VMP exists to explore music together.
This mission has never been more important than in the past 12 months. In a time of social isolation and division, human analog experiences with music have served as a point of comfort and connection, a reminder that despite the many fissures that exist within our society, there are other humans out there like us, who dig for, research, collect and enjoy albums. Who prefer spinning to scrolling. And this makes us feel a little less alone.
As we take on 2021 we want to hear from you! Your thoughts, desires and opinions are critical to improving the VMP member experience. We read every single response and use them to help shape our future initiatives and plans.
On behalf of our team I want to personally thank you for taking some time to fill out this year's member survey and being part of our community. We know that you have a lot of choices in where to buy and explore music and we feel honored that you choose us each month as your expedition partners.
Complete the member survey by 2/19, and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of three $250 VMP gift cards. Without further ado, click the link below to begin.
Keep On Exploring,
Cameron Schaefer, CEO
P.S. Want to know what else we’ve been up to? Scroll down to read our full February 2021 Member Update.
By the Numbers…
The power of vinyl is alive & well. In 2020, VMP released approximately 250 Store Exclusives, 36 ROTMs, 5 Anthologies (covering 39 albums) and shipped 500,000+ units out into the world and into your living rooms.
We were truly honored to be featured in Discogs’ The Best Reissues of 2020 list and blown away to see VMP titles snag 7 of the 10 list spots! “VMP has created the LP equivalent to the Criterion Collection" - Ron Hart, Discogs
In 2020, we began previewing all 3 Tracks (soon to be 4) every 3 months. In an effort to give our members more visibility into “what’s coming,” you can expect this to continue as we improve the experience even further.
VMP Anthology has graduated from ‘beta mode on it’s own website’ and has now been integrated into the main VMP site for a more cohesive experience.
VMP store gift cards were launched and can be purchased year-round.
Log-in from anywhere. Snag those ‘Members-only’ titles even faster. You can now log-in to your account and be redirected back to that ‘Members-only’ title that just dropped.
Get reminders about swapping. You’ll now receive a reminder email the day before the swap window closes, if you haven’t swapped yet. You’ll also receive a confirmation email when you ‘Swap for Credit’.
Speed Improvements. Some recent updates were made that should noticeably speed up your browsing experience, especially on your smartphone. Now you can hit that buy button even faster on Store Drop days.
Predictive Search is so cool. Yes, we know our search functionality hasn’t been the best. We recently launched “predictive search” which will auto-fill your results as you type and should drastically improve your ability to find the right product.
Gift Memberships are now available both with or without bonus records. You can now buy a gift membership for the same price as your own plan.
Update your account’s email address. You can now change the email address associated with your account via your profile page.
Come on Home to VMP Country
VMP is launching it’s 4th Track on February 23rd, alongside the other March ROTMs. Country—and all its sub-genres—belongs on high-quality vinyl. Exploring the roots of the genre's beginnings up through the sounds of today, VMP Country will feature Country's biggest names, finest songwriters, and its most iconic albums. It will be available as an add-on Track for members on that day. Sign up for updates here.
Listening Notes for All
We understand the importance of great storytelling and context to the overall music experience. Starting in April 2021, all 4 VMP Tracks will now include a unique & exclusive listening notes booklet, similar to our Classics Track. This new package extra will replace the Hip-Hop stencil and the Essentials cocktail recipe program - but we are keeping the Essentials art prints! Every good album has a story to tell and we believe all of our Tracks deserve this component.
Marantz x VMP
Marantz & VMP present Explorations in Sound Vol. 1 & Vol. 2—a two-part journey into the world’s most musical sounds curated by Japanese Sound Master Yoshinori Ogata, VMP CEO Cameron Schaefer and Dave Longstreth of the Dirty Projectors. Releasing as a deluxe 4-LP audiophile vinyl package will provide audiophiles and music fans with the two distinct collections of songs, one traditional and one contemporary, with which to test their hi-fi systems and experience the rarest musical moments. To ensure the highest quality sound, original masters were sourced from the labels and artists with Ryan Smith of Sterling Sound handling mastering and lacquers, Quality Record Pressing (QRP) of Salina, KS pressing the vinyl on virgin 180g black vinyl. Clay Conder of VMP designed the album art with inspiration taken from sound waves and the musicality of both brands. Arriving in the VMP Store Spring 2021.
