A Randomized Vinyl Vending Machine Is Now at Toronto's Sonic Boom Records

The Phono-Mat puts a new spin on record collecting

BY Calum SlingerlandPublished Aug 19, 2022

Toronto's Sonic Boom Records has been known to put together dazzling window displays, host discerning crate diggers like Elton John and Jagmeet Singh, and — on extremely rare occasions — sell secret Burial singles. Now, Canada's largest independent record store is putting a new spin on the LP experience with a vinyl vending machine.

Today, Sonic Boom have officially launched the Phono-Mat, a randomized record vendor billed as the first-ever machine of its kind. 

Finished in light blue, the retro-styled Phono-Mat was designed and built in Toronto by Craig Small, who previously applied the idea of randomized vending to a coin-operated book dispenser dubbed the Biblio-Mat which can be found in the city at the Monkey's Paw, blocks away from Exclaim! HQ.

As opposed to that machine's coins, the Phono-Mat is operated using custom tokens found at Sonic Boom's front desk. Below the store-branded LP on the machine's face, users press a button for their choice of either a 7- or 12-inch record. Upon making their choice, a surprise record will come out of the machine.

To make these random records stand out in collections, a press release also points to the inclusion of custom Sonic Boom and Phono-Mat-branded obi sashes — paper strips prized by collectors of Japanese-issued vinyl — marking the discs as "selected exclusively for your pleasure" by the machine. Here's hoping they aren't limited to that 7-inch of Bon Jovi's "Lay Your Hands on Me."

Music-minded gamers may recognize Small's name from his work on CanCon-powered videogame LOUD on Planet X.

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