Colorado Music-Related Business|

By Justin Wingerter | BusinessDen | The Denver record company Vinyl Me, Please has ousted its top executives and sued them for allegedly funneling company funds to their pricy pet project in RiNo.

Vinyl Me, Please was founded in 2012 and has become a popular record-of-the-month subscription service in the dozen years since, with 20,000 subscribers today, it said. CEO Cameron Schaefer and Chief Financial Officer Adam Block led the company in recent years.

But the company’s board fired them, along with Chief Strategy Officer Rich Kylberg, in March. And on Wednesday, all three were sued by the company they led.

The stated cause for their ouster is a new 14,000-square-foot vinyl record production plant at 4201 N. Brighton Blvd. That plant, which started pressing records this year, has been hyped by national and local media, as well as Schaefer, Block and Kylberg, since 2022.

“It’s purely because we love Denver,” Schaefer said that year of the decision to press records in RiNo. “People might laugh at that, but it’s really true. We definitely had people pushing us like, ‘There are cheaper places you could build this.’ But that wouldn’t be as fun.”

Behind the closed doors of Vinyl Me, Please, the plant is not seen as such a fun success.

“To date, the pressing plant has not demonstrated the ability to press vinyl records in a timely or professional manner,” according to the company’s lawsuit in Denver District Court.

In 2020, as the pandemic pinched global supply chains, VMP’s suppliers placed limits on the number of vinyl records it could buy. That’s when Schaefer, Block and Kylberg “seized on the order cap and the fear of possible further disruptions in VMP’s supply chain as an opportunity that they could exploit for their personal benefit,” the company says now.

The three executives decided to start a vinyl pressing plant that would supply records to Vinyl Me, Please directly. They came before VMP’s board with a proposal in late 2021.

In VMP’s recollection, the plan was for the factory to be independently owned and independently funded, save for some minor expenditures and VMP staff time. The seven-person board was divided, 4-3, with Schaeffer casting the deciding aye vote, the company said.

Vinyl Me, Please accuses Schaefer, Block and Kylberg of violating that plan before it was even approved, by spending $200,000 in company funds on equipment for the plant in mid-2021. They had also spent hundreds of company hours on the plant by then, VMP alleged.
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