Screen Shot 2015-01-13 at 11.38.07 AM

Ownership Matters: A way to own digital media you buy online

In his piece for PoliticoMagazine, Kyle K. Courtney describes the questionably precise positioning of the “buy” button so commonly found next to music and movies online.

“When Amazon, iTunes or any digital retailer explicitly says ‘Buy Now’ and the consumer clicks that ‘buy’ button, there is a definite presumption of purchase, and, with that purchase, ownership. That presumption, however, is not reflected in reality,” says Courtney.

If you read the pages of fine print, which many of us don’t, you’ll see you’re not really “buying” anything. Your content is only as protected as the terms say it is, and only if the retailer maintains your access to the content you paid for, as they or their service can close at any time. Most of the digital content you buy is not protected by the solid legal rights you get when you purchase media in its traditional physical format.

So why do people keep buying into media they’ll never own? Courtney says, “We are attracted — and have become accustomed — to the convenience of rapid purchases and on-demand content. When it comes time to move our online MP3 collection or transfer digital content to another device, then we face a surprising reality: We do not really own our electronic music, books and movies in the same way we do when we purchase physical books, CDs, records or DVDs.”

With the Murfie service, we’ve created a hybrid of physical and digital ownership: digital content with true ownership rights in the underlying media you own. The music you buy on Murfie can be available instantly to stream, and you can sell it to someone else if you decide it’s not for you. This is possible because each album you buy is backed by a corresponding physical copy that we store at our headquarters. It’s up to you if you want to store your titles on our shelves or yours, but the digital access is available to you anywhere.

On-demand music and movies are convenient, and it’s true that not everyone will care about owning everything they pay for. But the main issue, Courtney seems to be saying, is transparency. If we’re not really “buying” the digital content from these other big-name services, that should be clear. Then people will have the information to make informed choices about real purchases vs. rental contracts, and go for an ownership-based model if that’s what they desired in the first place.

In the future, we could have ownership that’s free of the physical backups. This could be possible with better contracts around digital content, which could allow buyers to have permanent and transferable rights connected to the media they bought, in formats that work across vendors and services. At Murfie we refer to this as a Physical Equivalent License, and we’re working on offering one down the road—and when it happens, we’ll be sure to state what you are really paying for clearly, right on the buttons in the shops.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 12.22.13 PM

[Opinion] Save the iPod!

I love my iPod! I have a shiny silver iPod Classic with a whopping 160GB of storage. For the past 4 years or so, it’s travelled all over with me, allowing me to listen to music on busses to Milwaukee (Cue: “Traveling Man”), on planes 30,0000 feet in the sky (Cue: “Leaving on a Jet Plane”), and on beaches in Jamaica (Cue: “Country Roads”).

The reason why I often listen to music on my iPod and not my phone, especially while traveling, is because it doesn’t drain my phone battery and I can access my entire collection offline. At home, I can plug it into my speaker system and I don’t need to worry about turning the music off to make a phone call.

This is why I was extremely saddened, disappointed, and upset to hear that Apple is discontinuing production of the iPod Classic! Now that the news is out, iPod Classics are selling for up to four times their original price online. But it’s no surprise, really, that Apple will be pushing people to buy the “next” thing.

I’m not alone in this sentiment. David Sims of The Atlantic says it’s okay to miss the iPod Classic. He noticed reactions like mine, and the spike in prices says it even more simply. “The surge of demand for old iPods suggests what I’ve long been thinking: There’s a hole in the market here. Something has to rush in and fill it eventually,” he says.

The hole he’s talking about is that even though streaming services exist, people still want permanence in their digital music collections. The tunes on your iPod occupy a sort of middle-ground between music rental (i.e. subscription streaming services) and ownership. With an iPod, you can collect digital music files, whether you ripped them from a CD or bought them from Apple (you technically don’t own the Apple files—you own a license to play the files according to Apple’s terms). But either way, you still can feel like you own them, because you’re in full control of where the files live.

Don’t get me wrong, streaming is great to have available! Streaming playback of my music is a great modern invention, whether it’s streaming what I own from Murfie or from a subscription service. But there’s still something convenient, and comforting, about having guaranteed access to all the music I care about in a package that follows me wherever I want to be. The iPod Classic is a great solution for the portable, offline listening and management of digital files, and I’m sad to see it go.

