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.

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Phonorecords: A Matter Where Matter Still Matters

 

Judge Sullivan’s decision in the recent Capitol Records versus ReDigi ruling allows for what we all know is perfectly legal; exchange and personal uses of original physical media, like the original commercial CDs that Murfie stores for an owner, providing access only to the owner.

Beyond that, the ruling was a bit of a letdown. In this modern era of digital audio delivered across high speed networks, we all wanted a profound decision about the future of ownership of our media.  We wanted a ruling that clearly let us know whether our iTunes downloads were albums we really owned versus data we’ve merely licensed. Instead, the case came down to the copying of… phonorecords. Phonorecords?

As defined by copyright law, phonorecords are the “material objects” in which the music is fixed. When the law was created in 1976, this meant vinyl records, eight-track tapes, and cassettes. The various music formats which followed over the years were also very clearly material objects. In the ReDigi case, the judge takes the definition of phonorecord to an entirely new level that now includes the physical section of magnetic bits stored on our harddrives in the case of iTunes downloads. By contrast, an album that is sold or accessed on Murfie’s platform simply is a CD phonorecord, stored for its owner’s convenience in Murfie’s disc vault.

And, this is where ReDigi ran into trouble. The instant that original, licensed download of Thriller was saved on our harddrive, that tiny section of bits on our physical drive became the material object associated with that phonorecord. Short of teleportation, it didn’t matter how fancy ReDigi’s system of transferring data was because, in the end, ownership of the concrete physical thing wasn’t conveyed to the buyer. The judge ruled that the laws of physics made it impossible to transfer a phonorecord (i.e. a material object) across a network in a manner that didn’t involve making a copy.

Extending the definition of a phonorecord to account for bits on a drive leaves open some interesting questions. The judge ruled that the first sale doctrine “still protects a lawful owner’s sale of her ‘particular’ phonorecord, be it a computer hard disk, iPod, or other memory device onto which the file was originally downloaded.” This seems to imply that we’re able to sell a harddrive containing a bundle of original mp3 downloads. But what about those mp3s that were transferred over to this harddrive when we upgraded it to a larger size? Or, even those files that were copied over to a new directory (file system specifics aside)?

In tying the case back to elements of copyright in place long before the rise of digital audio, the judge took a conservative approach and declined an opportunity to chart a path for first sale in the digital realm. He cited as much in his decision: “Congress has the constitutional authority and the institutional ability to accommodate fully the varied permutations of competing interests that are inevitably implicated by such new technology.”

In other words, congress needs to update our laws if the original copy of your iTunes download on your harddrive is going to be considered something more than a phonorecord that’s stuck with you (or whomever has your computer). So, for those of us waiting around for a digital first sale doctrine, it could be a while.

In the meantime, Murfie already provides a path forward for music ownership in a digital world. We’ll continue to maximize the value of your music within time-tested laws, but we also applaud any work entrepreneurs, legislators, and courts do to modernize those laws to reflect how our systems for transacting, storing, and accessing music, books, and movies that we own actually work. These advances are good for all parties and can hardly fail to lead to many new opportunities for creators, the various supporting media businesses, and fans alike.

Please drop in and check us out.

Last updated: 04/02/2013 at 4:22pm; a draft was posted by mistake

Popularity Contest: Murfie Downloads or Streaming?

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not trying to imply that one is objectively better than the other. I’m humbly venturing to gather intel (mind you, informal intel) on music delivery preferences and whether downloading OR streaming is more “popular” as a playback choice on Murfie.

Now, your exact preference is probably a result of many factors (specific to your lifestyle). Here at Murfie, we’d sure lurve if you shared some of those reasons in the comments section. But first, do the easy part — take the poll, please!

kanyegolddigger

Now I ain’t saying you’re a gold digger…

Are you a Gold Digger yet? Er, wait, that’s not right. I mixed up my gold references. Let me rephrase. Are you a Murfie Gold Member yet?

The Murfie Gold Membership program is one of our most attractive features.

You ask

Why?

I say

A Gold Membership gives you free rips & downloads of all CD purchases & trades for a year. A whole dang year!

A flat fee of $24 gives you 12 months of membership. In addition to free downloads of all CDs you purchase or trade for on Murfie, you also get free rips and downloads of up to 25 additional CDs per month from your Murfie collection (which includes CDs you mail us). Too good to be true? Nah, it’s as good as gold.

To set up a Gold Membership, just visit this page: http://www.murfie.com/subscription