Since 2007, sales of old-school records have been inching upwards as a “vinyl revival” has steadily picked up steam. In fact, vinyl sales are now rising in double digits year on year. In 2018, those at UK record-shop group Rough Trade “were up more than a quarter”, the FT recently reported, while in the US a total of 17m vinyl albums were sold last year – up 15 per cent on 2017. One US e-store catering to the growing tribe of record enthusiasts is Vinyl Me, Please, which offers three different subscriptions (each from $25 a month) that explore myriad music genres through exclusive vinyl releases. “We believe in the power of the album as an art form,” says CEO Matt Fiedler, who founded Vinyl Me, Please with Tyler Barstow in 2013.
The flagship Essentials subscription features an appealingly wide-ranging selection of albums across genres and eras, which, as the name suggests, are considered integral to any modern record collection. This could be a fittingly delicate powder-blue version of the iconic Nina Simone Sings the Blues, a pressing of country superstar Loretta Lynn’s seminal Coal Miner's Daughter or a 15th-anniversary reissue of Canadian indie-pop chanteuse Feist’s sophomore album Let It Die. The blues-, jazz- and soul-focused Classics, meanwhile, ranges from out-of-print, hard-to-find works such as Laugh To Keep From Crying by little-known 1970s Philadelphia funk-soul band the Nat Turner Rebellion to legendary jazz pianist Blossom Dearie’s eponymous debut. For rap and hip-hop fans, the dedicated mix might include Erykah Badu’s mixtape But You Caint Use My Phone or southern rap albums such as Lil Wayne’s Tha Carter III.
As well as the subscriptions, the shop drops exclusive pressings weekly, such as a translucent green reissue of Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together (which was limited to 1,000 copies) and champions up-and-coming musicians with its VMP Rising series (albums usually about $20). This month also saw the launch of VMP Anthology, with a box set of six foil-stamped and pressed albums centred around legendary jazz label Blue Note Records. With limited-editions such as this often selling out swiftly, this is an online space to keep tabs on.