April 25th Centennial of Ella Fitzgerald

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Today marks the centennial of American jazz singer, Miss Ella Jane Fitzgerald. She was born on April 25th, 1917 and passed away June 15th, 1996 due to complications from diabetes.

Ella Fitzgerald was discovered during an amateur night at the Apollo theater in Harlem. She was often referred to as the “First Lady of Song”, “Queen of Jazz” and “Lady Ella”. Her first big hit, “A Tisket, A Tasket” was released in 1938, which was written by both Ella and Chick Webb. She had a remarkable talent for singing and was most noted for her pure tone, improvisational ability and scat singing.

Norman Granz, a famous jazz impresario, worked with Ella during her career and built up the record label Verve Records based partially on her vocal talents. It was with Verve that Ella wrote many of her best works including her interpretation of The Great American Songbook.

Ella also appeared in movies and as a guest on popular television shows. She worked with a number of other Jazz artists including Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie and Duke Ellington. One notable album, Porgy and Bess, was awarded a Grammy Hall of Fame Award, a special award that honors recordings with “qualitative or historical significance”. It was considered to be among the most successful jazz vocal versions and would be released to coincide with the movie version.

After a long and successful career, which included 13 Grammy nominations and countless Downbeat Jazz Awards, Ella Fitzgerald would play her final concert at Carnegie Hall in 1991.

In addition to her many achievements, Ella assigned all of her royalties to the Charitable Foundation that bears her name. So every time you purchase a new recording of Ella’s, the royalty is donated in order to continue her charitable legacy. The centennial begins April 25th, 2017 and will conclude April 25th, 2018.

To commemorate Ella’s 100th birthday, the Smithsonian Museum opened “First Lady of Song: Ella Fitzgerald at 100.”, and the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles has created a similar tribute. In addition, much of her body of work will see re-releases all year long.

Looking for albums from Ella Fitzgerald’s discography? Check out our shop!

Shop Murfie during the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day!

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Image courtesy of recordstoreday.com

It’s that time again! Record Store Day will be held worldwide on Saturday, April 22nd 2017. This year is especially important because it marks the 10th anniversary of the holiday’s inauguration in 2007.

What is Record Store Day (RSD)?

Record Store Day was founded in 2007 as a means of celebrating the culture of the independent record store. It brings together musicians, fans and record stores alike from all across the globe. A number of records are pressed specifically for the occasion and are distributed to participating shops in various countries. Live performances also take place in various record stores during this day.

What is happening at Murfie on Record Store Day?

The staff at Murfie have sifted through the inventory in our warehouse and personally handpicked CDs we know to be popular or hard to find. We’ll be making them available for purchase this Saturday in celebration of RSD. We made sure to include albums from a wide range of genres in order to satisfy the eclectic tastes of our customers. Whether you’re the curious listener in search of new music, or the veteran connoisseur looking to add to your collection, we’ve likely found something just for you.

Here is just a sample of some of the albums we found for you! See any that you like?

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For all you listeners out there looking for the classics, we’ve picked a number of albums from the greats including Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Queen, Prince, The Police, Bruce Springsteen, Carly Simon, Yes, The Talking Heads and Fleetwood Mac.

If you’re looking for Jazz or Soul we’ve selected a few great recordings from Billie Holiday and Ella Fitzgerald, as well as solid picks from Coltrane, Wes, and Miles. We also have a few titles from Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonious Monk, Lester Young and Count Basie.

Rock and Progressive Rock fans, you won’t be disappointed. We’ve picked a number of hit albums from artists such as Goldfrapp, Phil Collins, Fall Out Boy, Queens of the Stone Age, Modest Mouse, Evanescence, Def Leppard, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Willie Nelson, Spoon and Jefferson Airplane. Of course we also had to include Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” and “Dark Side of the Moon”!      

If Metal or Punk is more your thing, we’ve selected albums from Metallica (including the self-titled black album which went 16x platinum), Medadeth, System of a Down, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Blizzard of OZ”, Mudvayne, Disturbed, Foo Fighters, Rage Against the Machine, Korn, blink-182, Green Day, Sum 41 and Linkin Park.

