Belmont alumnus brings vinyl back into style with Vinyl Me, Please
From Boulevard Records to Grimey’s, the vinyl craze has taken over Nashville, and Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler is capitalizing on the trend.
Music lovers — including many Belmont students — have embraced the opportunity to listen to both new and old music in this classic form.
Fiedler, a Belmont alumnus with a music business and entrepreneurship double major, built a vinyl subscription service — aptly named “Vinyl Me, Please” — around this passion.
Fiedler always wanted to work for himself, but that isn’t why he started Vinyl Me, Please. He got the idea for the business after visiting a record store with Vinyl Me, Please co-founder Tyler Barstow.
“When the idea for VMP came up, we didn’t see it as an opportunity to finally become entrepreneurs. Rather, it was an idea we were passionate about and thought it’d be fun to pursue,” Fiedler said.
In 2013, Vinyl Me, Please launched. Fiedler and Barstow had to keep their day jobs at first, but their hard work eventually paid off. In 2014, Fiedler and Barstow were able to quit their jobs and pursue Vinyl Me, Please full-time. The business grew to include a team of over a dozen employees.
By 2016, Vinyl Me, Please had 20,000 members in 40 different countries.
For a monthly fee starting at $25, Vinyl Me, Please subscribers receive one album in the mail each month, chosen by the Vinyl Me, Please team. The selections cross a wide range of genres and decades, and past months have featured old classics, hot new releases and everything in between.
Though Vinyl Me, Please has been hugely successful and gained plenty of media attention — the company has been featured in Forbes and Fast Company magazines, and Fiedler and Barstow got to appear on Fox News — Fiedler believes most of this is due to the founders’ focus on flexibility rather than sticking to a strict business plan.
“So much of life and business is about being open to serendipity. It’s about being open to randomness and not thinking everything needs to be or can be planned,” Fiedler said. “There’s no way I could have predicted the incredible people that would join our team. There’s no way I could have assumed the sacrifices those people would make in pursuit of our mission. There’s no way I could have projected the amazing customers we have, their loyalty and their patience as we’ve grown.”
Before any of this, Fiedler was a Belmont student trying to balance a heavy course load, internships and part-time jobs while also running on the track team. This taught him valuable self-management skills, he said.
But some lessons were ones Fiedler could only learn outside of the classroom.
“The classes were great and I learned a ton, but I learn best by doing. So while I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur and I had studied entrepreneurship, I didn’t have a great idea of what it actually meant to be an entrepreneur,” he said.
Through starting Vinyl Me, Please, Fiedler experienced what it takes to start and grow a business.
“Starting a company will challenge you in ways you’ve never before been challenged. You’ll learn a lot about yourself along the way, both good and bad. Being open to learning is about gaining an understanding of who you are, where you’re strong and where you’re weak,” he said. “Learning leads to growth. Without learning, you can’t grow.”
While Vinyl Me, Please has evolved from its small start, the essence of the company remains the same.
With features like new exclusive albums and weekly email newsletters, Vinyl Me, Please continues to help fans — including Fiedler himself — discover new music and relish in their love of vinyl.
His current favorite? “Freedom” by Amen Dunes.
This article written by Alyson Merkle. Photo courtesy of Vinyl Me, Please.