What comes to mind when you think about vinyl records?
Maybe you imagine try-hard undergrads decorating their apartments with unopened LPs. Or a broken speaker churning Morrissey out of a Montreal storefront.
While vinyl’s resurgence might’ve started in dorm rooms and hip hotspots, it’s ended up in the homes—and hearts—of people everywhere.
Fads like frosted tips and the Macarena are bound to stay locked away in their respective decades, but vinyl’s warm textures keep drawing listeners back. Last year, records generated more revenue than ad-supported streaming services like Spotify—sales of vinyl LPs and EPs actually hit their highest levels since 1988.
As streaming services continue to push ownership further from the hands of fans, it seems like customers are more eager than ever to take home real, physical pieces of music. And on the frontlines of this shift are ambitious entrepreneurs fighting to feed the world’s growing demand for vinyl.
Meet Waxwork Records
For Kevin Bergeron and Suzy Soto, selling vinyl online came as a natural way to combine two of their greatest passions: Horror movies and great music.
Their business, Waxwork Records, re-issues classic vinyl soundtracks from cult films like Rosemary’s Baby and The Warriors, carving out a niche audience of horror and sci-fi superfans looking to own a slice of the movies that the love.
Over the past three-and-a-half years, Waxwork Records has catapulted Kevin and Suzy from the world of New Orleans punk rock to rubbing shoulders with film legends like Martin Scorsese and George Romero.
And it all started with a Christmas gift.
Take a quick look at Kevin and Suzy’s resumes and Waxwork Records might seem like it was inevitable. Kevin spent years in a punk band and had a gig as a cremator. Suzy worked with Kevin’s dad in a photography studio before buying the business and running it herself in 2010.
But Waxwork Records didn’t really take shape until Suzy bought Kevin a set of vinyl horror soundtracks for Christmas and the gift sparked an idea for a something bigger.
“I loved being in the recording studio; I loved vinyl and the entire process of making a record. I was like: We should do something like this. So, we took a big risk and just started doing it.”
Pressing vinyl takes time, patience, and money, so Kevin and Suzy started selling off old music gear to raise money for their first run. Even though the equipment sales barely made a dent in their budget, the two were dead-set on turning something that they were crazy about into a real, sustainable business.
“I come from a punk rock background and I come from the school of thought that the dirtier and more raw something is, the better. I like seeing a band play, a string on the guitar breaks, and they just keep going for it. That’s what I’m really into. That’s why vinyl is something that I just enjoy more than CDs or MP3s. It’s a really great way to enjoy music.”
Vinyl’s rawness and unpredictability are its greatest strengths. Its hisses and blips are a far cry from digital audio’s processed perfection, giving songs recorded decades ago a sense of intimacy. Something that Kevin thinks lends itself well to creating unique experiences for customers.
I think Neil Young said it best: People don’t have MP3 listening parties. They have vinyl listening parties.
Crafting Authentic Experiences for Fans
That’s the idea at the center of Waxwork Records: Vinyl isn’t just another way to listen to music, it’s an experience in and of itself.
Packaged with gorgeous artwork and custom-printed vinyl, Kevin and Suzy’s records are every collector’s daydream: Exclusive, limited edition memorabilia made in collaboration with the film’s original artists and composers.
Those collaborations are the real magic behind Waxwork Records. Whether it’s connecting with major studios to secure the rights to blockbuster soundtracks or working with the family of the late Florian Fricke for their release of Nosferatu, Kevin and Suzy are dedicated to bringing their customers an authentic, new way to experience their favorite movies.
As fans themselves, they often know exactly what their customers want. In fact, their recent Goosebumps release was a big moment for Kevin, in particular because it included brand new artwork from the original Goosebumps artist:
“I grew up in the late 80s and 90s, I collected Goosebumps books. So, who better to get than Tim Jacobus to do the actual artwork? We reached out to him and I was totally anticipating not getting a response. But he was really excited about it. It was a childhood dream come true kind of thing.”
It was a childhood dream come true kind of thing.
The films themselves also play a huge role in the design of each release. For Taxi Driver, the packaging took inspiration from NYC cabs with a car tire as the record’s center label on one variant and a white, yellow, and black colorway on another. For The Warriors, the vinyl was decked out with a spraypaint-influenced design, mirroring the vibrant graffiti-covered walls of the 70s cult classic.
