By Maggie McPhee
Any walk through Urban Outfitters provides evidence of the vinyl resurgence, and any dinner party conversation proves the popularity of podcasts. But what would happen if someone combined the two?
Andrew Zwicker wants to deliver a premium podcast on vinyl to your doorstep. Zwicker, the bright and bubbly BC native, got candid with BeatRoute about the logistical challenges of the music world and his exciting new project, The VinylCast.
The VinylCast combines MTV Unplugged and Song Exploder to delve deep into bands’ inner worlds as well as the production secrets of select songs. Bands like Shred Kelly and the Pack AD, or, as Zwicker says, “CBC-famous-level bands,” play “unique versions you can’t hear anywhere else.”
“It’s all about trying to build that relationship between the artist and the fan to try to bring them a little closer together,” he adds. “It’s amazing how well the interviews worked out, how bands have gotten really personal and really into their lives.””
Like many entrepreneurial endeavours, The VinylCast developed from luck, ambition, and accident. Already an established podcast producer with 200 episodes under his belt, the idea for a new music podcast set Zwicker down an unexpected path.
“I thought, let’s go out and make one prototype episode,” he says. “So, naïve me, not knowing much about the intricacies of the music world at that time, thought ‘I’ll just call up Mother Mother – they’re playing in town in a couple of weeks, sure, I’ll put them on the show.’”
After a successful interview with Mother Mother, their liaison at Universal Music Canada – who became a “great ally” to the project – gave Zwicker bad news.
“What it ultimately came down to was the economics… there’s still a major bias against digital online businesses in the music world.” (Each online listen costs a company eight cents, Zwicker explains. Even Spotify, with 75 million paying listeners, is losing money.) Zwicker felt defeated. “I’ve got these super cool episodes, but I can’t get them out to people.”
The “lightbulb moment” came when Zwicker’s wife suggested pressing the episodes into records. Vinyl offers many benefits: sales have increased 1000 per cent in the last decade, and studies show that listening to vinyl secretes more dopamine than mp3.
The VinylCast invites listeners “inside the heads and souls of the musicians you love or don’t yet know you love,” Zwicker says. “It’s like getting a chance to hang out in the jam room with these bands, to chill, chat, play some tunes. Not everybody gets the opportunity to do that, but if I can help bring people into the experience, that’s pretty cool.”
Learn more about The VinylCast at www.thevinylcast.club