A NEW SUBSCRIPTION SERVICE FOR BLACKEST EVER BLACK RELEASES
For the past three or four years, Blackest Ever Black’s bread and butter has been its webshop and mailorder service. In this time, the loyal support of you, our web customers, has been of huge importance and value to us, enabling us to maintain the frequency and (we like to think) quality of the label’s output.
For a while now, a few of you have been asking whether we might offer some kind of subscription service, allowing you to pay a lump sum upfront and be guaranteed a copy of each new release when it becomes available. Finally, after a bit of thought, a lot of procrastination, and then shamelessly copying the approach of a couple of other labels (thanks Mississippi, thanks MIE), we’ve decided to launch just such a service – as a means to reward our most regular customers, and hopefully make their lives a little easier. And, in the tradition of such things, we’ve given this service a silly name, even sillier than Blackest Ever Black, and one which alludes quite bluntly to the addictive, enslaving nature of record-collecting and indeed records themselves: the Vicious Circle.
Regular customers will be aware of how our prolific release schedule tends to be, and 2016 will certainly be no different: in the first half of the year alone, we plan releases from Dalhous, Secret Boyfriend, Af Ursin, Carla dal Forno, Tomorrow The Rain Will Fall Upwards, Raime and more. We anticipate a total of around 15-20 new vinyl and cassette releases over the next 12 months. Membership of our Vicious Circle is the only sure-fire way to receive copies of these and other releases, no matter how limited the pressing or edition size. Furthermore, you’ll save money on the cost of each of our records, and enjoy a number of other member’s privileges and gifts.
We urge you to read the full information below before you consider parting with your hard-earned and pledging fealty to the V.C., but first here’s a summary of the main advantages of becoming a member:
– You will receive everything Blackest Ever Black releases, as soon as it becomes available.
– You will be guaranteed a copy of every release, no matter how small the pressing or edition size.
– You will pay significantly less than the regular retail price for each release.
– You will also enjoy savings on postage & packing.
– You will be entitled to free shipping on any back catalogue or distro items that you order.
– You will occasionally receive free gifts and/or member-only items such as badges, mixtapes, postcards, and other trinkets.
– Upon becoming a member, you will receive your choice of one free LP, CD, 12” or 10” from the back catalogue; or, if you prefer, a bonus £5 credit added to your opening balance.
– You will receive a free digital download of every Blackest Ever Black release, even those that are vinyl-only releases (but not those that are cassette-only or otherwise restricted).
– You can cancel your V.C. membership at any time, and have your remaining balance returned to you straightaway.
There are three types of Vicious Circle membership available:
You receive all Blackest Ever Black’s vinyl releases (7”, 10”, LP, etc), including releases on our A14 sub-label and any future vinyl sub-labels that we inaugurate.
You receive every new Blackest Ever Black vinyl release (7”, 10”, LP, etc), including releases on A14 and any future sub-labels, plus every new cassette release on Blackest Ever Black and on our Krokodilo Tapes imprint.
You receive every new Blackest Ever Black vinyl release and cassette release (including those on our A14, Krokodilo Tapes and other sub-labels) plus every new item of merchandise (t-shirts, poster prints, tote bags, etc) that we make available.
If you become a member of the V.C., but then decide it’s not for you, don’t worry: you’re free to leave at any time. Simply email us to let us know, and we will refund your remaining money immediately; no questions asked. If, during the course of your membership, you receive a release that you do not like, you can return it to us, and we will refund you the full cost of the item (all we ask is that you cover the cost of shipping the return). If you would prefer not to receive a particular release, no problem, just let us know.
HOW TO APPLY
Please note that membership of Blackest Ever Black’s Vicious Circle is limited to 30 members.
UPDATE, 11/02/16: All 30 memberships have been filled. If you would like to be placed on the waiting list and be contacted when we’re ready to accept new members, please register your interest with an email to email@example.com. Thank you!
Membership will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. In order to request membership, please carry out the following steps:
1. Complete this application form, copy it into an email and send to firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Send us any amount of money between £30 GBP and £300 GBP to PayPal address email@example.com, making sure to include the reference VICIOUS CIRCLE somewhere.
