If you are a vinyl collector, you will likely understand the struggle to pay a lot of money for new and ancient records. This is likely down to the recent resurgence that vinyl records have had over the last five to ten years. Sometimes it can be nearly impossible to find the records that you want, and when you do, they are too expensive to buy outright.
But what if I told you that there were subscription services out there that cater to send you vinyl records based on your own personal preferences, curated by specialists! This article looks to give you seven vinyl subscription services, showcasing what they have to offer, their perks, their unique qualities, and their price points.
Furthermore, it will explain why collecting vinyl records has become so popular and why you may want to begin doing it. If that wasn’t enough, I will also showcase the four primary vinyl types. If you are new to vinyl collecting, it will be easier to follow.
The recent rise in popularity of digital streaming services like YouTube and Spotify have made music more accessible than ever before. Now, you can skip or choose a song at the push of a button and share playlists with friends from the comfort of your mobile device.
However, not everybody wants that; some people still prefer the old-fashioned method of taking a record from a sleeve and placing it on a turntable. Some of us are still old romantics and want something more physical because it garners a greater appreciation for music and what it means.
There are a few reasons as to why vinyl is said to be better than digital:
- They offer more of a rich and diverse sound thanks to the grooves on the disc itself. This sharper and crisper sound is what makes vinyl so attractive initially.
- There is a vintage and collectable feel about vinyl. Many of the cover artworks are incredibly designed, making them ideal for collectors or sellers.
- It takes us back to the magic of buying a record. This is something that I feel has become a lost art with this new digital generation. There is something special about searching for a record, finding it, and taking it home with you. Clicking a button and downloading the album dampens your appreciation for it, in my view.
- Back to the whole sound thing, the sound of a digital song is not as good because often, it is truncated to fit on your phone with millions of other songs. A classic 12″ LP may only feature 10-12 songs and has its own unique piece on the disc, allowing for a fantastic sound experience.
- Through buying and collecting vinyl records, you can make money! Yes, there is a horde of collectors that will pay a lot of money for older records in good condition.
What are the main types of vinyl?
Four main types of vinyl are often referenced. Each of them has different functions. An important term to remember beforehand is RPM, which stands for “Revolutions Per Minute”. This simply references the number of rotations that the vinyl will do in one minute. Usually, the sound quality will vary based upon it. Records are designed to be played at either 33 1/3 RPM, 45 RPM, or 78 RPM.
To begin, LP stands for “Long Playing”. The 12-inch LP is typically the most expensive because it is the largest and the slowest of the vinyl’s, meaning it can play more songs on one side.
Typically, 12-inch singles would have an A-Side and a B-Side. On the A-Side would be one song, usually the biggest song on the album, and on the B-Side would be the other songs and maybe some acoustic or live versions. Still in circulation today, 12-inch singles have become more of a collector’s item and are commonly used by DJ’s and collectors.
Considerably smaller than the other two, 7-inch records usually had one song on each side and were used in jukeboxes. The hole is much larger than on different record types, making it easier for jukeboxes to grab and play the record.
Less commonly known as “Extended Play Records”, An EP usually has more songs than 7-inch or 12-inch variants. However, it would also have less music. Designed for 33 RPM or 48 RPM, they can come in 7 or 12-inches.
1. Vinyl Moon
Independently curated and designed by vinyl lovers, Vinyl Moon is one of the more unique subscriptions on the list. Each month, the team curates an exceptional record spanning every genre, with 10 new songs pressed onto a specifically designed vinyl. The cover artwork is created by independent artists, and often, the record itself is artistically designed.
This means that for $26 per month, you are getting a hand-picked and unique vinyl. For those that value originality and the discovery of new artists, this subscription box is a treasure. Currently, you can only subscribe to one vinyl per month. This is because each record takes time to curate and create. Still, for the avid collector, it is a no-brainer. This original and inexpensive subscription is an excellent option for you or as a gift for a music lover.