Pop and Top 40 fans, we’ve picked a ton of everyone’s favorites from artists such as Lady Gaga, Keri Hilson, Katy Perry, Madonna, Selena Gomez, Black Eyed Peas, Taylor Swift, Amy Winehouse, Aaliyah, John Legend, John Mayer, Coldplay, Maroon 5 and One Direction.    

Hip-hop heads jump around! We picked classics from artists such as House of Pain, Blackalicious, Public Enemy, Dr. Dre and Eminem. We also included more modern rap albums from artists like Wale, N.E.R.D., LMFAO, Outkast, Lil Wayne and  Kanye West. In addition, we chose albums from reggae/rap artist Damien Marley as well as reggae legend, Bob Marley, for you to enjoy.    

For the Electronic and Experimental listeners, we picked several titles from artists like Telepopmusik, Vangelis, Jamie Lidell and the Blue Man Group.   

We also have a number of soundtracks we will be selling including, Space Jam, Twin Peaks and Star Wars Episode 1.    

All this and more will be for sale Saturday, April 22nd 2017. We’ve selected albums from almost every genre to ensure you of a sweet find during your dig!  

Don’t see what you’re looking for?

If during RSD you aren’t finding the albums you’re craving, don’t forget to check the rest of the Murfie shop. We have a wide selection of albums to choose from, many of which sell for low, low prices!

What options do I have after purchasing my albums?

Murfie provides a service that allows listeners to purchase albums and instantly stream them in the following formats: FLAC and ALAC, mp3 and AAC. You can also send us albums you’ve purchased from other vendors and we will rip them to your Murfie account.

The physical copies of the albums are yours, but we will store them indefinitely in our warehouse until you choose to have them sent to you. This way you can maintain a clutter-free environment while you enjoy your favorite albums from your preferred devices.

Check out our FAQ for answers to all your basic questions or feel free to contact us, and we will gladly answer any of your questions about our services.

 

 

 

 

Record Store Day is almost here!

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Attention all you audiophiles out there! If you didn’t know, the 10th anniversary of Record Store Day will be commencing Saturday, April 22nd 2017. In celebration of this informal holiday, Murfie will be selling a number of handpicked CDs.

Record Store Day was founded in 2007 as a means of celebrating the culture of the independent record store. It brings together musicians, fans and records stores alike from all across the globe. A number of records are pressed specifically for the occasion and are distributed to participating shops in various countries. Live performances also take place in various record stores during this day.

In addition, we are pleased to announce that St. Vincent (a frequent contributor to Record Store Day), was elected to be its ambassador! In the past she offered a red seven-inch single in 2012, a ten-inch in 2015 and took part in a Vinyl Tuesday panel.

The staff here at Murfie are excited to celebrate this holiday with both its customers and the community. No doubt we will be doing a little digging of our own! We will be announcing our newly listed CDs next week before the big event so stay tuned.

Which artists are on your Record Store Day wishlist? The Murfie shop might have just what your looking for!

Exclusive: DJ Pain 1 demystifies sample clearance, copyright and publishing

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Photo courtesy of UCAN

Madison native, DJ Pain 1, is well known as a DJ and hip-hop producer who has worked with an inexhaustible list of popular artists including: Young Jeezy, Ludacris, 50 Cent and Public Enemy. He is a pillar of the Madison hip-hop community and has been a source of inspiration for many artists worldwide.

Pain 1, also known as Pacal Bayley, has earned his stripes not only as a platinum selling artist and dope producer but as an educator as well. Since having graduated from UW-Madison with a BA in secondary education and an MA in linguistics, Bayley has worked to create a successful non-profit organization known as UCAN (Urban Community Arts Network), along with community leaders, Karen Reece and Mark “Shah” Evans, in order to teach youth about the music industry and give them opportunities to perfect their art through local performance.

In addition to helping artists locally, Bayley has invested a great deal of time researching the music industry and informing the artist community via social media. His YouTube channel contains a compendium of information regarding selling beats, sample clearance, copyright, publishing and theft protection.

In this interview, we talk with DJ Pain 1 in hopes of unraveling some of the folklore that permeates hip-hop producer culture. We hope you enjoy!

