Review of the record subscription service VNYL

by doc_nornor


If you’d like to skip the review and get to the good stuff, there is a discount link for 50% off the three record subscription box which is valid for life at the end of the post!


A few weeks ago, VNYL contacted me on Instagram and asked if I would like one free month of their subscription service in order to check them out. I’m always a little hesitant in saying yes to these sorts of promotions, as I want to make sure that I absolutely love what I’m promoting and not just being used as an advertising platform. As this subscription service is basically a record surprise based on your specific tastes and collection, I didn’t know what I was going to get, and that made me a little nervous about accepting. I don’t want anyone to waste their time and money sending me something that I’m not going to like and therefore not going to promote or suggest. But three free surprise records was too much to pass up, so I decided that I would get the box and just do an honest review of my experience whether I liked the service or not. I absolutely love the idea behind this subscription, and thought it would be a great risk free way to test it out for myself.


So what is VNYL?

Record subscription services are not exactly a new concept. They’ve been around for decades! My parents used to get a monthly “Record of the World” subscription back in the 70’s. What makes VNYL different is that when you sign up, you create a profile to tell the curators a little about yourself. You add your musical likes and dislikes, you add your Discogs (really helpful if it’s complete – ours is currently not), you link your Spotify or other streaming services, you link your social media, and you tell them what you need more of or what you absolutely cannot abide. This is a fantastic concept!

Then you chose a monthly “vibe” where you can select one record of your choice from their records of that month and two curated records, or you can go full surprise and just get three curated records. I went for the three curated records. And then I waited with baited breath for them to arrive.


What I got

And arrive they did!

When I got my three records, I was very pleased with what they decided to send me:

1. Joy Division – Unknown Pleasures 

I mentioned that we wanted some Joy Division for our collection, so I was really happy to receive this classic which we didn’t have.

2. Soccer Mommy – Clean

I had seen Soccer Mommy posted a fair bit on social media and had been meaning to listen to her, so I was excited to receive this album. It definitely didn’t disappoint and we love it. It arrived unsealed, but it’s in good condition so I don’t really have any complaints. On the handwritten card they send with the package explaining their selections, her voice was described as similar to Alison Mosshart from The Kills. Now, I love the Kills. A lot. And after listening to this album, I have to say that this was a really strange comparison, and I don’t think it’s accurate at all. But each to their own!

3. Naked Giants – SLUFF

This is a band from Seattle that we hadn’t heard of before, but we ended up liking them quite a lot. This record might not have been something we would buy ourselves, but we were very pleased with it and are happy to own it now.

   

A box of three records per month is priced at $39 USD. International shipping to Australia is $30. This works out to be about $95 AUD at the current exchange rate. As records of this standard are usually between $30 and $40 in Australia, this is not far off what three records would cost here (maybe a little less than what you could get them for here). In that regard, this is not too bad a price for this subscription service for us over here, and if you are in the States, I think it’s a pretty good price for three records! Correct me if I’m wrong.


What I Loved

Personally, I think this is a great idea for a record subscription service. If it’s carried out well, I think it’s an awesome way to add new records to your collection that you might not have otherwise heard about. I found the user interface of the website easy enough to use, although I was a little confused by the “vibe” selection at first (I got there in the end), and it’s not made abundantly clear how much you are going to have to pay before you press confirm, which I always find a little alarming to say the least. The shipping was really quick to Australia, which is always a huge bonus because that doesn’t always happen for us. I was very happy with the selection that they sent and love all three records.

For me it was a great experience and I have already placed an order for next month using the discount code below!


Potential Issues

If you look up reviews of VNYL online, unfortunately you will see quite a few of negative reviews over the past few years.

I’ve seen reviews where people received things that they already had, which were listed on their Discogs profile. Obviously, that is less than ideal. I’ve also seen some reviews where people have received broken or warped records. Clearly, that is unacceptable, but can happen with any delivery service, including Amazon. The real issue in my mind is for those people who have experienced these sorts of issues and were not helped when things went wrong…which is pretty much defeats the purpose of subscribing to something like this. A big part of a subscription service, in my mind, is to have excellent customer service to keep people coming back even when things do go wrong, which they undoubtedly will from time to time.

My experience with them has been very positive so far, and I hope they have ironed out these types of issues.


The Verdict?

Despite the negative reviews I’ve seen online, I was very happy with my experience and have already signed up for another month at the 50% off discount rate. I really like this subscription service and I hope they can overcome some of the issues that some customers have had. Receiving broken records, or records that you already have that are listed on your Discogs account is probably going to be a deal breaker for a lot of people, so I hope this stops happening because I think the idea has a lot of merit if implemented well.

This is a perfect gift idea for a fellow record lover (especially one that has an up to date Discogs account). I feel like this service is aimed at a younger demographic of people in their 20’s to early 30’s, judging mainly by the types of music they seem to stock, and I think would make a great gift for someone in that age group. It’s pretty decent value and would be great for a newbie collector who is just starting a collection, someone who is interested in discovering new music, or maybe even an adventurous collector who seems to have it all, and can be a bit tricky to buy for.

I think the key is to keep an open mind with a service like this. You need to be prepared to receive something that you don’t necessarily like, and it’s probably best if you resign yourself to the fact that you might get something you already have. In these cases, I think the best thing to do would be to sell it on, or gift it to a friend, instead of trying to send it back, especially if you are an overseas customer!

VNYL gets 4/5 stars

I pretty much deducted a star for their website. I think they could improve this by making the vibe selection a little easier to understand and navigate, and making the pricing structure, including delivery cost, a bit more transparent before having to click confirm.


The Deal!

If you’re keen on giving this service a try at a reduced cost, then I have a little gift for you. If you sign up to this newsletter you’ll get you a discount link that gets you 50% off the three record subscription plan that is valid for LIFE. That’s $19.99 USD for three records. So even if you don’t like what you receive, or if you already have it, it’s a cheap gift to give to a friend, or possibly make a few bucks on if you decide to sell it ! And for full disclosure, I am not affiliated with VNYL and I don’t receive anything when you use this link. It’s just a way for me to share the love and get people to try this service at a reduced cost. So I hope you enjoy!

First, subscribe to the VNYL record subscription service.

Next, sign up to this newsletter  to get your discount link