Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by FMills, May 13, 2015.
They need to BRING BACK COLUMBIA HOUSE!
I think I could do this if I knew the person well enough.
Going the other direction the problem would be that since I'm a music nut you'd have to dig really hard to find something I hadn't at least heard of by this point, and most of the records that would be true surprises are too pricey or rare to be part of this. I think this guy meant well but is over his head. However, I'd be totally pissed if someone sent me Pablo Cruise.
Actually, the real innovation here would be to make your customers sign up for discogs and have them load in their existing collection. The human curator looks at that and then bases suggestions off of that. It would be much more reliable than answering a few questions and then letting a human recommendation engine take over.
You'd need to have some way to measure someones "adventureness" for lack of a better word. I'm happy listening to an ECM album one second and Metal Blade the next, but not everyone is like that.
Maybe this is just some angry old white guy who has finally found a way to monetize his anger at the internet, the new economy, and hipsters.
I am the most forgiving guy in the world. In fact, if your dog makes a mess on my lawn, as long as you clean it up and promise to never do it again, you can come back tonight and repeat the whole deal. But what makes me NOT believe the guy's innocence in this matter is the complete lameness of the titles he sent out. To start a venture of this kind you absolutely must have a certain hipness when it comes to music. No one I've ever met in 45 years of buying music is that pathetic to think a Dan Ford Coley lp is desirable.
If I were the guy who set this thing up, and if I had good intentions but got thwarted by my lack of understanding of the law after I did my Kickstarter, there would only be two options:
1) Apologize that the business model I'd proposed wasn't tenable and return the money
2) Buy some good albums with the money I had raised and send those out. The cost/value of the albums, plus the shipping ($4) would be equal to what people paid.
I'd go with (1), since it's the most stand-up course of action. (2) would make some people happy and it might retain the ability to continue on as a business entity, but it would still piss off some customers and wouldn't generate any profits.
The fact that the guy did (3), i.e.
3) Maximize profits and screw anyone who's sent in money
indicates he's a crook.
Over on Twitter, for both the @getvnyl and #vnyl, there has been a sudden influx of positive testimonials. And I do mean sudden - the timing is suspect enough to presume, even if wrongly, that the VNYL folks were told to quickly start beating the bushes for satisfied customers, and if that proved difficult, start manufacturing 'em.
I wouldn't trust anyone to handpick albums for me if they were sitting at my computer looking at my JRiver library.
He was making a Paul McCartney lyric joke.
I've read the Stereogum article and this whole project strikes me as a service for dopes, by dopes. Their marketing material suggests to me that the proprietors fit in the column of people—and there are many out there, some of whom I've argued with on this forum—that vinyl for the sake of vinyl, regardless of content, is a worthwhile pursuit, and that all vinyl is worthwhile and desirable. It's not.
Maybe if a person is housebound or lives in a town where there is literally not a single bin of dusty records to paw through, a service like this could be worth it for them. But if the guy's survey results are to be believed, and that 80% of subscribers "wanted to support vinyl as a medium," the people signing up are as daft as the guy taking them for a ride. I acknowledge that some people signed up who are smarter than this and did so out of curiosity. If you've got the money to spend, why not. But as the original poster indicates, truth will out.
The dude running this business obviously has no sense of history or scope when it comes to music (and, again, I've been argued with here by people who don't know what I mean by that; if you don't, then by all means, sign up for VNYL). Anyone who could look at a bundle of cutout garbage and still think, from that pile of crap alone, that "vinyl is beautiful, I just have to support this medium," is a novice and makes as much sense as a guy with no mechanical aptitude whatsoever trying to run an auto repair shop simply because he believes in the art of the automobile.
Add to this the guy's foolish failure to check the legality of his business model, the apparent absence of a rubric for their bizarre classifications (#dinnerparty, anyone?), and the ramshackle way that he has operated thus far, and you have one hell of a mess.
This qualifies as praise for the service? (from the Stereogum article):
"Backer Vincent Chang had some positive comments to share: “Personally, I think almost every record in the world is amazing or horrible; it all depends on what we are listening for.”
Okay, Vincent. Enjoy your bargain-bin albums.
