Love listening to music, but hate all the time and effort it takes to pick out something you like? Good news! There's a burgeoning industry of vinyl subscription services, what they like to call "Netflix for record lovers," making the rounds.
The formerly arduous process of developing personal music taste -- going to record stores, skimming Pitchfork reviews, consulting with friends, attending shows, etc. -- now has been simplified in a way even Pandora can't compete with. And it's analog, baby.
See also: Why Wu-Tang's "Shaolin" Business Model Is Brilliant
Get your tunes almost without lifting a finger.
Things got a little better with the invention of the web. No longer would it be essential to leave home and put money into the local economy to obtain music, but then there were even more choices at our fingertips. Who wants to clog their schedule reading about artists and streaming songs to find something listenable? Uh, not us.
That's why services like VYNL and Vinyl Me, Please are here just in the nick of time. For between $12 and $27 per month, you can take nearly all of the guesswork, effort, and individuality out of your record collection. (Jack White's Third Man Records' Vault also offers a subscription service, but it's far too specific for serious consideration here.) Why take the word of any number of record critics that the War on Drugs' Lost in the Dream is worth owning, when a package that might contain it can show up at your door or place of work?
Still, these services aren't perfect. The main flaws:
Packages Require Extra Time for Opening
With a sharp knife or scissors you can speed up the process.
Records Need Protective Cardboard Sleeves
Vinyl is delicate and prone to scratches, so allow extra time for taking the platter in and out of its sleeve.
Only Half of the Music Plays on Each Side
Standing up every 15 to 25 minutes to flip the record is a likelihood. An easy fix: position the record player within arm's reach of your bed.
In actuality, comparing these vinyl subscription services to Netflix is not entirely accurate. They're way easier! It's understandable that upstart companies want to circulate search-friendly catch phrases for bloggers to pass off as their own ideas in puff pieces, but don't get it twisted.
Netflix requires the user to type in search terms, scroll through, and commit to a personal decision. (Don't even get us started on their DVD service.) No one has time for that. The most a vinyl subscription service asks is for a choice of "vibe," like #betweenthesheets or #lazysaturday. If only we could just pick #doitallformealready, nahmean?
"[The inspiration for VNYL] was taking some of the best parts of Beats, Spotify, and SoundCloud and translating them into a tangible experience," VNYL founder Nick Alt said in a recent interview. We assume that those are websites that require a lot of browsing and uncertainty. Thanks, Nick Alt!
Like a Wine of the Month, Cheese of the Month, or Hot Sauce of the Month club, all that's required to be a part of a vinyl subscription club is for a relative of yours -- preferably someone you never have to visit -- to click a mouse a dozen or so times. The packages will start rolling in. And who doesn't love getting packages?
Find any show in Metro Phoenix via our extensive online concert calendar.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.