Vinyl Me, Please Members, Readers and Writers,
When I was hired last December with the mandate to turn Vinyl Me, Please’s blog into something beyond a fun side project for the business proper, we didn’t really have much of an idea what we should be publishing every day. My go-to line this year has been cribbed from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart: I don’t know what a Vinyl Me, Please story is for sure, but I know it when I see it. And as this year has gone on, that question of what we’re doing here hasn’t necessarily gotten easier to answer, but after 11 months of doing this--and on the occasion of us redesigning this site so it doesn’t look like an updated Xanga and as the stories published on here get more shine on the main page of Vinyl Me, Please’s website--I figured it’s probably time I make some kind of mission statement. At the very least, I hope this makes it easier for writers who want to work for us to determine if they have ideas that would work for us--and allows me to point them here--and it will make it easier for me to explain what I do as a job when I run into my high school classmates at Peabody’s in Oshkosh over Christmas.
We started this new Vinyl Me, Please blog--and all shouts and hey yo’s to Tyler Barstow for running the proto version of the blog last year and proving people would read stuff here if we wrote it--by defining everything we wouldn’t be. We wouldn’t be beholden to any advertising, so there were no expectations for what we should be writing, no benchmarks we HAD to hit to stay in business. We wouldn’t be a site chasing page views by posting the latest Kanye Tweets or Justin Bieber dick pics. We wouldn’t be a site posting three or six or 15 record reviews a day and ascribing them grades. We wouldn’t need to make those infuriating listicles that take 30 minutes to click through so the page view numbers can look high. We wouldn’t be accused of pushing some artist onto people, because there’s no editorial edict from any label, or advertising agency; it all comes from us. We wouldn’t need to click bait, hate click, and we wouldn’t even need to hot take if we didn’t think the subject matter needed the heat or the take. We also wouldn’t need to write about music we hate, just because we have quotas and need to write about something. We wouldn’t be mean, we wouldn’t be snarky, we wouldn’t be like everyone else.
Once we defined that, it was easy to define what we would be. We would be a place where writers can come and write about the music they genuinely love, whether that’s southern rap and electro, or Cajun and black metal, and Outlaw country and indie rock or about the music they loved as teens. We would be able to inform our members about our Record of the Month picks, and tell the stories of those artists better than anyone. We would be a place that people could go to be informed, and not feel stupid for not knowing the best albums to buy if you’re just getting into jazz, and know that the writers putting them onto records aren’t in it for anything other than loving the music they’re writing about. We would run listicles, but those listicles would be informative, historical, and make it easy for you to connect with the music you love, the music you want to try to love, and the music you have never heard. We would be a place where a diverse cast of writers could write about music they love and things around music that make them think critically that they couldn’t write anywhere else, from Michael Penn II writing an essay on what it’s like to be black, sorta like Post Malone’s music, and also see him as a representation of a racist culture, to Gary Suarez writing about Stephen Stills (he hasn’t written this yet but I check my email everyday looking for it because I can’t wait) to my Editorial Assistant--she prefers henchman--Amileah Sutliff writing about her hometown, indie rock, and the power of being together with other people in a hot field. We would be a music site that runs a single record review a week, run fewer stories than everyone else, and still have hundreds of thousands of readers. We would be the nicest music writing site on the Internet.
So, with that in mind, I introduce Vinyl Me, Please: The Magazine. That’s right: we’re no longer “the blog.” Since we’re on the front page of the website, the articles we run will have more visibility than ever before. We’re going to have better design, dynamic pages that look as good as anything you’ve seen on the web. And we’re gonna keep striving to be the publication I think we can be. We’ve made some miscalculations--R.I.P. my own column, and Lost Album of the Week, the crate digging column that never had an audience because no one cares about crate digging that’s not their own--but now that our site looks beautiful we have one less of an excuse to not be doing this every day to our fullest ability.
Read on in 2017 and beyond,
Vinyl Me, Please <br/>Senior Editor
Andrew Winistorfer is Vinyl Me, Please’s Classics and Country Director, and an editor of their books, 100 Albums You Need In Your Collection and The Best Record Stores In The United States. He’s written Listening Notes for more than 20 VMP releases, and co-produced Nat Turner Rebellion's Laugh to Keep From Crying. He lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota.