Since getting into vinyl in the past year I joined something called the Magnolia Record Club. It harkens back to the days of Columbia House and BMG where they lured you in with 12 CDs for a penny and then you got sent a monthly CD that you had to pay for if you didn’t cancel. Like any good music lover of a certain age I definitely had a number of CDs I got that way. As I had no checking account or credit card at the time to pay for anything by mail I’m not sure how I managed all this, but I definitely know I figured out a way to get some CDs from BMG.
With Magnolia Record Club you can’t get 12 records for one cent, but you can get an exclusive record shipped to you every month. It’s definitely not for everyone because it does have a particular musical bent that is right up my alley. You’re not going to get sent the latest pop or hip-hop album. The albums can be exclusive to the club in a couple of ways. Mostly they seem to be vinyl pressings in colors exclusive to the club. There are also sometimes exclusive compilations though. The most recent record I received was an exclusive compilation of songs from NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts.
You can join for a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee with a discount for subscribing for the longer period of times. I pay more to do it monthly because you get some additional benefits for the extra money. No matter what you can always swap out the monthly record for something else in the record club catalog if you don’t want whatever that month’s record is for whatever reason. If you join monthly, you can also pause your membership for a month if you don’t want to get anything that month. I haven’t completely declined an album yet, but I have switched things out a couple of times.
The month I joined the record was Amos Lee’s new album, which I had already pre-ordered, so I switched that out for a Leon Bridges album. I’m still a little bummed about that because I loved the look of the orchid vinyl that came through Magnolia more than the blue vinyl that I had already ordered. I swapped out an album by The Dip for one by Yola. I’m also going to swap out this coming month which is some tribute album to Brian Wilson by She + Him, though I’m not sure for what yet. I have in fact kept some of the records of the month. In addition to the Tiny Desk Concerts compilation I mentioned, I got Lavendar Days by Caamp, We’re Going About This All Wrong by Sharon Van Etten and Second Nature by Lucius. It’s a fun little way to add to my vinyl collection, and I like that I can do it in a way that I don’t get stuck with anything I don’t want.