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Whether or not you collect vinyl records, you've definitely seen the ads. Vinyl subscription services have really kicked off in the last year or two, with unboxing videos becoming a phenomenon all their own — if you're one of the many people who sent me death threats for starting the VNYL unboxing trend, I'm sorry.
With all of the different ads, it's hard to know which one you want to sign up for (or if you want to sign up at all). Personally, I feel like it's the most fun you'll have opening mail once you hit an age where it's all bills and junk in your mailbox. It's like your birthday every time a box arrives, and you often discover new bands to love while taking part. And if you prefer handpicking your collection, it can definitely be a great gift for a friend during the upcoming holiday season!
So let's look at the pros and cons of some of the top subscriptions in the game right now. I've tested many of them and have avidly researched the rest. Let's dive in.
Genre: Whatever you like (good selection of pop punk/emo)
VNYL is the most personal subscription. They hand-select records based on your preferences as opposed to sending one record per month to all of their subscribers. If you keep your Discogs up to date, they’ll make sure they don’t send records you already own, and they check your linked Spotify account to see what you're enjoying right now.
You can sign up to receive one or three records per month from a variety of #vibes. These range from having all three records curated, to curating two based off one set record, to having all three pre-chosen. You choose your vibe each month, along with any records you want from the member store (once you sign up, you have access to a ton of discounted records, turntables, and merch). Americans have the luxury of free shipping, but Canadian buyers beware: shipping is currently set at $23USD (over $30CDN).
Another benefit to VNYL is their referral program. If you send a signup code to a friend and they order their first box, you each get $10 to spend in the member store. It’s a nice bonus for sharing something you like with others (good #vibes, am I right?).
If you’re looking to test it out, you can use my signup code to get in! Code: PAIGEBACKSTAGE
Genre: Cool hipster (pretend that’s a genre)
Vinyl Moon sends out a monthly mixtape of ten songs pressed onto the most glorious colour pressings you’ve ever seen. That’s wrapped up in a record jacket designed by a different visual artist each month, along with a note from the creator. On top of all that, you also get VIP access to monthly record release shows that are routinely held in different cities. WHAT.
I received a few of these last year and they didn't disappoint. The pressings were gorgeous, the art on the jacket was incredible (and sometimes interactive)... and I 100% trust Brandon's taste in music.
I think this is cool if you want to discover a bunch of new bands at once and aren’t looking to receive specific records. Plus, literally no one else is going to have this pressing with these songs together because it’s made JUST for Vinyl Moon.
Genre: Breaking artists (they’ll be famous in a week)
Vinylmnky has a WEIRD knack for picking artists that become the Next Big Thing moments later. Recent artists include LANY, Dua Lipa, MUNA, and Khalid... so you see what I mean. I feel like this service makes me cooler because I could be that snob to say, “oh, I had that record before they were mainstream.” I chose not to, but I can wield the power.
Vinylmnky sends their BROTM once a month with a lot of stuff. There’s a vinyl-sized biography included with the record, going through the history of the artist and the album. Then, you’ve got the “bonus.” This changes with each record because the artist gets to choose what’s included. Some of them autograph the record sleeves, some include a fancy lithograph… they get to select that piece of the puzzle and Vinylmnky gives them the freedom to do so. Kind of neat having the artist choose something for you.
Similar to the other services mentioned above, Vinylmnky has a store for members that gets them 20% off all previous BROTM albums that they may have missed before signing up. Cheaper than time travel, I think.
Flying Vinyl is a different idea entirely because instead of sending out records, they send out a box full of singles. Cool, huh?
Each month, they press five exclusive 7″ records that aren’t available anywhere else. At least one of those is guaranteed to be a colour pressing (and we all know I’m a sucker for colour pressings). Each 7″ contains two songs from a different artist, giving you a glimpse into five different bands you might enjoy. These also come with a booklet about the artists, as well as info about things like FV's annual festival.
This site doesn’t have any additional store features, so you either subscribe or you don’t. They have free shipping everywhere, and they're currently running a promotion that I keep seeing where you can get your first box completely free! Ahh!
Another thing I thought was cool about Flying Vinyl doesn’t quite come from the “vinyl collector” side of things. If you’re an artist and you think your music fits with the style of Flying Vinyl, you can submit your music to possibly be pressed for one of the subscription boxes. How sick is that?? They aren’t limited to signed artists or certain labels… I could record music and send it in to them if I wanted. And I might. But I won’t. But I could. And I most certainly will.
Magnolia Record Club
I love following Magnolia on IG because their photos are gorgeous and make me want to subscribe, but the style of music isn't at all what I listen to. However, I think this service is perfect for those who love folk/country/Americana music, and it fills a niche that needed filling.
With this service, you receive one pre-selected record per month along with a message from their curator, Drew. Their store offers the option to order past records, along with turntables, speakers, and accessories… however, I'm obsessed with their Magnolia mugs. I mentioned that in last year's video (linked above) and they mailed me a mug and I cried.
Vinyl Me Please
Genre: Cool indie/rock/pop (honestly, just like…~cool~)
Vinyl Me, Please was the first subscription service I saw when they started becoming ~a thing~ online. They send out one pre-selected “Record Of The Month” each month… but of course, there’s a twist. Each record comes with an art print and a cocktail pairing created specifically to match with the record. If you’re going to have a drink and listen to your new record, they want you to do it right. I can appreciate that.
I'm currently extremely jealous of everyone who received their 2LP colour pressing of The Notorious B.I.G.'s "Ready To Die" and I will probably end up signing up just so I can order it.
Similar to VNYL, VMP has a store with exclusive products for members. In a move that’s entirely their own, they also send out a weekly newsletter called “The Standard.” It’s full of playlists, new vinyl releases, free downloads, and whatever else they can cram into an email. Knowledge is power!
So there you have it!
Those are some of the top vinyl subscription services you can obsess over right now. What do you think? Do you like the idea of discovering something new chosen by someone else, or do you prefer buying your own records and getting exactly what you want?