The Rise of Vinyl Subscription Services
Vinyl subscription services are an excellent way to build a collection of interesting and rare records. Vinyl sales data paints a clear trend: every year, vinyl sales of vinyl are going up and it only makes sense that vinyl subscription services would be part of this trend. Why is vinyl gaining so much popularity? Vinyl is the perfect musical antidote to digital overload and the best way to experience music other than live performance. The actual soundwaves 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.
Here are the top Vinyl Subscription Services ranked:
The cost: a flat $20/month
The gist: Feedbands is a vinyl subscription service built on top of a streaming service. Top-voted independent artists get a limited, exclusive first vinyl release.
Best features: easily skip any month, choose this month’s record or 45 other records, participate in a passionate musical community impacting the careers of up and coming artists.
The verdict: The records ship promptly in an beautifully designed and functional box. The records were not warped at all, did not skip, and the music was beautifully mixed, mastered and engineered. It sounded great on a high end turntable. Every vinyl is a limited, first pressing of an album from an artist who’s career is taking off, yet is still relatively unknown.
Feedbands is a record company that started its subscription back in the summer of 2013 and has since put out nearly 50 albums, releasing a new album every month. Feedbands is constantly compiling its library of strictly UNSIGNED artists, meaning a Feedbands release actually impacts the careers of the 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.
Vinyl Me, Please
The cost: about $30/month
The gist: Vinyl Me Please releases well known artists signed on major labels, like Beck, Weezer and Nina Simone.
The verdict: Vinyl Me Please is a great way to passively collect records from huge, well-known artists.
Since January of 2013, Vinyl Me Please is a vinyl subscription service that 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 great albums from massive artists, whether it’s classic jazz, indie rock or electronica.
VNYL is another vinyl subscription service where 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 –
Prescribed Vinyl is a vinyl subscription service that 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.