Meet the Man Behind the Retro Record-of-the-Month Club
Denver-based Vinyl Me, Please imagined by Entrepreneur of 2018 runner-up, CEO and co-founder Matt Fiedler
Growing up in the “Napster generation,” 30-year-old Matt Fiedler detected a fundamental industry reset taking place in the music business when Spotify entered the U.S. market and consumers first weighed the costs and benefits of paying for ownership versus paying for access. Romantically, he recalled his father’s record collection and his “strong appreciation for the real thing – a collection of trophy pieces.”
Fiedler studied music business and entrepreneurship, effectively combining the two with his own foray into business: Vinyl Me, Please, a subscription record-of-the-month club. He launched the company alongside co-founder Tyler Barstow in 2013 while the two worked together at a tech startup in Chicago, shaping the concept at nights and over weekends.
By 2014, Vinyl Me, Please, run by a team of four, had become “too big to ignore.” The four believers quit their jobs and gambled on Fiedler’s idea, moving to Boulder and taking on the music industry.
It appears Vinly Me, Please is onto something: The Recording Industry Association of America’s 2017 sales figures indicate vinyl revenues are up 10 percent year over year to $395 million.
In the five years since launching, the startup’s offerings have grown to include an online store, editorial content and monthly events. Fiedler says Vinyl Me, Please, now based in Denver, has 30,000 active subscriptions from 25,000 members across 40 countries. Those subscribers all receive a minimum of one monthly record, amounting to 400,000 records shipped last year, with revenue of several million dollars annually.
The company looks forward to hitting their millionth-record shipped in, looking to later this year. A recent series A round of funding marks the first investment dollars secured by Vinyl Me, Please.
“Being bootstrapped allows you to create your own destiny,” Fiedler says. “But the risk is all yours. With a physical product, that means you’re securing and paying for all inventory, so you’re held captive to your cash flow and it’s near impossible to invest in all the parts of the business. So funding will give us the opportunity to move a little faster.
“We’ve been able to do amazing things from Colorado,” Fiedler says. “There aren’t a lot of other music companies here, so there’s no real competition. Plus, we’re outside the influence of the larger industry, so we’re able to stay focused on the genuine interest in music.”