Next up on my vinyl subscription play list is Vinyl Moon. Their tag line – THE VINYL CLUB FOR THE MUSICALLY CURIOUS & ARTISTICALLY ADVENTUROUS
That’s a bold statement, so I did some more research and then reached out to Vinyl Moon.
First off, I love the mix tape on vinyl concept. The mixtape brings back memories of borrowing my brother’s vinyl and putting my favourite tracks onto a T-120 cassette – that was a full hour of music before you had to flip the tape, or 10 minutes before the ultra thin tape got wound around the miriad of wheels inside the tape player. Ok, it wasn’t a perfect system.
Each curated record has ten tracks selected by Vinyl Moon. To understand the selection process you have to see the connection between Vinyl Moon and The Burning Ear music blog. Brandon Bogajewicz started sharing his passion for music in 2009 while living in Warsaw, Poland. It’s that dedication to hundreds of hours of listening and blogging about what he is hearing that fuels The Burning Ear. I’ve only scraped the surface of the archives of The Burning Ear and I’m already impressed with what is there. The Burning Ear presents itself as “The music blog for people who don’t have time to read music blogs”.
The Burning Ear started in 2009 “from a couch in Warsaw Poland”. Brandon is an LA native, so I asked how he ended up starting The Burning Ear from Poland.
My dad is from Warsaw and moved back when I was in High School. In 2007 I went to visit for Christmas and ended up cancelling my flight back to just stay and see what it would be like to live there for a few months. I ended up staying for 4 years. It was a realization that I wanted to focus on music that brought me back.
So, you’re back in LA in 2012 blogging about music, why the transition to record production?
Getting tired of posting into the void of the internet and increasingly wanting to create something tangible. Plus was getting more into vinyl myself and really enjoying the break from the computer/phone it provides. And I was getting lots of 7″ records from new bands and frustrated with having to flip them every 3 minutes. So decided to combine them on a full LP!
Thus the mixtape nature of Vinyl Moon.
From Vinyl Moon site their take on how the tracks are selected for the monthly subscription record – “Each month’s music is carefully curated by our team to bring you the best new artists we’ve heard from all over the world. Much of it is featured on our sister blog, The Burning Ear. While we don’t ascribe to any specific genre – meaning you can expect a wide range of great music – we tend to lend towards indie rock & electronic.”
I asked Brandon about the “indie” aspect of the artists – is it correct to assume these are “indie” artists in that they have not yet signed with a label?
Many are, but some are on labels or have publishing companies. We work with everyone!
So they may or may not be with a record label but its fair to assume these are relatively new artists still not hitting the Billboard charts which means the team at Vinyl Moon has to find them.
How do you find your musical artists?
Listen to A LOT of music. Thank goodness for the internet!
And clearly Brandon writes a lot too with more than 4,500 blog posts to his credit.
From looking at the archives and current Burning Ear blog, it looks like a lot of that musical discovery is coming from Sound Cloud. But Brandon has also established himself as a credible music blogger, so he also receives a lot of music from new artists.
Every record comes with unique art, and from what I’ve seen of the booklet and album cover art is impressive. Where do you find the visual artists that contribute to the monthly boxes?
Read a lot of art blogs. The internet wins again!
As far as the pressing of the monthly offerings, Vinyl Moon is currently using Record Technology Incorporated in Camarillo, CA to press its volumes – can you tell me anything more about RTI? Why did you choose this pressing company?
RTI is one of the oldest and most respected pressing plants around. They have a long history of quality in record pressing.
RTI has been pressing records since 1974 and boasts some impressive clients including Capitol/EMI, Blue Note, Rhino, Sony and Warner Brothers.
You’re shipping monthly, so that means pressing monthly. Can you walk me through selecting the music to recording/mixing/mastering to art work and finally pressing and shipping? How long does all of this take?
I listen to a TON of music and the songs I like I write about on The Burning Ear (music blog I started in 2009). The ones I love, I invite to Vinyl Moon. When I have a mix of great songs that flow well I work with the visual artists to create the art and packaging. They have a very blank canvas and I try and support in developing the really cool deluxe features. Then the record goes off to be pressed and eventually test pressings are approved. The artwork goes to get printed and proofs are approved. Any unique deluxe features usually require a lot of research and those will get printed. It all comes together in the Los Angeles area where the records get shipped out to members. From finding the first song to shipping the record it can take 6-8 months. So there are a lot of records being worked on all the time.
As I said, I love the mix tape concept. Brings back some great memories for me too. What other concepts for vinyl subscription did you consider?
Actually, the initial idea for Vinyl Moon was a bit different than it ended up. The original idea was 5 songs from 5 bands on 1 side of a record, and 5 remixes on the other. But then it felt too limiting to rely on great remixes. Plus, now we get to feature 10 bands & songs a month. But the ideas are always evolving.
I see that your first LPs went out in 2015. How long did it take to get from concept to those first LPs going out the door?
A little over a year.
Can you share your membership numbers?
About 1000. Fun fact, Vinyl Moon has shipped to over 60 countries!
How big is Vinyl Moon?
Bigger than the actual moon!
In terms of the team, Jason has been helping part time for about a year and Matt just came on full time. So there are 2.5 of us. But don’t tell Jason we’re counting him as half…
From your Kickstarter page you state 500 records being pressed. Is this still the number being pressed now that you’re more than two years into this?
We now press around 1000.
What Do You Get and How Much Does It Cost?
Every Monthly VINYL MOON Record Includes:
- Limited edition LP mixtape
- 10 songs from great new bands
- Original artwork record jacket
- Deluxe packaging + colored vinyl
- Booklet w/ lyrics, song art, artist info
- Exclusive Member Store access
- w/ FREE worldwide shipping
For US members $30/month ($26 + $4 shipping). For Canadian members $35 USD ($26 USD + $9 USD for shipping). For International other than Canada $39 USD ($26 + $13 USD shipping).