3. Once your money has been received, we will confirm your membership via email and send you your free item.
Please DO NOT send us a completed application form but no payment, and please DO NOT send us payment but no application form. Membership will be granted to the first 30 people who send us BOTH their completed application form and their payment.
Should we reach capacity, you will placed on a V.C. waiting-list and notified when either a) we decide to raise the limit or b) an existing member leaves.
You can sign anyone up to the service, so it’s suitable as a gift; and you can request multiples of the same release if you want back-ups/gifts or if you wish to join forces with a friend to save on shipping.
If you have any questions about the Circle that are not answered by the below, or if there is anything else we can help you with, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Here’s a more detailed rundown of how the Vicious Circle works:
• To begin your membership, you send us any amount of money, between £30 & £300, via PayPal (to firstname.lastname@example.org), and fill in this application form (send it to the same email address, please).
• You will receive a copy of every Blackest Ever Black release, as soon as it becomes available. You will be guaranteed copies regardless of how limited the pressing or edition size.
• This will continue until your credit runs out.
• Members will receive high-quality digital download codes for all Blackest Ever Black releases, even those that are vinyl-only releases – unless the artist specifically requests otherwise. Codes will be issued in your shipping confirmation emails, as normal, at least one week in advance of general release date.
• Please note that you will not receive download codes for cassette-only, lathe-cut-only, or other special/restricted releases.
• Whenever you send us credit, you will receive a receipt/invoice from Blackest Ever Black confirming receipt of the money.
• Every time a record is shipped to you, we will email you a summary statement of your account, letting you know what has been sent, what amount has been deducted, and your balance remaining.
• You will receive an automated email letting you know whenever your balance falls, or is about to fall, below £10.
• Our LPs and 2xLPs are normally sold at £15-£16 per unit, but you’ll be charged £13. Likewise, you will be charged £2 less than the listed price for all other items (7”, 12”, 10” merchandise). The exception to this is cassettes, which will be charged at the regular price.
• If an item we’re selling is priced in excess of £20, we will email you to confirm whether or not you wish to receive it.
• If a particular release is announced that you would prefer not to receive, please email us in timely fashion and we will ensure that you are not sent it and that your account is not debited.
• If you receive a release that you do not like, you can return it to us, and we will refund you the full cost of the item (as soon as we have safely received the return). All we ask is that you cover the cost of shipping the return.
• If you want to purchase a release that is not covered by your V.C. membership (Blackest Ever Black back catalogue items, or distro items), please purchase it from the webshop as usual, but be sure to enter your unique member’s code at checkout in order to receive free shipping on your order (provided you are happy for us to send the item(s) as part of your next regular V.C. order/shipment). Please note this waiving of shipping costs applies only to orders of back catalogue and distro items.
• You will receive our best possible Postage & Packing rates: £3 GBP worldwide for items/orders under 0.5kg (a single 12”/LP/7”/10”, 1-2 cassettes); just £6 for packages between 0.5kg and 1kg (2xLPs etc). Customers in Germany will be charged £4 for any package up to 2kg. P&P costs will be deducted from your credit.
• All packages containing four or more records will be sent via registered & trackable post, at no additional cost to you.
• If you’re in no rush, and are not concerned about receiving every item the moment it becomes available, then we would be happy to group your items into as few packages as possible, thereby saving on shipping costs. For instance, 3 single LPs shipped separately will cost you a total of £9, whereas if we group them together into one package, it will cost you just £6. If this is how you prefer to do things, please contact us, and we will accommodate you. And you needn’t feel bound to your decision – if there is a particular release that you do want sending immediately, just let us know.
• You can sign anyone up to the service, so it’s suitable as a gift; and you can request multiples of the same release if you want back-ups/gifts or if you wish to join forces with a friend to save on shipping. Basically just email us if you have any such requests.
• Each new V.C. member will receive their choice of one free LP, CD, 12” or 10” from the back catalogue [while stocks last; see here for list of available titles]. Alternatively, if preferred, a you can opt to have a bonus £5 credit added to your opening balance.
• Members can expect to receive occasional small “gifts” from us – e.g. pin-badges, postcards, mixtapes. In some cases these will be items which are on general sale but free to members; on occasion they will be items exclusive to members.