I still don't even understand the appeal of his original idea. As much as I like vinyl, I can't wrap my head around why people would want to rent it. Netflix made sense because DVDs are relatively durable, small, and cheap to mail. Vinyl, on the other hand, is the least convenient format possible for such a business. If you simply want to sample new music, Spotify is as good of a source as you're going to get. Why people absolutely have to sample this new music on vinyl is beyond me.
And here's VNYL's apology? This sounds like a service for people 15 and under. What adult wants this?
"It ****ing sucks when we disappoint our members. We honestly feel incredibly sad when a member doesn’t like what we sent. That sucks for them and also for us. It’s like you just spent all this time planning out what you think is an awesome surprise gift idea for someone and then they can’t mask the look of disappointment when they open it up right in front of you. It’s completely deflating. Unfortunately, this comes with the territory of being a human curated service.
With time, VNYL will only improve. As ****ty as it feels when someone doesn’t like our choices, when we do get it right, it’s a total rush. There’s nothing more rewarding for me or our curators when we see someone tweet or Instagram their open box of vinyl and are debating which one to spin first."
Bro! Dude! That, like, totally sucks!
This is just the funniest thread - so funny it's worth reposting an earlier quote from VNYL sent in the form of a note included with said mentioned LP's to a subscriber:
'Took a peek at your links, saw a ton of artists I love as well, like Spiritualized, Beach House, and LCD Soundsystem, along with plenty of others! Hope you dig these great records by Lionel Richie, Michael Quatro, and a sweet ’70s hits compilation while you spend time with someone special.'
So let's just get this straight - he likes Spiritualized, Beach House and LCD Soundsystem - so you gave him this:
you couldn't make this s h * t up. lol
Dude, I'm now employed by VNYL, and based on your comments I'm going to recommend you this:
enjoy it with someone special, (and don't forget to send me your subscription money)
Well, to quote myself from the first thread on VNYL that appeared in SteveHoffman.tv in January:
This can't work.
Vinyl is fragile and is not suited to a mass rental model.
You don't get to pick titles only moods?? I expect they will stock a lot of whatever they can get cheaply and/or whatever the labels give them kickbacks to stock.
I wonder how quickly they will turn around returns and if they will cap monthly returns. Shipping an LP back will cost, minimum about $2.50. Times three (if not shipped together) that's $7.50 for each group of 3. $15 rental fee per month won't cover that very long.
And let's not forget that the whole point of vinyl--especially if you are only going to listen to it and not own it--will be superior sound quality to CD. As soon as these records start to get damaged through rentals that's going to evaporate very quickly.
On the whole, it sounds like a TERRIBLE business model.
In fact, it sounds like what it probably is: Some guys looking for an angle that incorporates a sales market that's getting a lot of buzz (vinyl).
But the reason that we didn't have Netflix like businesses in the '70s and '80s is that analog formats don't lend themselves well to that kind of approach. They still don't. Netflix reflected a new world order based on the relative stability and compact nature of the delivery format (DVD originally).
"A Netflix for vinyl records" is a 2 second soundclip that will get you 5 minutes in front of some VCs or press in Rolling Stone. But it's not the description of a viable business.
People who signed up without planning on writing about it at their job (Fred Mills) clearly didn't think it through. Shipping is $5. Overhead's gotta be $5 if not way more (buying, storing, packing, doing inventory, corresponding with customers etc). The guy's gotta eat, so that's another $5. Even 15 years ago it was hard to walk into a store and get three half decent used records for the nine bucks that's left. I mean, I got some real gems to be sure but that's not really possible now unless you want forgotten genres and/or don't care about condition.
Funny thing is last time I stepped in Urban Outfitters in the village (to see if they had markdown LPs) they were selling crap like this at $5-$10.
When you add the fact he's opening a store, it seems pretty clear that he scammed everyone to get decent stock for his store and pawned all the crap off on subscribers.
I do think there is a legal case against him, as the records he sent can pretty much be shown to both be of no value and of no relation to the tastes of his customers. Good luck collecting, though.
And his store is in trouble. It will be victimized by vandalism if he stays open. If he was smart he would give every subscriber a part refund of all the money he's got left, sell off the inventory of his store, and never do anything public in the record business again.
If this is a performance art project, then hat's off, dude.
If so, this is some Andy Kaufman level Godlike f***ery. I would be most impressed. But I doubt it.
Well done, Fred!
The more I read about this thing, the more I'm convinced these guys are trolling people.
This smells more & more like a deliberate & orchestrated rip off.
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