital innovators like Vinyl Me, Please aim to provide a destination for vinyl through online retail.