Launched this week, London-based startup Trax & Wax is the first vinyl subscription service focused on sub-genres within electronic dance music. It works with the most prominent distributors of dance music including Rush Hour, Clone, Syncrophone, and Word & Sound to select a personalized monthly box of 12″ records.
Currently, Trax & Wax offers four niche music categories for the subscription:
- Trax & Wax Box – a mix of house and deep house records selected from Rush Hour in Amsterdam
- Disco Box – a mix of disco and nu disco records selected from Synchrophone record shop in Paris
- Old School Box – a mix of NY, Detroit, and Chicago house records selected from Clone in Rotterdam
- Nu School Box – a mix of tech house and techno records selected from Word & Sound in Germany
There are also two tiers of service (2 or 4 records per month). Each monthly release is a surprise. Subscribers will not know what’s next until opening the package.
Trax & Wax co-founders Manon Clayeux and Thomas Amundsen explained to TechCrunch that the company used the old idea of “DJ pools” as a model for this new service:
“It is similar in that customers will receive a selection of brand new releases on a regular basis. We’ll also allow our customers to sign up for different packages that suit their needs as a vinyl fan or club DJ. Further, we’ll enable labels to submit their new releases for consideration so that anyone has the chance to be included in the monthly box. In that sense, I think the model is similar and a perfect tool for both home listeners and professional DJs looking for new records to include in their sets.”
Trax & Wax is self-funded, and the first shipments are set to go out next month. Clayeux and Amundsen say they are primarily focused on the UK market, but other areas can still use the service if they pay shipping costs.
Why so niche? Is there a market for a service like this?
Vinyl subscription services are great until a bad record arrives in the mail. I’ve tried a number a different “record clubs,” and I always cancel after 3-6 months for the same reason: one too many records that weren’t the type of music I enjoyed most.
The biggest issue with vinyl subscription services is that they aren’t niche enough, and if a user really digs a certain sound there’s no way to get more of that type of music.
Record clubs often just send what’s popular and try to lure in vinyl lovers with fancy cocktail recipes and exclusive artwork. Isn’t it supposed to be all about the music?
Even sites like Prescription Vinyl that are supposedly more niche, aren’t really that niche. For example, one category on Prescription Vinyl is “electronic, beats, and downtempo.” Anyone that listens to some form of electronic music knows it’s a pretty broad category with tons of different beat patterns and tempos. And users crave these different sub-genres.
There are sub-genres and micro communities within every type of music, and perhaps niche vinyl subscription offerings will become a trend. There are already some other companies testing out the idea with hyper-specific markets. One of the more popular niche services, Flying Vinyl, is all about alternative rock music. Another one, Feedbands, focuses on unsigned indie artists.
But what about electronic music?
Electronic music is growing like crazy, and I expect to see more and more sub-genres and micro communities pop up as it grows in popularity. By focusing on a personalized experience and very specific audience, Trax & Wax could create a tribe of loyalists that thrives on regularly getting fresh underground dance music releases.