Colby Ramsay of My Boy Rascal. On working with Vinyl Records, Ramsay says, “It’s amazing how far my music has come. It’s just worlds better.” Photo by Alex Raines.
Tripp Gobble, cofounder of Vinyl Records: “Once we got going, we realized how hard it really is for student bands.” Photo by Alex Raines.
Vinyl Records put on a party at the Student Union Cabaret for the release of My Boy Rascal’s The Study of Animal Magicality. The band's Colby Ramsay said the Cabaret is a place "where people can sit there and really listen to the music and feel something.” Photo by Tang Yi.
For the record: label helps campus musicians find their groove
In high school Tripp Gobble would drive an hour from Louisburg, North Carolina, to hear his favorite bands at Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro.
When he arrived at Carolina in 2006, Gobble immersed himself in the local music scene, where he befriended some musicians. One was Al Mask, a pianist minoring in music, and after returning from a summer spent playing and recording and performing at the Berklee College of Music, he had an idea for Gobble.
Mask wanted to start an organization to help students produce their own music, because he knew firsthand just how hard it was.
Gobble was in.
Gobble admits he isn’t much of a musician. “I’ve never been incredibly skilled at any instrument, outside of the trombone in middle school,” he jokes. But he had always wanted to be more than just a music fan. Gobble took Mask’s idea—to help student bands financially—and thought, “What if we started a label with an entire network of support around these musicians and helped them build a professional portfolio?”
Of course, neither Gobble nor Mask knew anything about starting a record label. They turned to mentors in the music department and the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise for guidance, developing a business plan that they entered in the Carolina Challenge, UNC’s venture capital competition.
They didn’t win that competition, but they revised their proposal and won a $25,000 grant from the Carolina Entrepreneurial Institute’s Innovations Fund in the spring of 2008.
Vinyl Records was born.