Buy Now, Pay Later via Afterpay or Paypal Credit
We’re excited to now offer a couple flexible payment options across our platform. Paypal Credit is available for both memberships & store products. It offers 0% interest if paid in full 6 months on purchases of $99+. Subject to credit approval. If you wish to update your membership payment method, just head here in your profile. Afterpay is available for store products, including Anthology and allows 4 interest-free installments on a purchase. No credit approval required. Both options are currently only available in the U.S.
Never Enough Stickers
We have been blown away by the talent of our members via the sticker design contest! Congrats again to our past winners: Kodi Sershon, Casey Kennedy, Michelle Chang Wengrod, Jason Larche, Charlo G. Walterbach (Feb) and Joel Rockey (March). Let’s keep this thing going! Submit your designs here. Winners receive $100 store credit & 200 stickers of their design.
More Musical Milestones
In April, VMP will be celebrating its 100th Essentials release!! It has been such a wild ride, and it’s humbling to think of the members who have been there since ROTM #1. Keep an eye out for some special surprises as we launch the big 100. We also have some exciting Anthologies in the works. Most we can’t speak to just yet, but we’re glad the cat is out of the bag about VMP Anthology: The Story of Philadelphia International :) Are you using our waitlist feature? It's the best way to get notified of an upcoming repress.
With the continued growth of vinyl demand, pressing timelines have increased throughout the industry. We are continuing work to pull forward our timelines to mitigate possible shipping delays.
Even with a vaccine out and in distribution, COVID is still impacting all of us. Extra precautions have been implemented throughout the world and specific to VMP and the vinyl and shipping industry. We are committed to giving you (the customer) tangible music experiences during these trying times and we appreciate your support.
The holidays were crazy. We expected an increase in shipping timelines, but not the extent that we saw this past season. With the season coming to a close, we anticipate transit times will decrease.
What does your day-to-day life at VMP look like?
You can basically either find me in a meeting or in a Google Doc! I have the honor of not only telling the stories of the records and artists we feature at VMP, but also getting to make the work of our talented freelance contributors and editorial staff be the best it can be! I do a lot of writing (from our weekly newsletter The Standard to product copy on the site or copy on our social platforms), even more editing, and a healthy side of listening, planning and research. I curate and maintain a weekly editorial calendar that’s made of everything from album reviews to liner notes to best-of lists to supplementary ROTM content to Q&As with artists to band profiles to episodes of our podcast Good Convo, and more.
This year, I’ve gotten to play more with podcasting and print mediums through work on VMP Anthology and all of our upcoming print liner notes, which has been so much fun. I’m looking forward to doing more of it!
What’s your all-time favorite VMP release?
What a rude question! I am actually short-circuiting right now because there are too many. Young Thug’s Jeffery? Mitski’s Be The Cowboy??? Our version of Feist’s Let It Die is so stunning. Noname’s Telefone was such a cool release. Buena Vista Social Club? MM..FOOD?? Bella Donna??? Don’t even get me started on any of our exclusives. Sorry, I’m copping out of this one.
Who’s been your favorite artist to work with?
Another rude one, I see… Sleater-Kinney, Mitski, and St. Vincent were all brilliant to talk to, and each one has been a dream of mine to interview since I was very young. Caroline Rose was also a pleasure to work—so insightful and creative. I also really love our Rising program, and every time I’ve done editorial on a Rising artist, it’s been nothing short of magic. It’s really exciting to get to know an artist at that stage in their career.
What are the last 10 songs played in your Spotify history?
[screams in Apple Music User Representation]
What do you do when you’re not listening to music?
I live with my partner and my three best friends, and we’re usually either playing cards, cooking, watching Love Island, or staring at my perfect little Boston Terrier Peaches and his kitten bff Stevie. I also love baking treats, going to the dog park, reading and being active—cycling, walks, yoga, dancing, weight training, you name it. I keep a rotating cast of half-assed hobbies, and lately it’s puzzles or knitting.
Start your day with… Carla Thomas’ Comfort Me
Blast while you pump iron… JPEGMAFIA’s Veteran, Rico Nasty’s Nasty, or Beyonce 4
Jam to with your dog… Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters (he especially loves the dog sounds)
Help you wind down after a long day… Alex G’s Rocket
Spin while you get ready on a Friday night… Carly Rae Jepsen’s Emotion or Charli XCX’s Number 1 Angel