J: We’ve noticed you have a lot of videos on YouTube that focus on beat making and music business strategies. What prompted you to start making these videos?

P: I started making production tutorials for my students back when I was teaching multimedia through the Information Technology Academy at UW-Madison. Eventually, a lot of producers were releasing tutorials on production, so I figured I’d start sharing some lesser known strategies– marketing, business, etc. Because we as producers really need to have more of a business foundation to survive and thrive in our careers.

J: In many of your videos you talk about sample clearance. As a hip hop producer is clearing samples something you have to deal with on a regular basis?

P: It’s not really something I have to deal with period, but I do have to deal with questions about sample clearance. There’s so much misinformation about sampling out there and some of it has become almost folklore in the producer community. For example, the idea that a sample doesn’t need to be cleared if it’s under 6 seconds– That’s a myth that so many of us believe. So there’s a need for that information.

J: How has sample clearing affected you as a producer today vs. in the past?

P: Since I’ve started making beats, the sampling laws haven’t changed. But what is new is that musicians are now creating collections of music that sound like vintage soul or progressive rock, the stuff producers love to sample, and selling them or giving them to producers to use in their beats. Guys like Frank Dukes and GKoop are doing this and creating some amazing records.

J: What advice do you give to other producers about sample clearance?

P: To stop worrying so much about it because it’s likely never going to be your responsibility to go through the process… But learn what that process involves.

J: What are some common misconceptions about clearing samples that you have had to tirelessly argue over?

P: People think producers clear samples before selling beats, for example. That’s the number 1 misconception I hear. And it doesn’t make sense because if an artist is being sampled, they will more likely object to the lyrics in the song than the beat itself, which is to say that the entire song has to be cleared. That’s one reason why labels and not producers take charge on sample clearance.

J: How does sample clearance affect advances and royalties?

P: It depends. But usually, a sample costs a few thousand to clear. So any money owed to the producer from their album sales royalties will cover that clearance fee. And sampling can affect your publishing splits, so you may not get any performance royalties from a song you produced if it contains a sample.

J: Who deals with clearing a sample at the Major Label level?

P: The label and possibly a third party sample clearance specialist.

J: In one of your videos you talk about the word “publish”. What is the confusion artists seem to have with that word?

P: I wish I knew so I could end the conversation. I guess people don’t realize that “publishing” literally just means “to make public.” So when a person steals a song or a beat and puts it on Soundcloud or YouTube without permission, they’re violating the law.  They’re publishing the intellectual property of others. This isn’t to be confused with publishing as in performing rights organizations. That’s a source of some conflation and confusion as well I imagine.

J: What is the difference between copyrighting and publishing?

P: Copyright has to do with legal ownership of a master recording whereas publishing has to do with ownership of the musical components– lyrics, melodies, notes– of a song.

J: When is copyrighting your music important?

P: Copyrighting music protects you from being liable for certain legal fees if somebody steals your music and you sue them. So it really depends.

J: What steps can an artist take to protect their music from theft?

P: I think preparedness is the best method. Theft can’t be prevented these days, but you can file DMCA claims easily when your music is published without your consent, for example.

J: How much should someone pay for a beat? What if it contains a sample?

P: They should pay a lot. The sample shouldn’t affect the price of the beat. I mean, honestly, I think all parties should be reasonable and meet one another halfway. A producer who made their first beat shouldn’t ask for $1500 from a local artist and an accomplished producer shouldn’t expect an unsigned artist to give them a huge advance.  But nobody should be devalued either.

J: How much do you charge for a beat? (major label vs. independent / leases vs. ownership)

P: It depends, but I’ll say this: There’s a HUGE difference between what a major label pays me and what an unsigned artist pays me. I’m realistic.

J: Is it important to have an entertainment lawyer?

P: Absolutely. People are out here signing all types of crazy contracts that really hurt them in the long run. They need somebody who can explain it all to them.

J: Has it become commonplace for producers to undercut each other? Do you believe undercutting has affected your sales as a producer?

