Have you got a record player gathering dust in your attic or left forgotten in the corner of granny’s living room? Get it out, brush it off and join the vinyl revival. You’re in for a really groovy trip!
We’ll forgive you if you’re under 30 and have never laid eyes on a vinyl record or heard the superior sound of an authentic analogue reproduction on an ‘old fashioned’ single or LP.
Vinyl records have been the choice medium for music since the 1930s but were eclipsed by CDs in the late 1980s as the world got hooked on the digital music revolution. Most high-street music stores had stopped stocking 7-inch singles and 12-inch albums by the 1990s, filling their shelves instead with 12-cm disks in plastic cases.
Now the virtues of vinyl are making a comeback as more music lovers get back into the groove of appreciating the full-bodied sound and tactile experience of spinning real vinyl records.
Three good reasons to get a vinyl subscription box
Vinyl records remain the ultimate way to enjoy music as they are far superior to digital formats in several ways. Here are three reasons to expand or start your own collection of singles, EPs, LPs and 12-inch records.
1. Better Sound. Any audiophile (vinyl record aficionado) will enthusiastically tell you in no uncertain terms that digital recordings simply don’t give you the warmth and richness of an analogue recording etched onto vinyl. That’s because the grooves of a vinyl record are a full-spectrum physical reproduction of the voices and instruments recorded, whereas much of that veracity is lost in compressed, digital formats.
2. Better Taste. Your taste in music and knowledge of artists past and present will dramatically improve as you get to listen to a much more diverse range of old and new releases aimed at audiophiles who really appreciate the artistic expression that goes into analogue music production for vinyl records. Bands often cut unique, limited edition vinyl recordings for aficionados and collectors as well as other formats for mass consumption.
3. Better Look & Feel. Handling and playing vinyl is a multi-sensory experience. Visually, vinyl record sleeves are canvases for amazing artwork which flesh out the musical story in the record itself. Sliding the weighty circular slab of vinyl out of its sleeve, turning it in your palms and placing it on the turntable is a tactile ceremony of appreciation before the stylus is finally placed in the groove to release the sounds within.
Best vinyl subscription boxes in the UK
Best 7-inch vinyl subscription
Flying Vinyl aims to bring you the best underground indie, alternative and rock tracks they can find, which they press as exclusive 7-inch vinyl analogue records with full a/b sides in spined sleeves and covered with eye-catching artwork.
Flying Vinyl works directly with artists and they press their own records. Sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription to receive five exclusive 7″ records plus an artist info booklet and music merchandise every month.
Wax & Stamp
Best vinyl subscription for new releases
Wax & Stamp bring you the latest dream pop, indie, cosmic disco, house and other obscure genres. With this vinyl record subscription you get two brand new records every month; one album and one single or EP.
You choose a monthly, quarterly or yearly package and they’ll choose the records to be sent out each month so every box is a surprise and you won’t know what you’re getting until after it’s landed on your doorstep.
Go for a yearly subscription to save 10% and by the end of the year you’ll have 24 of the year’s best releases outside the mainstream pop genres. As a subscriber you’ll also get access to a network of audiophiles with similar tastes so you can swap and share record ideas.
Best wine & music vinyl subscription
The Stylus Experience pairs wine with music for you to enjoy an evening in, preferably with someone that’ll appreciate your tastes in both.
We think sending you a 12-inch vinyl album from a curated selection along with a bottle of wine is a brilliant idea. By time you get to the end of the album you’ll probably have gotten to the bottom of the bottle as well.
The wine and vinyl subscription is sent out monthly and you’ll get access to their online magazine as well. You don’t get to choose the wine or the album but you can select the kind of music that goes down well for you with a bottle of plonk.
When you order, just tick the box for ‘Classic’, ‘Lesser Known’, ‘Mainstream’ (latest chart hits) or ‘Alternative’ music when you set up your subscription.
You can also indicate which type of music you don’t like. If you already have an extensive record collection then this probably isn’t the subscription for you.
The Retro Co
Best retro vinyl subscription
The good folks in Glasgow at The Retro Co will choose three LPs from the past 60 years sourced from independent record stores around the UK for your personal taste in tunes.
Choose whether the monthly subscription is for yourself or as a gift then select three or more musical genres. Leave the rest to the retro vinyl experts to select your tunes for the month and package them professionally for delivery.
This vinyl subscription is a good money-saving option for students, who get a 20% discount off all monthly boxes.
Best vinyl subscription for classic jazz and soul
The audiophiles at Vinyl Wings want you to discover the love for vinyl through two genres: Jazz & Soul and Classical. They are promising to add a third Rock & Blues genre soon.
At Vinyl Wings they are very passionate about music and they want to share the love with you. They spend oodles of hours listening to records before deciding which ones to recommend to their subscribers. They put paramount importance on the musical quality of their offerings to make three records per genre available to subscribers each month.
Sign up and pick two albums from the monthly selection and let them choose the third for you based on your preferences.
Vinyl Me, Please (VMP)
Best vinyl subscription with extra merch
Every month VMP selects and presses one exclusive high-quality vinyl record for each of the four categories available: Essentials, Classics, Hip-Hop and Country.
Their mission at VMP is to celebrate and champion the culture, history and art of great albums past and present. Each subscription album comes with a story to give you deep insight into the artist and how their music impacted the music community.
We love how VMP goes the extra mile to give subscribers a wholesome phonographic experience with the extra goodies they throw in such as collectible art prints and street art stencils.
Best abstract audio and art experience
Vinyl Moon subscriptions give you ‘the most crazy deluxe record jacket experience you’ve ever seen’ by partnering with different visual artists for each monthly release to create stunning, interactive records and covers for their subscribers.
Vinyl Moon presses their own unique, limited-edition coloured vinyl records each month by compiling a mix of their favourite music – usually an eclectic mix of genres like indie rock and electronic jams – on an LP or two, which is guaranteed to be a unique audio-visual experience.
Best dance music subscription
Casa Vinyl caters specifically to lovers of dance music with lots of deep house, techno and disco titles to choose from, including new releases. Buy credits so you can sign up for the bronze, silver, gold or platinum subscription. The pack you choose should depend on the size of your existing record collection and how much you want it to grow over the next 12 months.
If you are an intermediate record collector with about 20 titles you can double the size of your collection over a year with the bronze subscription. Silver will add another 36 records to your collection, and if you are a serious collector with enough vinyl to open your own record store and you still have enough space, the gold and platinum subscriptions are for you.
Vinyl subscription boxes: The verdict
In the past you could spend hours ambling along the isles in record stores perusing the plethora of vinyl titles on display before eventually handing over your hard-earned cash; hoping you’d made the right choice.
Vinyl rarely disappoints but having such a vast choice at your fingertips from these online record stores can be even more overwhelming than picking a copy in a brick-and-mortar store.
If you want to relive the popular sounds of the 70s, 80s and 90s, we recommend relying on the experts at The Retro, who also specialize in tapes, video games and comics. They also offer the assurance of authentic original pressings (no fakes or bootlegs).
If you are already the proud owner of an extensive vinyl collection and looking for totally unique recordings to add to your shelves we suggest you browse through the bespoke titles pressed by Vinyl Moon and Vinyl Me, Please (VMP).
If you want to be totally surprised each month and let someone else make the choices for you, try out Flying Vinyl or Wax & Stamp.