Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler, class of 2011, launched Vinyl Me, Please as a passion project in January 2013. Little did he know, his passion project–which seeks to help people explore, experience, and enjoy music on a deeper level–would soon be a huge hit.
Later in 2013, Fiedler accepted a job with a tech company in Boulder, Colorado. So, Vinyl Me, Please moved to Colorado with Fiedler and gained significant momentum in 2014. It soon became too big to ignore, so Fiedler and his team decided to quit their jobs to pursue it full time.
Fiedler shared one thing he is most proud of is the team Vinyl Me, Please has built. The company has about 23 people employed full time, and Fiedler says he is honored to call them his peers. He shared, “They all have their own gifts and strengths they’ve brought to our company. It’s because of their hard work and dedication that we’ve been successful.”
Beyond that, Fiedler is really proud of being included on the INC 5,000 Most Inspiring Companies and FastCompany’s Most Innovative Companies lists. He carries a lot of pride in those because he remembers being a student at Belmont and researching companies on those lists. He was always hoping to be a part of something like that one day. Forbes even published a feature about how he grew his $10 million business in five years.
Fiedler was also recognized by the Thomas F. Cone Center for Entrepreneurship as on of the top 100 alumni entrepreneurs at an inaugural event.
“I don’t often put much weight in those kinds of things, but I know a younger version of myself would be very proud of those accomplishments,” stated Fiedler.
While attending Belmont, Fiedler studied music business and entrepreneurship. He said, “Belmont definitely carries recognition within the industry. People know it by name and have a lot of respect for the music business program. I studied both music business and entrepreneurship, so my education has helped me tremendously. At the end of the day though, you have to be willing to put in the work. Belmont gave me a great platform from which to jump, but it doesn’t mean anything was given to me or Vinyl Me, Please.”
Fiedler had internships during his time at Belmont working on a variety of projects in different areas of the music industry. While he learned a lot, he was not passionate about much of the work he was doing. Fiedler said, “I am at my best when I’m working on things I’m passionate about because that’s what fuels me to do great work. When it became clear I would have to find passion in other ways, I became less interested in making it in music and more interested in working with music in other ways.”
“A question I often get is how we started,” explained Fiedler. “People naturally assume starting a business is something you need to know how to do before and that it’s really ‘hard.’ The reality is, we knew very little before getting started, and it wasn’t that difficult to launch. We simply had an idea and found a way to make it happen. There’s no operating manual to being an entrepreneur. It’s a game of perseverance and sustainability.”
When asked about the future of his company, Fiedler replied, “The mission behind Vinyl Me, Please is about experiencing music more deeply. It’s about truly listening, understanding and appreciating music. It sounds simple but it’s actually quite counter-cultural in a world dominated by technology. Whereas so much of the music industry is focused on streaming, our aspiration is to be the champions of vinyl. To me, vinyl is about taking the time to invest in what you’re listening to, being willing to sit in stillness and letting the music do its work on you. That kind of experience is rare in today’s world, but it’s an experience that can define a life. That’s what we’re trying to create at Vinyl Me, Please.”
For students pursuing entrepreneurship, Fiedler shared, “The single best piece of advice I can give is to be endlessly curious and to embrace your own naivety. So much of my experience and success is a product of me being willing to ask the silly questions and do something only because we didn’t know any better.”