Sims says, “The question is whether Apple will realize its mistake or some other company will do it for them.” If another company wants to step up and make a comparable portable player, I applaud them. But hope my iPod Classic will still able to be supported in some way.


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


215582_10150544374850542_3155715_n

Interview with Man Mantis [Podcast]

Electronic music is an exciting genre. The addition of technology to the music-making progress created a rapid and diverse evolution of styles and sounds. Man Mantis mixes electronic, hip hop and other styles to make something pleasing to the ears. And as he creates, the music takes a life of its own. We at Murfie know Man Mantis as Mitch Pond, a former employee. With an inside scoop of what it’s like to work at a music service, and what it’s like to sell his own music online, Mitch has a lot of valuable insights on the music industry in general.

Who: Man Mantis; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Mitch shares his history, music evolution, thoughts on the changing music industry and the difference between the Madison and Denver music scenes.
Where: Murfie HQ
When: June 14th, 2014
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version


Albums by Man Mantis + more recommendations

Man Mantis Cities Without HousesMan Mantis Dawn of the Def

RJD2 The Third HandRJD2 Deadringer

Flying Lotus Pattern + Grid WorldDumate Rite The Known KnownsDj Shadow Preemptive StrikeDj Shadow The Outsider


 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more at facebook.com/manmantis.

Into RSS? Follow our podcast feed via http://blog.murfie.com/category/podcasts/feed.


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


Don’t Bury Your Digital Music!

One of the questions we get here at Murfie over and over again runs along the lines of:

What happens to my music when I die?

We get the question so often that we’ve set up two FAQ items to clarify the situation for our members (and prospective members):

On average, each of our members own and store 120 compact discs at Murfie. If they purchased them all new, each such average-sized collection represents an investment of as much as $2,000. In fact, in the United States alone, consumers have purchased around 15 billion compact discs at a cost (in today’s dollars) of about a quarter-trillion dollars. WOW! Some of our biggest members have as much as $50,000 or more invested in their CD collections!

So it’s not surprising that people think of their music collections as “assets” that they may want to hand down to their family, friends, or favorite charities. News outlets such as CNet and TIME Magazine have even addressed these “digital asset” inheritance issues. At Murfie, our members own their music, and it’s their business what happens to it after they’re gone.

Shopkeep of the Week

2013_0403_featuredshop_wildwoodMike has been rockin’ the Murfie marketplace since May 2012. He’s sent in six kits all the way from sunny Georgia to lil’ ol’ Wisconsin, adding over 1700 discs to our warehouse.

Murfie: How did you originally learn about Murfie?
Mike: Truthfully, I don’t remember. I am a CD seller and have sold tens of thousands over the internet, so I was looking for an outlet for those that I get that are missing artwork.

Murfie: When did you purchase your first CD? What was it?
Mike: My first CD was the Eagles Greatest Hits Volume 1, and it was probably 10+ years ago.

Murfie: How many CDs do you own (or did you own at your peak)?
Mike: I currently own several thousand CDs, but that is because I am a seller. My personal collection is all digital so there are no CDs.

Murfie: How tall are you?
Mike: 5’10”. How tall are you?

Murfie: Tell us about your musical tastes.
Mike: Mostly classic rock and blues.

Murfie: What can folks expect to find in your store (if different than the above)?
Mike: Everything.

Murfie: If you could meet any musician or band in person, who would it be and why?
Mike: Freddie Mercury, because I believe he was greatly talented.

Murfie: What is your favorite album at the moment?
Mike: I truly don’t have a favorite. I usually just shuffle the songs in my collection.

Murfie: What do you plan to do with the millions of dollars you’re making from your Murfie shop?
Mike: Buy more music, of course.

Murfie: Which Beatle was your favorite?
Mike: Paul

Check out Mike’s shop on Murfie!

Shopkeep of the Week is a weekly feature that focuses on our most interesting Murfie shopkeepers. These are music lovers like you who have sold hundreds of pre-loved CDs on Murfie and have hundreds more at the ready to please your ears! If you’d like your Murfie Shop to be featured, or if you’d like to nominate a shop to be featured, please e-mail us at info@murfie.com and let us know.