2. Vinyl Me, Please
Giving you the option of choosing from three different tracks, Vinyl Me, Please offer a little more curation on your part. This lets you highlight the genres you prefer. The first track is “Classics” and contains blues, soul, and jazz dominant vinyl’s. The second is “Essentials” and offers a more widespread selection of tracks spanning different genres. The third track type that you can choose from is “Rap and Hip Hop”, which is the most popular, containing some of the best classic and modern rap and hip-hop tracks.
They believe in the power of the album as an art form and suggest that there is a story behind every record. One visit to their website evidences the great appreciation that they have for the vinyl. For as little as $33 per month, you too can become a part of that community.
3. Black Box Record Club
One of the most popular vinyl subscription services in the world right now is Black Box. There are a few reasons for this, in my opinion:
- The curators choose two LP’s per month for you based on your Spotify or Discogs playlists and collections. If you are not happy with their choices, simply send the vinyl back unopened and get a new replacement. This is a nice feature that prevents you from the risk of getting a record you already have or do not like.
- Members can enter giveaways to win vinyl or audio equipment. This is a nice touch and shows that Black Box care about and value their members.
- Black Box offers some of the best value on the list.
For just $40, you get two LP’s along with some custom stickers and art prints in your subscription box, as well as access to their giveaways and member emails. Shipping in the US is free but international shipping will be a little more expensive.
4. Flying Vinyl
Speaking of International, it is only fair to include at least one UK based company on the list. For £20 per month, you get access to five 7-inch vinyl from various genres. Each monthly box comes with stickers, polaroids and a booklet giving you all of the details behind your new records.
The box is curated monthly and contains new indie, and alternative tracks pressed on an A and B-side. If you prefer more mainstream or classic artists, then this is probably not the subscription service for you. Still, if you are open to discovering new artists and opening your tastes to new music. Then Flying Vinyl is an affordable and excellent option.
What I like about Vnyl is their willingness to integrate with more digital music forms. When you subscribe, you link your Spotify account and choose a “vibe”. Then the curators at Vnyl will hand-pick a record for you based off of your listening preferences. This eliminates any nasty surprises where you might get a record that you do not like.
They also have a cool $10 referral bonus, so if you get a friend to sign up, you get a $10 credit. You can sign up for $39 per month, and if based in the US, you can get free shipping.
They also have a beautiful gift membership which lets you gift 3 vinyl’s for $20, and it comes with a gift box and a redeemable invite card. It is the perfect gift option for any music lover. You can also avail of their 3-month gift box for $60, which gives the gift of three vinyl’s a month for 3-months—outstanding value for so much content.
6. Blind Tiger Record Club
A Nashville based record curation company, BTRC offers some of the most contemporary and modern vinyl selections of any on the list. Choose from a list of genres when you sign up and get a record based on your music preferences.
Blind Tiger chooses one record per genre each month. There is a massive variety and selection of great records. From Taylor Swift to Van Halen, every music lover is accounted for here. Each month you not only get your record, but you also get a detailed email before your record ships. This email gives you clips of songs on the record, videos, and descriptions of the songs on the vinyl too.
There are a few plans to choose from. They cater to international users, have their own merchandise, and even have a podcast. Everything about Blind Tiger Record Club is fantastic. For $35 per month, it is an excellent investment for those that take their record collection seriously.
The final subscription on this list is one of the more unique ones. It offers more than just good vinyl; it offers good wine and an informative read too. Based in the UK, for £40 per month, you can avail of one 12-inch LP, a bottle of specially selected wine by award-winning merchant Great Western Wines and a copy of Stylus magazine, featuring interviews with different artists and articles food and wine.
Stylus offers a more rounded experience and is a perfect gift for the wine and music lover in your life. However, Stylus will send you out two LP’s instead if you do not want the wine. However, there is probably no better feeling than dropping the needle on new vinyl and enjoying a glass of red on a Friday evening. So treat yourself; you deserve it!