P: Where there’s free market capitalism, there’s undercutting and throat cutting and cost cutting. It has affected us all– it leads to a race to the bottom in terms of market value.  We have to take advantages of so many other revenue streams to survive because beat prices are going down every time we blink. There’s no regulation or standard.

J: How do you feel about streaming services? (iTunes, Spotify, Amazon etc.)

P: They’re the present and the future, but physical media isn’t dead and I don’t imagine it will ever be truly irrelevant to all consumers.

J: Do you feel they pay the artists fairly?

P: When I finally get paid by one, I’ll let you know. I sort of like content ID money at the moment though. I don’t know if that’s considered a streaming royalty.

J: What do you feel are their advantages vs. disadvantages in this day and age?

P: The advantages are that people are discovering new music again. Streaming services make that possible for certain artists. It’s how Ted Park and I were able to hit Billboard’s top 10 and sign a record deal with Capitol. But radio and television pay more to artists and streaming platforms have become the predominant way people consume music. So that could be seen as a disadvantage.

J: Digitalmusicnews.com had a recent blog post about streaming and stated that a certain band made an average of .004891 cents per stream. This means, if my calculations are correct, that it would take over 2000 streams to equal the cost of one purchased CD. How do you feel about that?

P: I feel depressed. Thanks.

J: What is the best way for an artist to sell their albums in your opinion?

P: Every way. You never know how your fans want to consume your music until you try them out. Some musicians are selling tapes these days. Sole and I sell a lot of vinyl and cds still, but we also make a few dollars here and there from digital sales. I prefer to explore my options before limiting myself.

J: Do you believe physical media is still relevant? If so, how?

P: Because I’m still selling physical media. People can’t hold or trade or frame a stream.  We as humans like having stuff– records, shirts, tour posters– from the musicians we love.

J: Which has been more lucrative for you, physical media or streaming sales?

P: Physical, no contest.

J: What is your next project release and how do you intend to sell it?

P: I just released a project with J Tek titled “Lost” that was all digital. But I’ll be releasing an all digital free instrumental album, Undressed Instrumentals 5, very soon.

J: You recently performed in SXSW. What was your experience like? Do you think SXSW is a good place for artist exposure?

P: It’s a great place for artists who already have fans to meet their fans. It’s hard to gain exposure as a new artist in that arena. There are so many artists there competing for the attention of potential fans. You have to start local/regional in my opinion.

J: Thank you so much for your thoughts. We appreciate you taking the time to talk with us about music and hope your future projects are a success!

P: Anytime! Thank you.

Albums involving DJ Pain 1

the recessionpublic enemyludaversaldeathdrive

Digitize your tapes with Murfie!

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Image courtesy of hifiengine.com

It’s time to do some spring cleaning and you’ve come across your old tapes. What do you do with them? Do you donate them to Goodwill? Set them on a table outside your house with a sign marked “free”? Maybe you dig through your basement for the last known piece of equipment you played them on (if it wasn’t your old car stereo that is).

These are all options, but Murfie can do you one better! We will take your old tapes, digitize them, and make them available for streaming or download in the following formats: FLAC and ALAC, mp3 and AAC complete with metadata. We will also store your tapes at no extra charge indefinitely or until you want them back. No more clutter! Woo-hoo!

We are dedicated to providing you with the highest quality of product, which is why we use top-of-the-line Aiwa AD-F990 stereo cassette recorders to transfer your tapes to a digital medium. These decks are known for their “unmatched sound quality”.

Please email us at info@murfie.com to get your free quote. For information on our vinyl services, click here.

 

Staff picks: Spring Edition!

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Spring began Monday, March 20th this year, but it wasn’t until this week we really began to feel it. The birds are chirping, the clouds are shapely and voluminous, and with all the rain we’ve been experiencing in Madison the grass has finally started to turn green.

The world is alive and we have fresh ideas about how we’ll spend our summers. For us music lovers, you can guarantee a lot of time will be spent listening to our favorite albums,  kicking back, enjoying barbecued meat and craft beer with friends and family.

