May 26, 2023 - Business

Denver vinyl chief lands on Billboard's 40 Under 40

Cameron Schaefer. Photo: Courtesy of Paul Miller Photography

Denver's music scene is getting better and better — and much of that is thanks to local industry leaders like Cameron Schaefer.

Driving the news: The former U.S. Air Force captain was recently featured on Billboard's 40 Under 40 List for moving the music industry forward and boosting its growth.

  • Schaefer is the CEO of Vinyl Me, Please — a Denver-based record subscription club that works with artists and labels across the country to deliver unique and exclusive releases to its roughly 80,000 mail-order customers.
  • The company launched in 2013 with about a dozen subscribers, Schaefer tells us, but the business has been booming in recent years due to Gen Z's growing interest in vinyl.

What he's saying: "I think digital has become quite uninspiring, especially if you're a young kid who's only ever listened to their music on their iPhone," Schaefer says.

  • Now, younger people "look at a turntable and a record — they know it's old technology — but they almost embrace it with the same kind of amazement as when we all got our first iPod," he notes.

The big picture: VMP's goal, Schaefer says, is to "provide tangible experiences of music that feel much more human."

Of note: The record-of-the-month club recently partnered with Dolly Parton to release a first-of-its-kind 12-month vinyl subscription devoted to the legendary singer's catalog. "It's been incredible working with her and her team, and her fanbase is unbelievable," he says.

What's next: Schaefer's team is building out a 14,000-square-foot vinyl pressing plant in the RiNo Art District, which will open this summer. It's a big deal, he tells us, because the facility will be one of just a handful in the world that creates the metal used to press records.

  • His vision for the space, which sits across from concert venue Mission Ballroom, includes public tours, a small retail space to buy records, and a lounge for events.

The bottom line: Denver "has a lot more to be proud of when it comes to music than it ever seems to admit," Schaefer tells us. "My hope is that this pressing plant is a small step in the right direction of helping people think of Denver as a great music city."

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