Music is a physical experience. Sound is nothing more than vibrations in the air, through our bodies, and into our eardrums. And current technology has brought more music into our homes than ever before. We have unprecedented access to millions of songs; all we have to do is ask our favorite digital assistant, and music plays.
But we’re still missing a crucial segment of the experience.
With the ongoing pandemic, many musicians have turned to livestream concerts to reach fans, but at least for me, that experience falls flat. My laptop’s tinny speakers and banner ads flashing in the sidebar can’t replace real live music. Frankly, nothing will. There’s no online equivalent to the concert experience.
The Physicality of a Vinyl Record
In that absence, where do we turn for the physical experience of music? Well, many people have turned to making music of their own. But for those of us with two left ears, one great answer is vinyl. The ritual of taking a record from its sleeve and dropping the needle on the spinning disc is the perfect antidote to an overdose of Alexa.
To that end, here are 10 services that deliver a vinyl record to your door every month so you can continue to experience music safely at home. In no particular order:
Pairing an exclusive mix of “indie rock, electronic jams, and more” with beautiful original cover art and colored vinyl, Vinyl Moon makes for a musical experience bursting with creativity. Explore new artists curated by Brandon Bogajewicz, the blogger behind The Burning Ear.
How much per month? $30
What do you get? One vinyl “mixtape” LP
Curator Drew Holcomb brings you limited edition pressings, colored vinyl (often autographed), listening notes, and more. Previously featured artists include Chris Stapleton, Patty Griffin, Dolly Parton, The Lumineers, and Brandi Carlile.
How much per month? $27
What do you get? One LP with an option to add another
Combining the power of technology with the soul of analog, VNYL allows you to connect your Spotify, Discogs, Soundcloud, Last.fm, and Instagram accounts to build your music profile. Then choose a vibe, and VNYL’s team of curators will select 3 records you’re sure to love.
How much per month? $39
What do you get? Three LPs
Is 45 RPM more your speed? This UK revolution delivers a monthly collection of underground indie, alternative, and rock tracks with a variety of 7” singles. Perfect for filling up your vintage jukebox!
How much per month? $30
What do you get? Five 7” singles
What happens if you like music, but you also like food and/or coffee? Big problem, right? Not with Turntable Kitchen, who will send you a 7” single, a digital mixtape, and either coffee beans or ingredients and seasonal recipes to go with them. Or opt for an exclusive LP of new artists covering classic albums.
How much per month? $25-30
What do you get? One 7” single and coffee or ingredients, or one cover LP
Not ready to commit to someone else’s taste? Looking for vintage vinyl? Choose your own records with Classic Vinyl Record Club, or allow their curators to choose something fantastic for you.
How much per month? $22
What do you get? One Classic LP
Build your collection with your choice of Classics (focusing on jazz, blues, and soul), Essentials (the best of indie rock, metal, rap, folk, country, and Ethiopian funk), or Hip-Hop (I bet you can guess that one). Vinyl Me Please presses records with some of the most familiar names in music, recently including John Prine, Killer Mike, Billie Holiday, and The White Stripes.
How much per month? $33
What do you get? One LP
Like VNYL, Black Box Record Club connects to your Spotify or Discogs account to curate 2 premium vinyl albums to your taste. Recent selections include Bob Dylan, mxmtoon, Mumford and Sons, Outkast, Phoebe Bridgers, and The Rolling Stones.
How much per month? $40
What do you get? Two LPs
The longest running vinyl record subscription service in the UK, Wax and Stamp lets you relive the serendipity of finding something new in a record store. With an eclectic mix of genres too many to list, Wax and Stamp sends out the best releases and obscure re-releases of the year.
How much per month? £30
What do you get? One LP plus one single or EP
If you search hard enough, you can find a vinyl record subscription for just about every genre you can imagine. For instance, if you’re a lifelong punk fan, check out Get-Punk Record Club. Along with 1 or 2 punk records, one lucky subscriber each month will receive a rare release like a Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar.
How much per month? $26.50
What do you get? 1-2 records, depending on retail value
Growing up, Brian always believed he'd be a novelist and in college studied Creative Writing. But along the way, his grandmother gave him her 35mm SLR. Photography immediately took over his life. After several years of freelance photography, he has found a new love for building websites, growing online communities, and frequenting library book sales.