• If there is a limited special edition of a given Blackest Ever Black release, you will receive that special edition unless you specifically request not to. For example: last year the first 30 pre-orders of Tarquin Manek’s Tarquin Manek LP came bundled with an exclusive tape of bonus material. Members would have automatically received this special LP+tape version as opposed to the standard LP version, unless they specifically requested otherwise.
• Distro items – the selected records/tapes/merch from labels like Penultimate Press, Kye, Another Dark Age, Vrystaete and La Scie Doree which we carry in our shop – are not covered by your V.C. membership. You will not be sent distro items automatically, nor will you be guaranteed a copy of these releases. If you wish to order a distro item(s) then you will need to order it from our webshop in the usual way – when doing so, enter your unique member’s code at checkout in order to receive free shipping (the item(s) will be shipped as part of your next Member’s order/shipment).
• You are free to cancel your membership of the Vicious Circle at any time – no questions asked. Simply email us to notify us, and we will return any remaining in your balance to you immediately (via PayPal).
• Blackest Ever Black reserves the right to cancel your membership of the Vicious Circle at any time. In such cases, you will be notified via email and any remaining money in your balance will be returned to you immediately (via PayPal).
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
More or less everything you need to know should be covered by the above, but here’s an FAQ just in case. Apologies for any repetitions.
Can I return an item if I don’t like it?
Yes. You will need to pay the shipping cost to return it to us, but as soon as we receive the return safely, we will credit your account for the cost of the item.
Can I opt out of a particular release?
Yes. In such an instance, please let us know soon after the release/item is announced, and we will make sure that we don’t send you the item, and that your account is not debited.
Can I send payment by a method other than PayPal?
In order to commence your membership you must sent payment via PayPal. However, thereafter we will accept top-up payments by bank transfer if that is your preference. Please contact us for more details.
How often can I top up my balance?
As often as you like.
Is there a minimum or maximum amount I can add to my balance?
Yes: the minimum amount you can add to begin your membership is £30. Thereafter, the minimum you can add to top up your balance is £20. The maximum amount you can add at any time is £300.
What happens if I don’t have enough money in my balance to cover the cost of a new release(s)?
You will not receive the release until there is sufficient money in your balance. In most cases, we will be able to put aside a copy of a new release until you’ve topped up your balance, but we cannot reserve very limited edition items for you in this situation: if such an item item has sold out by the time you have topped up your balance, we are unable to help you. It is your responsibility to keep your balance topped up: you’ll receive an up-to-date summary with each shipping notification, and you’ll be notified by email whenever your balance is about to fall below £10.
How do I buy past Blackest Ever Black releases?
The best indicator of availability is always our webshop – if we have an item available, it will be listed as “on sale”. Upon becoming a member of our Vicious Circle, you will receive a unique member’s code: apply this at checkout whenever you wish to purchase a past Blackest Ever Black release, and you will receive free shipping (provided you are happy for us to wait or the item to be included in your next regular member’s order/shipment).
Can I sign someone up to the Vicious Circle as a gift?
I don’t live in the UK or Europe. Can I still become a member?
Yes, absolutely. You will have to pay international shipping costs, obviously, but these are detailed above and are currently pretty reasonable.
What happens if I move or my postal address changes for some reason?
No problem: just let us know.
How often will I receive email updates about what I’m receiving, how much I’m spending, and so on?
• You will receive an email confirmation & receipt whenever you send money to us.
• You will receive an email whenever we’re announcing a release that is priced above £20 GBP, to confirm whether or not you wish to receive it.
• You will an email notifying you whenever a shipment is being prepared for you, including a summary of your balance and charges to date.
• You will receive an email whenever your balance falls below, or is very close to, £10.
What happens if you go out of business?
We ain’t going anywhere. But we promise that in that extremely unlikely event, we will send you back all money owed.
What happens if I just decide I need my money back?
We’ll send you a check for whatever balance is left in your V.C. account—no questions asked.
I love being a member of the V.C. but my account is running low! What do I do?
Send us more money!
Why don’t you take credit card payments?
Currently we don’t have the facility to do so, but this may change in the future.
I like Blackest Ever Black releases but I don’t have the money or inclination to subscribe to the V.C. Am I going to miss out on important releases?
The V.C. is designed to reward its members, not punish non-members. All our important releases will be available to non-members and members alike, but V.C. members will have first dibs on the more limited pressings/editions.