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Meet Josh Markarian of Discover Vinyl in Highland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Josh Markarian.

Josh, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Absolutely, Discover Vinyl has come to be through a series of small steps with each collaboration shaping what we have grown to be. In the early stages, Discover was simply an Instagram page for my vinyl collection. It allowed me to interact with the vinyl community. I fell in love with the space after realizing that I wasn’t alone and there was a community of people who shared my taste in hardcore and punk music which formed our roots.

We have been able to wear a handful of different hats over time and have the creative freedom to pivot and explore different avenues that may be considered less traditional. From helping artists breaking into social communities, creating shareable branded animations to structuring marketing campaigns around the goal of driving pre-order sales and sparking a conversation around the upcoming release. Each of our campaigns is tailored around the artist and their goals.

Building a fanbase and sustainable practice as an artist doesn’t always happen on the same timeline for everyone. With that in mind, we are able to lend our resources to each artist allowing us to help them grow and bring their vision to life. We focus around building local music scenes and helping people connect through music, shared experiences, and their personal meaning behind the music. To us being community-based is more than just sharing music that people are talking about, but also being supportive and helping spread positivity.

We continue to scale because of the creatives and members in the community who are fueling our growth. Through listening to what the community is talking about we are able to highlight hidden gems and trending releases while creating content that stands out from what you typically see today. I have been fortunate enough to build out a network of creatives who have helped us branch out from metal to covering artists who are pushing boundaries across all genres and mediums of art. Including our editor, Justin whose pop-punk tendencies have led to some of our favorite projects and collaborations with Jomo whose coverage and unique “day in the life” style photography helped us break the label of “rock music blog”.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
As with any business or passion, there are roadblocks that come up and challenges you face. If I have learned anything, it’s that consistency coupled with motivation are some of the most important things as you build a business. You are bound to hit dead-ends and tasks that are out of your capabilities. It is important to know your and have boundaries so you don’t spread yourself too thin or produce under par work. Rather see this as an opportunity to collaborate with someone who does know the ins and outs of that topic.

We also like to take a proactive approach to identifying and stopping issues before they happen. One practice that has worked is poking holes in our own campaigns, this leads to going through multiple revisions before bringing an idea forward. As a result, we are confident and proud of the work we get to be a part of.

Some general issues still facing the analog music industry are the availability for new artists to get their music on vinyl. A lot of bands regardless of the age or genre have the common misconception is that you need to be signed to a record label to put your release onto physical media. People have built distance between analog and streaming culture but there is no reason why Spotify and vinyl can’t go hand-in-hand to fuel each other.

Please tell us about Discover Vinyl.
Our goal is to help preserve the beauty that is vinyl & record culture. We support the local music community through urging listeners to support and share artists they love however they can whether it’s buying a record, catching a show or simply telling a friend.

Discover Vinyl is a music blog and community of record collectors. Covering the full spectrum of Rock, from Pop-Punk to Metalcore, we highlight trending vinyl releases while also shining light on underground records helping record labels and artists to get their music directly in front of fans building their vinyl collection. From pr outreach to music placements, and graphic design, we use each opportunity to learn and expand on how we can help artists and labels going forward.

The last piece that brings Discover Vinyl full circle is our vinyl record display series in collaboration with Ty Sively/MacDermid designs to create a new design-conscious way to display your records. We wanted to find a way not only to create a product that we would love to use and put into daily rotation but that also helps compliment collections people already have.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I am still learning everyday but here are a few things I picked up along the way. One simple practice was to always include a buffer in our work. By giving us the proper time and space needed to be creative, we have been able to focus more on the project at hand and allow the work to go through revisions.

Another big thing I have learned both through falling victim to as well as seeing the rise and fall of others in the space is that consistency is key, everyone makes mistakes or bad business decisions but successful business are the ones who get back up and keep going no matter what comes. This goes to all aspects of your business from marketing efforts to sales and prospecting for new work if you don’t give each avenue time to grow and get its footing it never will.

I don’t know where Discover Vinyl will be in five years but I can tell you we will still be here covering the bands and music we love with the ever-growing vinyl community.

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