In a world gone digital, a Denver-based record-a-month club called Vinyl Me, Please is keeping the analog party rockin’, one record at a time. The 5-year-old company has been making a name for itself locally with events and local artist spotlights at Dallas bars such as Shoals Sound & Service.
Chicagoans Matt Fiedler and Tyler Barstow started their company with one simple question: Who would pay $25 to receive a new record of a different genre in the mail each month? The co-workers and fellow record collectors got started with just 12 paying members.
“The goal is to broaden your musical profile,” partner Matt Hessler says. “With VMP, you’re getting something unique each month — even something you may have never heard of before.”
The service grew rapidly; by the end of Vinyl Me, Please's first year, it was shipping hundreds of records a month. The company relocated to a Colorado basement, where the owners and a small group of friends packaged and shipped all of the records.
Today, the team sends out more than 20,000 records a month to 39 countries, alongside cocktail recipes, original artwork and other bonus content to enhance the listening experience. Subscriptions start at $25 a month, and fans have three subscriptions options.
The vinyl club also publishes an online magazine, complete with profiles of young artists from across the country. “We want to shine a spotlight on up-and-coming artists who are doing things a bit differently,” Hessler says. For Dallas, this meant a feature story on local rapper T.Y.E., whose album 32 is nominated for Best Album at this year's Dallas Observer Music Awards.
Vinyl Me, Please also hosts monthly listening parties called The Spins at 35 venues across the U.S. Hessler says the club doesn't make much money off of these events. Instead, the team sees it as an investment in its partner communities and a way to foster a love of vinyl.
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“Many of us grew up listening to our parents’ vinyls, and that’s how we came to love this kind of listening experience,” Hessler says. “But nothing compares to being amongst old and new friends and seeing that needle drop on the record.”
The Spins parties typically occur the second Thursday of each month. Six of the 35 venues are in Texas, with local DJs acting as unofficial Vinyl Me, Please brand ambassadors. The next Dallas event is Thursday, Dec. 14, at Shoals Sound & Service in Deep Ellum, where the selection will be Miles Davis' Sorcerer.
In addition to throwing Spins events, Hessler says Vinyl Me, Please plans to grow its services by adding a genre-based subscription and experimenting with other kinds of events. “I’d love to do an all-hip-hop vinyl party,” Hessler says. “All of our events will always be about bringing together passionate music fans, no matter the genre.”
But no matter how Vinyl Me, Please expands, the club will remain true to its original purpose. “We truly believe vinyl is the best way to listen to music,” Hessler says. “That’s the reason we do all that we do.”