Today, the Vinyl Me Please record club celebrates its 100th Essential Record of the Month. The club's flagship line, the monthly Essentials program has encompassed titles from a wide variety of artists including John Prine, Aretha Franklin, Jorge Ben, Van Morrison, Mavis Staples, Miles Davis, Fiona Apple, Billie Holiday, The Notorious B.I.G., and Loretta Lynn. While VMP also offers Classics (Soul, Blues, and Jazz), Hip-Hop, and Country tracks (the latter a new addition for 2021), the Essentials line remains the cornerstone. Now, to commemorate 100 releases since VMP's founding in 2013, ten long out-of-print Essentials releases will once more be made available exclusively to members.
All of these titles reflect Vinyl Me Please's eclectic spirit and commitment to diversity. The ten titles being reissued (with their original release dates) spotlight rock, pop, hip-hop, jazz, and soul. They are:
- Gorillaz - Demon Days (2005)
- Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2000)
- Outkast - Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik (1994)
- Queens Of The Stone Age - Songs for the Deaf (2002)
- Queen - A Night at the Opera (1975)
- Outkast - Stankonia (2000)
- Spiritualized - Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space (1997)
- Saba - Care For Me (2018)
- Al Green - Call Me (1973)
- Miles Davis and John Coltrane - The Final Tour: Paris, March 21, 1960 (2018)
Vinyl Me Please CEO Cameron Schaefer explains in the press release, "Exploring music together is at the heart of VMP and is the driving force behind the last eight years of monthly releases. VMP Essentials is our flagship subscription, the OG, and is the most clear representation of the evolution and growth of our company and community. While it feels like we've reached the top of a mountain in a sense with VMP 100, the reality is there's so much more to explore. It's truly just the beginning."
Today, VMP is the largest record club in the U.S. and a highly-curated answer to the Columbia House and BMG Music Service clubs. In 2020, VMP shipped half a million units to over 45 countries and enjoyed a record increase in memberships and sales as listeners turned to music (and vinyl records, specifically) while in COVID-related lockdown and/or quarantine. 2020 also saw the service grow its Anthology series of box sets which began in 2019; recent additions have included volumes dedicated to Herbie Hancock, Grateful Dead, and Tribe Records, while a future volume will celebrate the legacy of Philadelphia International Records as part of that label's ongoing 50th anniversary celebration. (The Anthologies are offered for sale to non-club members, as are many titles reissued by Vinyl Me Please. Club members do typically receive a discount on these releases.)
"We're incredibly excited to be able to celebrate our 100th Essentials record by working diligently with our partners to provide a second chance to grab sought-after and previously out-of-print records," notes Alex Berenson, VMP's Head of A&R. "We wouldn't have gotten this far without the labels that have supported us along the way, our internal team that works hard every day to make sure our records are as special as possible, and the artists who have made all of these records possible." Adds Courtney Catagnus, the Senior Director of Business Development and Partnerships, "It's been a high honor partnering directly with labels, and especially artists like Erykah Badu, The Flaming Lips, [and] Caroline Rose, who've joined forces with our team to build creative campaigns that pay tribute to their artistry, impact, and fanbase. Wayne Coyne sat down with our members via livestream to tell stories and answer fan questions about the creation of The Soft Bulletin...It was a surreal experience where our mission of exploring music together came full circle. There's much more of that to come." The Flaming Lips' Coyne echoes Catagnus' comments: "Being selected by VMP and having them present our music and packaging to their collected followers is like having one of the world's great art museums show your stuff; or should I say, it's like a great art museum that you've been to that you love and admire, and then one day you go to the museum and they have YOUR art hanging in it. It's like being welcomed and accepted into a sacred church where records are God."
As vinyl sales remain on the rise not only in North America but around the world, Vinyl Me Please has filled a niche for many collectors. If you missed out on any of these ten titles the first time around and would like to see what the fuss is about, or to learn more about this reissue initiative, visit Vinyl Me Please for more information. Watch this space for further coverage of the Essentials 100 campaign.