Music tastes change…

So don’t forget about the ace up your sleeve

Remember when Kings of Leon had indie cred? [This was before they blew up in the U.S., their singles Sex on Fire and Use Somebody pervaded the airwaves, and their egos perhaps got the best of them when they started to cut short shows – and axed a summer tour – for suspect reasons.] No? Fine then: I have no choice but to dislodge the memory from your brain by way of force, er story.

Once upon a time…in a land far, far away…KOL was perceived as gritty, bluesy Southern rock. Their music was popular with the hipster crowd. The band still sported weird haircuts. Etc. Need more proof? Just listen to their debut studio album, Youth and Young Manhood: it’s raw and unvarnished, nothing like their arena rock sound as of late.

Now, let’s say you’re one of those KOL fans who bought out their discography due to your affinity for their early stuff, but ultimately lost interest as they quote, unquote became sellouts. What are you to do with the latest, traitorous albums? Well, one of the many pluses of buying music compact discs is that you can sell them at a later date. Say what?! Here’s what’s up: you’re protected by the first-sale doctrine, which allows the purchaser of a copyrighted work to transfer their lawfully made CD of the copyrighted work to someone else.

This solid guarantee of legal rights to sell and trade your used CDs, my fickle music-loving friends, is your pocket aces hand…so don’t forget to play it! It’s your ticket out of being saddled with albums you no longer care for. Read more about selling your CDs, legally, here.

It’s the hard-knock life for artists online

How much do musicians make in a digital marketplace?

I just can’t keep quiet about this any longer. InformationIsBeautiful.net has created the most lovely, elegant infographic depicting how much music artists earn online. Seriously, take a look at it. It really shows you how the type of format impacts a musician’s profits. It also proves that album sales are most profitable for an artist, and that music streaming services are bad for business for an artist.

The formats that provide royalties, in order from baddest to bestest (I know, not a real word) for a musician: stream on Spotify, stream on Last.fm, stream on Rhapsody, track download on Amazon or iTunes, retail album CD (low end royalty deal), MP3 download (via iTunes) on CD Baby, MP3 download on CD Baby, album download on Napster or iTunes, retail album CD (high end royalty deal), CD album on CD Baby, self-pressed CD.

Is your head spinning? Yeah, mine too. But no matter, I’ve had time to turn my thinking wheels in the right direction and dream up a few major conclusions (thanks again, David McCandless, London-based author, writer and designer, for the infographic!). You’ll notice a theme to my deductions: the best choice to make as a consumer if you’re keen on playing nice with the musician (why? because I’m one of those people who think supporting the artist should be a factor when making a purchase).
1) If you really want to support your favorite musician, purchase the CD album.
2) If you’re going to purchase a download, album download > track download.
3) If you subscribe to a music streaming service, that’s not very helpful.

Please leave a comment below if you have an additional conclusion you’d like to share!

Music not on iTunes

Who says NO to the Apple behemoth?

Without question, the iTunes Store is the world’s #1 music store. It’s no contest. As a matter of fact, iTunes sold its 10 billionth song last year. Said Eddy Cue, Apple’s VP of Internet Software & Services, “We’re proud that iTunes has become the #1 music retailer in the world, and selling 10 billion songs is truly staggering.” Yessir, no matter how you slice it, 10,000,000,000 songs sold is pretty dang impressive. But there’s a BUT – some artists (granted, it’s the minority) still refuse to make their music available on iTunes.

Music acts, like AC/DC and Kid Rock, continue to shun the almighty iTunes for reasons that range from artistic integrity to profitability. Some say they don’t want their albums to be sliced and diced and sold as singles. Others say album sales are more profitable and they earn more from selling whole albums than they would from selling individual tracks (duh! – digital single-track sales are low-profit transactions). Still others say all the songs off an album belong together and are meant to be consumed as one and in the entirety.

Said AC/DC’s Angus Young, “If we were on iTunes, we know a certain percentage of people would only download two or three songs from the album – and we don’t think that represents us musically.”