“It needs to be a very cohesive package. The vinyl has to translate some sort of message from the movie itself. A lot of thought goes into it, a lot of research. Just finding the right people that can actually create the artwork for the packaging.”
Building a Community
Businesses like Waxwork Records aren’t just selling products—they’re selling experiences. Customers aren’t just buying a piece of vinyl, they’re buying a rainy evening, listening to the Friday the 13th soundtrack by candlelight and trading ghost stories.
This approach resonates with Millennials especially, who are behind over half of all vinyl record sales in the US. In fact, 78% of Millennials would rather purchase an experience than a product, putting businesses at a clear advantage when they position their products as experiences rather than one-time purchases.
Using Instagram to Showcase Products
To sell these experiences to fans, Kevin and Suzy have seen their biggest success on Instagram. With a mix of stunning product photos and teaser videos, the true value of their records is put on full display.
Each teaser video is custom-made to fit the vibe of a new release and paint a full picture of what it’s really like to own a Waxwork Records soundtrack. The Krampus teaser, for example, scans around a creepy living room scene on Christmas Eve before a gift-wrapped LP shoots down the chimney—a charming blend of quirky humor and holiday horror.
If you own a Shopify store, you can show off your brand's Instagram photos on your site and product pages using apps like Shoppable Instagram, Like2HaveIt, and Social Media Stream. Featuring your Instagram photos prominently is a great way to give your customers a look at your products in action, putting their doubts to rest and pushing them closer to making a purchase.
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Engaging Fans with Contests, Giveaways, and More
Being able to connect with their audience and build a community is huge for Waxwork Records. They’re a business that was created both by real fans and for real fans—and Kevin and Suzy engage with their most die-hard followers at every turn.
To build excitement for an upcoming release of the Evil Dead 2 soundtrack, they used Powr Poll, an app from the Shopify App Store, to let customers vote on the new release’s artwork. In the end, thousands of people voted and their online store traffic went through the roof.
Polls, contests, and giveaways are a great way to reach out to your fans and drum up excitement. Take a look at these great resources to build hype for your next promotion:
Driving Demand with Exclusivity
Every release for Waxwork Records is a limited run. Although the exclusivity of their products is part of their appeal, Waxwork has introduced a subscription program featuring 5 LPs and exclusive merch to give fans a hand.
Their subscriptions reward their most loyal customers by giving them a guaranteed shot at picking up the next set of soundtracks. Subscriptions are only available for purchase for a couple of weeks in December, but they’ve already proven to be a huge success so far with enrollments doubling year over year.
Subscriptions are perfect for letting your biggest fans know that you care about them. If they're willing to commit to purchasing your products regularly, then you need to show them how much you appreciate them by continuing to surprise and delight them with free gifts and discounts.
What’s in Store for the Future?
While cult film soundtracks are still the bread-and-butter of their business, Kevin and Suzy are constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to build even more immersive experiences for their fans.
One of their most exciting ideas is Waxwork Comics, a spin-off comic book publishing house featuring original stories and music:
“Each comic book will come with a companion 7-inch vinyl record, so that customers can read the comic and, while they’re reading, spin the record at the same time. The record is going to act as a soundtrack to the stories that are in the comic book.”
To build Waxwork Comics, Kevin and Suzy are enlisting the help of some of the big guns from comic book heavyweights like Dark Horse, DC, and Marvel. Think of it as an Expanded Waxwork Universe—Netflix Originals for the cult film world—offering original content that caters to the audience that they’ve already attracted to their brand.
With expansion on the horizon and a legion of rabid fans behind them, Kevin and Suzy remain steadfast in their commitment to delivering killer records and unforgettable experiences.
“This is all we do. Honestly. We don’t have a safety net. We don’t have anything to fall back on. Luckily, we’ve gotten the attention of a lot of awesome, dedicated fans along the way. We’re just going to keep at it until the wheels fall off.”
We’re just going to keep at it until the wheels fall off.
Turn What You Love into a Business
Kevin and Suzy started their business by taking something that they loved and running with it.
They didn’t see cult film soundtracks as an easy win, they saw it as something that they genuinely cared about and wanted to share with their fellow fans.
So, what’s your passion? Take a note from Kevin and Suzy: Turn what you love into something real and put it back out into the world.
Ready to get started? Share your obsession with us in the comments below!
About the Author
Kevin Donnelly is a content creator at Shopify with an unhealthy Drake obsession.