#HowWeListen – Cameron Schaefer / Vinyl Me Please

How We Listen is an interview series where Byta interviews artists, their teams, and everyone else working in music about how they find and listen to music, new and old.
Vinyl Me Please

Who are you?
Cameron Schaefer

Where are you based?
Denver, Colorado

Where do you work? What do you do?
I was employee #1 here at Vinyl Me Please and worked with the founders, Matt & Tyler, first heading up our marketing & social media, then music & label relations, then overseeing the brand (curation, content, community). In my current role as Chief Strategy Officer I get the opportunity to elevate a bit and align our company with the realities & opportunities of the marketplace in a way that creates more value for everyone. We believe, sincerely, that the only way this whole thing is sustainable is if people not only pay for music, but pay a significant amount…$9.99/mo isn’t the silver bullet. Our job is to create products and experiences that compel people to do this joyfully, connecting artists & labels with people who put their money & attention where their passion is.

What are you listening to?
D.J. Rogers, Bobby Hutcherson, Willis Alan Ramsey, Barrie, Channel Tres, Kikagaku Moyo & Standing On the Corner

How do you find new music?
Best source is talking with other friends in the industry and following their Instagram accounts to see new record scores. But, a huge amount of my new artist/new music discovery comes from Alex Berenson our Senior A&R who curates our weekly OnRotation playlist + VMP Rising program. Each week we have a music team meeting where we share our latest discoveries, projects we’re pursuing & albums we want a second opinion on. Our company’s curational philosophy has its foundation in pure fandom…we love the pursuit of our next favorite artist and album. Additionally, I do quite a bit of digging around on Discogs and youtube for weird, old stuff.

What formats do you usually listen to? LP, CD, Cassette, Digital, Streaming Service and why?
It’s about a 50/40/10 split between streaming, vinyl & youtube. I use streaming as a utility to quickly find something I want to hear or provide background music to an activity. Vinyl is reserved for times where I want to listen actively as the primary activity. YouTube is for going down rabbit trails I find on Discogs or other places. With that said, if I truly want to listen to something deeply & actively it’s always vinyl – can’t surpass it as a medium.

Where do you do most of your music listening?
I tend to listen to podcasts (Song Exploder, Mogul, The Daily, Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday, Tim Ferriss) on the way into work and music on the way home both driving or taking the bus. I listen to test pressings during the day at work and most of my personal listening happens at home in my basement with my record collection…and usually a friend or two and a good drink.

How do find and listen to pre-release music?
I’m incredibly lucky as VMP has given me access to tons of music way ahead of street. We get pitched by labels, management, PR and artists about 100 albums a week and I’m able to hand pick ones that I’m particularly interested in or are highlighted by our team.

What are your frustrations with listening to music digitally? Any benefits?
Digital music, even super hi-res, fatigues my ears faster than analog. I find super hi-res digital to be too perfect, almost “tinny” whereas analog has a warmth and humanness to it that puts me at ease. Digital music also lacks liner notes, large format album art and any sense of ritual or any pride of ownership. No one invites you over to check out their Spotify playlist or mp3 collection. I still listen to digital music all the time, but again, it’s more of a utilitarian experience vs. something of deep value.

How do you keep track of everything you are listening to?
I keep a lot of tabs open on my browser and email myself…literally, I just create a new email, put the album name in the subject line, my email in the to: and hit send…I spend a lot of time in my inbox so it’s the surest way I know I’ll come back to it — also have found good ole Shazam is nice for cataloging stuff that catches my ear, especially during a good DJ set.

Do you tip other people off to new music? How?
So I tend to only share music I find with a handful of people who I think will appreciate it. With that said, I do have a Spotify playlist I try to keep updated each quarter encompassing recent discoveries & favorites called What’s In My Headphones.

Anything you want to “promote”?
VMP Rising, our emerging artist program is consistently finding and partnering with some of the best up and coming artists out there to include: Moses Sumney, Channel Tres, Miya Folick, Gang of Youths, Ric Wilson, Dreamer Boy, Ivy Sole and more. Most of the vinyl pressings we do are limited and sell out quickly, but watch this space.

#HowWeListen – Cameron Schaefer / Vinyl Me Please was last modified: April 2nd, 2019 by Byta