Consumers flock to Netflix for a number of reasons, but perhaps the most prevalent is that the service eliminates pesky things like interacting with other people and having to go outside. If you’re an equally busy or socially inept music fan, there’s now VNYL, a service marketing itself as the “Netflix of vinyl records.” Between this and GrubHub, I guess I won’t need to leave my Chicago apartment all winter long.
Similar to its movie-based counterpart, VNYL is a fairly straightforward concept. First, subscribers choose between several categories, called #vibes, which include #cooking, #betweenthesheets, #rainyday, and #work. From there, the service sends a custom pack of LPs based on the #vibes selection. Users can keep any of the LPs for $12 each or return any record for another #vibes selection at the end of the month. If you’re a Gen Xer or Millennial, it’s almost the equivalent of the Columbia House Record Club.
“Right now I feel penalized for not being able to share what I’m listening to and get decent recommendations on vinyl that I may be into,” VNYL founder Nick Alt told Mic recently. “[The inspiration for VNYL] was taking some of the best parts of Beats, Spotify and SoundCloud and translating them into a tangible experience.”
It’s a shrewd business move given the current make-up of the music buying landscape. In 2014, consumers purchased some 9.2 million vinyl records, the most since Nielsen started tracking sales back in 1991.
VNYL is not without its competitors, however: Another service called Vinyl Me, Please sends subscribers a new limited-edition record each month for $23, while Wax & Stamp and Klekt will launch later this year across Europe.
While it seems like a natural progression for vinyl consumption, wax heads do have their concerns. Several commenters have questioned whether the quality of the vinyl will hold up after repeat use-and-return cycles, in addition to what effect playing potentially scratched LPs could have on their stereo equipment. Plus, as vinyl users have a clear interest in a more tangible musical experience, it might be difficult to pull them away from their beloved brick-and-mortar shops.
Below, enjoy the next bext thing: listening to music while watching a vinyl record spin.