Matt Fiedler, Vinyl Me, Please
Interview by Laura Piety
A Rverie conversation with Matt Fiedler and Tyler Barstow, Co-Founders of Vinyl Me, Please, an awesome music start-up that bucks today's web streaming culture by sending you one must- listen, amazing vinyl record a month.
Can you give us an overview of Vinyl Me, Please, what you guys do and how it started?
We originally had the idea for Vinyl Me, Please 2 years ago while we were both working at a startup in downtown Chicago. We spent a lot of our time talking about music and during the course of that started talking vinyl. Neither of us had any records yet, but we both wanted to get into collecting them so we started looking around to see if any record clubs still existed. Both of our dads had been in the old record clubs, so we thought maybe some of those were still around. There wasn’t anything that appealed to us though so we decided to start our own.
We originally started getting into vinyl because we love complete albums and see them as the central piece of artwork inside of music. Technology has provided a huge amount of growth and help to the music industry but one of the things that has gotten lost (in our opinion) in the digital age is the power of the album, and we want to help bring that back.
Why vinyl, what sparked the resurgence?
That’s a complicated question and I’m not sure that either of us fully know why, but as far as we can tell it’s a tangle of reasons. It’s tied closely with the increasing love for low-tech, throwback versions of all sorts of different creative and lifestyle products and outlets that focus on enriching offline, analog experiences. People seem to be getting exhausted from constantly being plugged in and are looking for simpler, more meaningful experiences with both people and things they love. It’s possible that technology has overstepped its bounds a bit and the trends we’re seeing are a reaction to that.
There’s also the simple fact that a record is tangible representation of something you truly love. You can’t put an iTunes download or your Spotify app in a frame and show it off to your friends when they come over. A record is part artifact and part relic -- something you can take pride in owning.
Another claim is music “just sounds better” on vinyl. With the progress that’s been made in digital lately, it’s hard for the average listener to tell the difference, but there is a certain warmth that can’t be easily replicated. The crackling and popping, while imperfections on their own, make listening to albums a lot more… real. It’s kind of like having a real fire in a real fireplace vs. streaming a video of a fire to your Apple TV. It’s just not the same.
What do you guys offer your customers?
Our primary goal is to create an intimate experience around music and music discovery. To that point, we feature one record we think is essential to any record collection. We wrap it up, seal it with a kiss and deliver it right to the doorstep of subscribers worldwide. Included with every record is a custom cocktail pairing (recipe) and a limited edition art print inspired by the record. All of our records are limited edition pressings, made exclusively for Vinyl Me, Please. * Record collectors rejoice *
In addition to the record, subscribers get access to our weekly music digest, The Standard, where we highlight new videos, releases, playlists, free downloads, interviews and other related product/gear reviews.
As a startup, how have you got the word out about Vinyl Me, Please?
We didn’t spend any money on marketing whatsoever in our first year of business. We grew primarily through word of mouth, relying heavily on promo from the artists we featured as well as from our current subscriber base.
Recently, we’ve been putting more intentionality around our marketing while seeking features in big name publications. We were the top hunt of the day on ProductHunt just a few weeks ago, which resulted in features from Yahoo Tech and FoxNews.com. That kind of stuff always helps...
Have you always been interested in music?
Yep, music has been the center of our lives since we both can remember.
Matt’s love for music is largely influenced by his dad. He grew up listening to his dad’s records and dancing around in his diaper while his dad’s cover band practiced in the basement. He went to school at Belmont University to study music business & entrepreneurship and has worked numerous non-paying jobs in the industry since.
Tyler was raised around music, with a dad who was a drummer and a grandfather who is a conductor and music professor. He grew up playing piano and guitar and spent some time in college pretending to be Glen Hansard and playing on street corners. He’s now an avid DJ and producer and spends a lot of his free time writing songs.
What’s it like working for a start up- how do you balance work and life?
It has a lot of highs and lows, and it takes a toll on you if you don’t take care of yourself and have a healthy lifestyle. Creating something takes a lot of work and effort, and also forces you to confront a lot of your insecurities and weaknesses. It’s something anyone can do, but it isn’t for everyone.
In general, anything worth doing is both rewarding and difficult, and starting a company is no different. It requires a lot more of you than you want to give at first in order to be successful, and it’s a hell of a rush when it works.
For more information visit http://vinylmeplease.com
Images courtesy of Vinyl Me, Please