As a complete and total music nerd, I am enslaved by my music collection. Yes, I have a digital library with over 37,000 songs I keep on my computer (RIP my hard drive), but my attachment to digitized music pales in comparison to the infatuation I have for my record collection. I’ll admit I’m a bit of a latecomer to collecting vinyl—I only started consistently buying vinyl about a year ago, but I have an ever-growing collection and a steady stream of new LPs coming in constantly (RIP my wallet).
While music streaming reigns supreme these days, the internet also makes it easy for record junkies to find that super-limited 12-inch they’ve been looking for with little effort. Still, neither of these (especially the former) provide anywhere near the same experience as spending hours on end at your local record store, shuffling through jackets on the racks and inhaling that sweet smell of wax. A bridge between the digital and the physical is sorely needed in today’s music consumption culture.
That’s where Sound of Vinyl comes in. At its core, Sound of Vinyl is a web store stocked with over 20,000 records. More than that, though, it’s essentially a giant record store in the palm of your hand, complete with your own personal record store clerk and a community that’s as rabid about vinyl as you are. I’ve been testing the Sound of Vinyl platform out over the past couple weeks, and the verdict is: This thing has tons of potential.
All one needs to to do is go to their website, enter a cellphone number, and you can see for yourself how it works. Daily vinyl recommendations are sent straight to your mobile device via text message, and if it’s a record you want, you can buy with a simple “yes” reply. This is also how they keep track of what kind of music you're into; upon sign-up, you check off the genres you like, but you can also give them an idea of your musical tastes by simply replying “like,” “dislike” or “own” (if you already own it) to their daily record recommendations.
It doesn’t stop there, however. The platform also makes it very easy to text the name of an artist you're looking for, and if they have a record in stock, they’ll respond with it. Being an underground metal snob, I tested just how extensive their library is by texting them a few records by artists I’ve been meaning to pick up, and I was not disappointed. For example, I’ve been meaning to get a copy of Soma by Windhand on vinyl for some time, so I texted “Windhand” to the service, and sure enough, they responded with Soma. I replied “yes,” and the record was at my doorstep a couple days later. What’s even cooler is it happened to be the limited clear with smoke repress Relapse Records recently did, so those record collectors (like myself) who are all about picking up limited pressings can use Sound Of Vinyl to feed their obsessions, too.
While it is a bit weird texting with an automated system, there are humans on the other end to respond should you have specific request. While testing the platform, I had a mix-up with one of the records they sent me, and I texted the service to see if I could get it resolved. A human responded to me and walked me through how to return the wrong record they sent me, and got the correct record (Blast Tyrant by Clutch, since you asked) sent out right away. All of this is to say, their customer service reps are on top of it and very friendly, and the ability to text them from your own phone makes them really easy to work with.
Sound Of Vinyl is still in its early stages, which means it has a lot of room to grow and become even cooler. There are plans to fill the website with loads of cool vinyl-related content, feeding into the community aspect of the platform, and the plans they have for the site could make it a go-to destination for music nerds to congregate and discuss the bands and records they love. They even hope to work with labels and artists to stock exclusive pressings of records. Sound Of Vinyl could very well be revolutionary in how music junkies fill their collections, and it’s a platform that vinyl lovers especially are going to want to keep an ear—er, eye—on.