Subscription boxes have been getting popular over the years, and more of them are popping up than ever. We haven't seen any like VNYL yet, though.
As a vinyl lover, I was skeptical to join VNYL. For one, I'm the type of vinyl shopper that I will only buy albums in this format that I truly love. I usually stick to Spotify for first listens and then buy the albums on vinyl if I think they're worthy enough. Also, the box is pretty pricey in comparison to other boxes, coming in at $36 a month for the three vinyl set, the most popular selection.
I decided to try VNYL after seeing some of their current selections available. Members pick their preferred vibes, and curators then pick vinyl that both fit the vibe and the member's tastes. Members link their Spotify account, so curators can see what they're currently listening to as well as their Discogs account to see what members already have in their collection to prevent sending vinyl that they already own. Members are also able to fill out a profile to give curators more information about their musical tastes.
Some vibes already have preset albums linked to it. For example, the current #FindingEmo vibe contains Fall Out Boy's American Beauty/American Psycho, Panic! At the Disco's Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die, and My Chemical Romance's I Brought You My Bullets, You Brought Me Your Love. However, if members pick a preset vibe and already own a copy of that album, it cannot be switched out for another.
VNYL then sends the member the vinyl albums, which they are free to keep or share with friends however they would like. The box also includes a note from the curator who made the picks explaining their decisions and the connections with the member's listening preferences.
For my first month, I decided to go with a vibe that needed to be curated to my tastes, so I picked #sweaterweather. When picking the vibes, the member can also listen to a playlist that gives a peek as to some of the picks that a member may get in their box. In my box, I received Heems' Eat Pray Thug, Lissie's Back to Forever, and State Champ's The Acoustic Things. Once my box was delivered, a playlist with the albums also showed up on my Spotify account.
I admit, I never heard of any of these artists (minus State Champs, which I've heard of but never heard their music), nor did I actually think I would like any of them. I listened to Back to Forever first, thinking it as the safer choice and soon fell in love. My curator said that the album was chosen due to my love of Fleetwood Mac, and I was able to hear the connection instantly.
The next album I listened to was Heems' album, which, I admit, is good but not really my taste. While I understand why my curator decided on that album (I've been listening to Mac Miller's The Divine Feminine on repeat a lot lately), it was still not my cup of tea. Still, it was nice to listen to another artist and see the connections between the two.
The last album, The Acoustic Things, didn't receive an explanation on my box, but I still loved it anyway. No explanation was really needed; it just felt like the curator paid close attention to what I loved and made decisions that really made sense.
While, I admit, I really wish I was able to return albums I didn't enjoy, that's not part of the service. With any subscription box, you will always get things you love and hate, but that's just part of the fun. An awesome members' perk is discounts on vinyl, equipment, and apparel that can be added to a person's box.
Members also get to enjoy a member's exclusive chat that includes the curators as well, having them share music interests, what they've got in their box and more.
VNYL is really ideal for vinyl lovers. Is it perfect? No. But, really, which service is? Still, the service is definitely one that every vinyl lover should take a chance on, especially if they want their collection to grow and want to be introduced to artists they might not otherwise get to experience.
**This is not an ad.**