The mission behind OurVinyl.com is not immediately apparent from its homepage, however, founder Mike Reuthers displays a vision that far exceeds the ordinary music blog: changing the nature of the listening experience.
“Our Vinyl is like a Pandora of music videos but with live performances,” said Reuthers. “We are different from our competitors in that we actually create and own our content.”
With a current following of around 50,000 on its social media channels, it is clear that the staff at Our Vinyl knows something about today’s music junkies, what they want to hear and how they want to consume music.
“I think our mission is to bring a more authentic element to the musical experience,” said Schneider. “We want to show people what musicians are at their most raw and basic level.”
The videos distributed through the Our Vinyl website are created with a conscious attention to detail on both the audio and visual levels and directly reflect the passion the site’s staff displays for the music they love and the art they create.
Schneider attributes the aesthetic quality of their videos to the original intent behind the site which is brought to fruition by Our Vinyl’s creative director Allen Ralph.
“Allen is the aesthetic genius behind our video work, photography, web design and graphic design.”
Our Vinyl uses the strategic pairing of a stripped-down quality of sound with a visual setting that works to directly complement and reflect the style of the artist being filmed. As a result, Our Vinyl’s videos are an organic portrayal of today’s musicians in an industry that has become unnervingly over processed.
Belmont senior Austin White is just one of many Our Vinyl followers and already demonstrates an unwavering loyalty to the site.
“I visit Our Vinyl at least once a day,” said White. “Mainly I use it as a source for finding out about new artists, as well as a medium for listening to artists I love in a new capacity. I actually prefer the Our Vinyl videos to a lot of what is distributed on Youtube and VEVO.”
The live sessions filmed by Our Vinyl feature mainly artists who have reached a middle level of success, however the site occasionally features more established acts such as Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran.
Reuthers and Schneider find themselves fortunate to be spending each day doing what they love and surrounded by the art that inspires them, however Reuthers will be the first to admit that the path paved by passion has not been an easy one.
In May, 2012 Our Vinyl was accepted to a Nashville-based accelerator program called the Jumpstart Foundry. Since then, the site’s staff has become fully engrained in a constantly changing, round-the-clock work schedule.
“We basically went through a business boot camp,” said Reuthers. “Jumpstart provides you with all the tools you need to get started, gives you a full schedule, and on top of that you have to build your business.”
Having made numerous pitches to potential investors, some successful and some falling short, Reuthers attributes the current stability and growing popularity of Our Vinyl to an entrepreneurial drive that has allowed him to completely disregard the skeptics who doubted his brand and mission.
“Once we got funding it was like all the doors opened,” said Reuthers. “People who dismissed our idea early on started to take us seriously and the dynamic completely changed.”
With a steadily increasing number of brand loyalists, the future of Our Vinyl is promising. Reuthers reveals a five-year plan for the company that includes optional subscriptions that will allow users to browse videos without advertisements as well as grant them the ability to create their own library of music videos. Our Vinyl is working to become available through Xbox, Apple TV and Google TV among other media outlets.
Reuthers is pleased with the progress Our Vinyl has made over the past year and passes on some words of advice to young entrepreneurs looking to pursue their passions.
“Don’t wait to do anything. Start working on it right away,” said Reuthers. “You want to have something going for you, to show people it’s more than just an idea.”
This philosophy and work ethic is what has allowed Our Vinyl to move from a mere conception into a concrete business based solely around the staff’s revamped vision of the ideal listening experience.
“There’s something to be said about how much talent it takes for a band to perform well in a live situation,” said Schneider. “No pitch-correction, no over-dubs, no punching in. Just one take of you and your band playing the music you wrote and learned together. To me, that’s what music is supposed to be.”