However you enjoy your time this spring and summer, on the golf course, at the park or in your own backyard, make sure you have the right tunes in your proverbial jukebox. Below is a list of staff picks we thought you might enjoy…

Steven chose Sabotage by Black Sabbath

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“Sabbath truly is one of the bands that started it all. When it comes to modern doom metal/sludge metal/stoner rock, Sabotage is one of my favorites in their discography. It also takes the cake as my second favorite Black Sabbath album cover (the self-titled being the obvious first choice).”

 

Nate chose Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots by The Flaming Lips

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“Released in 2002, this album features electronic-influenced, psychedelic, indie rock compositions. Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots tells a story of how Yoshimi battles mechanical monsters, drawing on a wide range of emotions. It is a great album to turn on when in a melancholy mood and take in the beautiful tracks. Fun fact, it was later turned into a musical in 2012!” 

Jason chose Kala by M.I.A.

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“The first time I heard M.I.A.’s song “Paper Planes” off her album ‘Kala’, I was watching Slumdog Millionaire in theaters. It was one of those rare occurrences when I was so captivated by a song in a movie I went out and bought the album.  M.I.A.’s music is pop, but it is soulful, artsy and perfectly imperfect. To this day I see Kala as a shining beacon in a sea of cookie cutter pop albums.”

Maren chose Soundtrack to the End by Communist Daughter

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“The debut release from indie rock band, Communist Daughter (St. Paul, MN), will sooth your soul, quiet your mind, and set your feet to dancing. It’s simply aural bliss.” 

 

 

Andrew chose Psychocandy by The Jesus and Mary Chain

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“I gotta say I only picked this because “Just Like Honey” came on the radio this morning. The fuzzy guitars and lackadaisical vocals were the perfect backdrop to an otherwise quite drab commute on this rainy spring day.”

 

 

What suggestions do you have for our listeners? Please let us know if there are any albums you think people should know about and we will do our best to spread the word!

We hope you enjoy our picks and as always, check out Murfie.com for other great albums!

FLAC Lovers Don’t Let “Google Play” You!

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As collecting digital music and streaming it on preferred devices becomes increasingly popular, one begins to ask what the benefits are to using one company’s service over another.

The answer seems simple enough. If you are an Apple user, you will use iTunes to purchase, listen and catalog your music, whereas Android users may be more likely to utilize Google Play or Amazon. Truthfully, this is more of a marketing ideal than anything. Companies like Apple are working to ensure their customers utilize their services when consuming media, not their competitors’.

To date, Apple, Google Play and Amazon have all played a major role in consumer’s lives by selling them a way to experience their music. Each company has worked tirelessly to develop a means in which listeners can organize their music easily and stream it on their preferred devices.

Matching software designed by these companies scans waveforms and attaches or acknowledges metadata which makes for easier cataloging; however, consumers who wish to digitize their collections into lossless formats such as FLAC should be wary of using scanning and playback services until they have done their research on what formats are supported and whether or not their files are being delivered in the same quality they started with.

What we found:

Apple does not support FLAC files, however, they have provided an alternative, ALAC, which for all intents and purposes is identical to FLAC. The only downside here is that you must convert your files to ALAC for playback on Apple devices. This is also true for .WAV files.

Google Play, on the other hand, claims to support FLAC and ALAC files, but downsamples and converts them to 320 kbps mp3 files on upload.

Amazon does support FLAC files so long as the metadata matches their internal database. You must also use a 3rd party system to retrieve metadata or enter it manually if none exists presently.

With all of these options, it seems as though listeners are doomed to struggle eternally with converting files to playable formats, listening to downsampled music, and manually entering in metadata, unless of course there were a solution!

Solution: Send your collection to Murfie! We aim to synchronize your collection across all platforms flawlessly. We’ll convert your entire catalog into uncompressed lossless files, apply the appropriate metadata, and make your music available for 320kbps mp3 streaming on our web player and mobile apps. With a Murfie HiFi subscription, you can unlock lossless streaming for your Sonos, Bluesound or Autonomic system. We offer free downloads in FLAC, ALAC, mp3, and AAC, and we can even send you a hard drive loaded with all of your music for easy home access and storage.

For more information feel free to contact us. For information on pricing click here. Let us make digitizing and cataloging your music hassle-free!