See below for a list of artists who have yet to license their music (for the most part) to iTunes. Know of another? – leave a comment! Am I wrong on something? – let me know!

AC/DC
Garth Brooks
Kid Rock
Bob Seger
Def Leppard
Tool
The Smiths
Black Sabbath
King Crimson

If you’re bumming because you dig one or more of these artists, I have some ah-may-zing news for you. With Murfie, you actually can get your hands on digital downloads of their full albums. That’s because we sell physical CDs. After you purchase the CD, we will rip your disc at your request and bundle together the music files for you to download. OMG! Can life get any cooler? Yes, yes it can. Check out our store to browse all our albums, gloriously intact >>

The cloud + music

How the cloud is gobbling up everything in sight

No doubt about it, the cloud is positioned to completely change the way we store, access, and consume personal files. Online storage of data, at your fingertips, with a web browser. No wonder it’s the talk of the town. Right now, a lot of the conversation is focused on the cloud + digital media…that is, storing music files in the cloud. Are you ready for that? Jon Pareles at NYTimes sure is, and he’s put out a fantastic article disclosing his excitement for cloud music services, but at the same time mulling over their limitations. [Seriously, if you know anything or nothing at all about cloud computing, it’s a great read.]

One of the biggest assets of the cloud, Pareles says, is that it dematerializes physical media.

That sounds kinda familiar, doesn’t it? Yep, the cloud and Murfie have something in common. Murfie wants to eliminate physical media sprawl too. Via our free shipping kits, we’ll help you lighten up your home by taking on the physical burden of your CD collection. The bigger question is, is Murfie compatible (even complementary!) to cloud music services? Well, as Pareles mentions, it’s definitely a pain to upload your music into the cloud, especially when it comes to physical discs.

But hey!, Murfie can totally take care of this concern. Per your request, we’ll rip your stacks of CDs, convert the music into digital files in the format of your choice, and make the ripped files available for you to download. If you want those music files in the cloud, no problem – all you gotta do is upload them…which is a whole lot easier than having to rip ’em.

Ok, let’s now schedule a timeout for reactions and comments. What do you think…can Murfie live in the same world as cloud music services? Should there be a world where only the cloud exists to serve your music consumption needs? Doesn’t the cloud impinge on the benefits of true music ownership?

Hooking up your car

Digital music on the road

A guest post from Alyssa Severn

­­­Just like Wisconsin and snow, music and cars are inextricably linked. The other week I was thinking of selling my car. It’s pretty old—it was made right around the time when the cassette tape was going the way of the dinosaur and compact discs were swiftly becoming king—but I still started mulling over all the things I’d miss about owning a car. Top of the list: listening to music while cruising around.

Now, twelve years after the production of my car, digital formats have climbed their way to the top. Although I must admit I still enjoy listening to old mixtapes from high school on the tape deck, I no longer have much of a need for a tape or CD player. After deciding to send my discs in to Murfie, I started thinking, “How can I listen to digital music in my car?” After all, those mixtapes are going to wear out eventually and thanks to Murfie, I’ll no longer have CDs sliding around my car floor, shoved into the door cubbies, jammed between the seat and the console.

So what to do? I started looking into ways to use an iPod inside a car, and found a few different options. So, if you’re a lover of belting out your favorite songs in the privacy of your own auto and are also interested in getting rid of your CDs and going totally digital, here are some ideas to get you started. Remember, Murfie can also help you get started.

If you have a tape deck, you can find adapters that have a cassette tape with a wire attached and a jack at the other end that plugs into your iPod.  For those without a tape deck or an auxiliary jack, you can buy an FM transmitter (also called a wireless adapter). Basically, you plug a transmitter into your iPod headphones jack that transmits an FM signal. Then all you have to do is find the right frequency on your car radio and boom! digital music plays through your speakers! Or, if all else fails, buy a pair of travel speakers, figure out how to stabilize them somewhere in your car, and hook up your iPod. It’s definitely the least sexy of options, but in a pinch, it’ll definitely work.

If any of you Murfie-ites out there have other suggestions or know of cool/better gadgets, we’d love to hear!