Facing extinction like its cousin, the 8-track, the vinyl record has been saved from utter decimation due to the hard work and diligence of conservationists, enthusiasts and revivalists. And recent surveys say people are getting into the whole vinyl idea more and more. As they should. Vinyl is the best way to experience un-live music. At least the best we’ve invented yet. The actual thumbprint of the audio waves created by the artist are physically embedded in the vinyl record as the unique architecture that, when set in motion, communicates with the phonograph needle to bring to life the sounds put forth by the artist. You can’t get that sense of warmth and sincerity with a database of ones and zeros passing from CDs and mp3 files through your computer speakers.
Now you eagerly ask: So how do we get our hands on this awesomeness, this “vinyl” you speak of? First and foremost, find your local record stores. THEY STILL EXIST! Enter a museum of 12″ square canvases displaying amazing artworks, each unique to the album they represent. Have a funny conversation with the cynical hipster latte sipping record store employee. Learn something, share something, find new music, re-discover old goodies, buy a brand new record, or buy 5 obscure used ones, it’s all part of the experience.
Apart from the brick and mortar shop model, there exists the cyber market, and we here at the Record Collector’s guild want to let you know about the top 5 online vinyl subscription services available on the world wide web.
Feedbands is a record company that started its subscription back in the summer of 2013 and has since put out 20 albums, releasing a new album every month. Feedbands is constantly compiling its library of strictly UNSIGNED artists. These songs are constantly streaming on the Feedbands free streaming.
You can listen to every artist Feedbands has ever released on vinyl here.
As user vote on streaming artists, the Feedbands folks decide which one of the bands in their library should get their album pressed to vinyl. Feedbands contacts the artist, gets their permission, then pressings and distributions begin. The band gets paid a stipend, they keep all the rights to their music and they receive 100 vinyls to add to their personal merchandise stash. The rest of the pressings go out to the Feedbands subscribers all over the world. Every month, the Feedbands subscriber gets a surprise 12″ vinyl record, complete with the 12″ jacket, lyrics sheet, download card, certificate of authenticity, plus some random goodies like guitar picks or stickers.
Feedbands only presses an album one time, the first time, so all Feedbands releases are first pressings of a given album, making them true collectors editions.
The music pressed by Feedbands exists in vinyl form nowhere else other than the Feedbands shelves and in the hands of its subscribers. What a great way to garner a collection of rare art to show off to your know-it-all super-hip friend who thought they owned the most obscure exclusive stuff, like, ever. Disclaimer: the Record Collector’s Guild is owned by Feedbands.
Since January of 2013, Vinyl Me Please has shipped to its subscribers a new vinyl experience every month, promoting “deep, active listening,” with “music as the focus.” Every month, a surprise 12″ album invites itself in the subscriber’s home, along with a recipe for the perfect cocktail pairing to complement its listening experience. The album could be a re-issue of a relic in need of revival, or a previously unreleased work from an unknown, unsung music hero. Either way, the team at Vinyl Me Please works hard to search for “complete works of art from start to finish…an entire album worthy of taking up space on your shelf…” So far, with its archive of 27 albums, including the likes of Thelonious Monk, SBTRKT, Explosions in the Sky, and most recently, the late great J.Dilla, it’s obvious that the Vinyl Me Please library is both unique and diverse. Whether it’s classic jazz, indie rock or electronica, quality and timelessness are key elements to the selections you will find.
Vinyl Me Please works with the artist and the artist’s label to create a custom pressing with exclusive features like custom lyric books, art, and color vinyl inserts available only to their subscribers. Oh and don’t forget the exclusive access to all those add-on extras like playlists, downloads, interviews offered to members of Vinyl Me Please. “The Standard” is a particularly unique feature which offers subscribers an informative forum, a “one stop source for all things we think are cool in the world of music, gear and lifestyle.”
Apart from Feedbands and Vinyl Me Please, one can find a super hip subscription outfit on the web called VNYL. Super cool super simple web design, funky layouts and a fun little intro video. Sign up for a monthly subscription, choose from their “#vibes” categories of music to establish your musical preferences, and a hand picked stack of albums will reach your doorstep every month. Keep the ones you like, send back the ones you don’t. You can even add your own little personal blurb about any album you receive, and your addition will join a long list of entries from other subscribers, viewed as a collective community commentary. Although a non member cannot obtain much more info about the services provided, it is quite obvious that pretty much any well known album can be found in their libraries.
Prescribed Vinyl has a huge library of well known artists and boasts a deep catalog for EACH of their four main genre categories. You can sign up for a subscription to Funk/Soul/Jazz or Indie/Alt Rock or Hip Hop/Beats or Electronica/ Dance/ Downtempo. Or all of them. Or any combo you like. Check out what they have, sign up for the month, or 3, or 6, or a whole year. Besides the 14 vinyls that have been released through the monthly subscription, there exists a huge library of vinyls that can be shopped and purchased at any time and without any subscription. This library includes Rodriguez, Ty Segall, RJD2, The White Stripes, A Tribe Called Quest, Silverchair, Jedi Mind Tricks, Thom Yorke, Ratatat, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Dave Brubeck, The Black Keys, Daft Punk, Blockhead, Deerhunter, Tame Impala, Allah Las, Pixies, The Shins, and on and on and on…
Martha Stewart would love to receive a subscription from Turntable Kitchen, the cutesy, well packaged online food/music company that pairs 7″ singles with interesting recipes. Their monthly subscribers get a fancifully arranged, color coordinated, ultra aesthetic combination of a 7″ vinyl single, a digital mixtape, and some ingredients and recipes for the whole pairing experience. Once you’ve listened to your 7″ vinyl single, you’ve probably only diced some garlic, so you’re going to have to upload that digital mixtape to keep your musical experience going. If you’re less about the vinyl, and more into dainty dishes and clever packaging, check out Turntable Kitchen. Their focus lies with food and its presentation more so than the experience of listening to a full length album. Even though Martha Stewart has done more time than Johnny Cash, you’d probably rather have Johnny put together your vinyl package than Martha. If you’re all about the vinyl that is.
So there you have it. Go get some vinyl. Hit up your local shops or get online and surf the options. It’s all out there. Careful, though, once you start your vinyl collection, you won’t stop. It will become a healthy addiction that any witch doctor would recommend.
Comment above to win free vinyl:
Each week the Record Collectors Guild chooses a commentor to receive any Feedbands vinyl for free. You can listen to all the music feedbands has released on vinyl by visiting feedbands.com/stream/vinyl. These are limited-edition first pressings of the most talented contemporary independent artists.