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!

Murfie + live music + free stuff = hyperawesome

iPod touch giveaway

The sequel to Murfie + live music = awesome

In addition to gracing concertgoers with our presence at the Natty Nation show this Thursday, the 7th, Murfie will be giving away something pretty cool. An iPod touch (8GB). You may ask, “Are you trying to charm us with free stuff?” Fair question. Perhaps. If there is one universal truth, it’s that giveaways are universal in appeal. Really, who doesn’t like free stuff? And really, Murfie just likes to reward Murfie-ites.

Now, most importantly, how can you win the iPod touch? It’s simple. Via a drawing. Just visit us at our meet ‘n greet table before or during the show, and provide us with your (valid) email address. Voilà! You’ll be entered. For those of us who don’t count patience as a virtue, you won’t have to wait long to find out who’ll be walking away with the iPod…we’ll announce the winner at the concert.

P.S. Visit our Facebook event page for the social angle. There, you can invite your friends to the show. Unless you’re dead set on winning that iPod touch and would rather fly solo. Hey – no matter, we don’t judge…come one or come all.

Staff Picks: April Fools

This week we like…Music that makes us laugh

It’s that time of year again…that’s right, the special day where we tell our friends we won the lottery or slip ex-lax into the boss’ coffee. In the spirit of this holiday, we are here with four selections from the Murfie vault that make us laugh. All these albums and more are available for sale or trade on Murfie.com (and that’s no joke).

Wesley Willis: “Greatest Hits”

HTML tutorialChicago-based musician and visual artist Wesley Willis gained a massive cult following in the 90s with a prodigious output of bizarre, humorously obscene music. Despite being diagnosed with schizophrenia, Willis enjoyed a career spanning more than fifty albums. This Greatest Hits collection contains the classic Willis tracks “Rock N’ Roll McDonald’s” and “I Wupped Batman’s Ass.”

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog: “Come Poop With Me”

HTML tutorialIn 1997, Saturday Night Live comedian and animator Robert Smigel debuted his “Triumph the Insult Comic Dog” on Late Night with Conan O’Brien. Building a following by berating celebrities and the general public, “Triumph” has leveled his low-brow wit at targets including Star Wars fans, presidential candidates, French Canadians, and Eminem.

Weird Al Yankovic: “Running with Scissors”

HTML tutorialIn 1976, Southern California radio personality Dr. Demento played a demo called “Belvedere Cruising” by 16-year-old Al Yankovic. In the thirty-five years since, “Weird Al” Yankovic has released twelve studio albums featuring parodies of popular songs of the time, as well as touring all over the globe and writing and directing the hilarious film UHF. “Running with Scissors” contains parodies of Don McLean’s “American Pie” (“The Saga Begins”) and Puff Daddy’s “It’s All About the Benjamins” (“It’s All About the Pentiums”).

Die Gerd Show: “Die Show mit Gerd und Pferd”

HTML tutorialDie Gerd Show was a comedy program broadcast on Germany’s Eins Live (WDR). It gained popularity for its host’s spot-on impressions of then-German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, as well as “Weird Al” Yankovic-style parodies of contemporary German pop hits. This album also contains a bizarre cameo by Murfie lead programmer and amateur German-language stand-up comedian, Phillip Crawford…April Fools!

Murfie + live music = awesome

Murfie.com sponsors Natty Nation show

Here at Murfie, we (obviously) think studio music is pretty awesome, but we also dig live music. If it’s local music, all the better. That’s why we jumped at the chance to partner with local reggae band Natty Nation for one of their upcoming shows in April. On Thursday, the 7th, they’ll be playing at the High Noon Saloon, a popular live music venue in downtown Madison, and we’ll be along for the ride, with a meet ‘n greet table and cool promo stuff.

Now, the event is billed as the Solidarity Show, backing the Wisconsin Democratic Party’s efforts to recall eight Republican Senators. Naturally, Murfie would prefer not to say which side we officially support, but we will say this – we do love Wisconsin, we are a Madison-based company, and we think music is awesome in all forms, so we are excited to be sponsoring this event. Natty Nation’s been “spreading positivity since 1995” through their signature reggae mix of ska, rocksteady, roots, rockers, steppers, dub, and conscious dancehall elements, and suffice to say, they put on a really great show. To prepare yourself, sample a taste of their music.

Thursday, April 7th. If you live in the Madison area…come one, come all. We’ll be there too. It really is your chance of a lifetime to meet some of the people behind Murfie.com, for sure to be an indelible experience. Not sufficiently tempting? (although I can’t imagine why not!) Then just come for the music. After all, that’s what it’s all about.

Less is more

The decluttering vs. wastefulness dilemma

As an aspiring tastemaker, I’d like to name-check a fantastic blog and advance its level of public awareness.  But let’s just be honest…considering it presently places among the top 25 blogs in the world, you may have already jumped on the bandwagon.  If by chance you’re still out of the loop, I take great pleasure in being the one to introduce you to Zen Habits.

Straight from the author’s mouth (Leo Babauta), Zen Habits is about “finding simplicity in the daily chaos of our lives” and “clearing the clutter so we can focus on what’s important.”  Leo also authors another blog advocating minimalism called mnmlist, which focuses on how stuff has come to overwhelm us and why less is the answer to today’s culture of consumption.  Murfie too (humbly) trumpets a “less is more” motto, agreeing that we all need to reduce the total material that’s required to serve a function.

Yes indeed, Zen Habits and mnmlist both cover stuff complementary to the business model and vision of Murfie.  One post, in particular, caught my eye.  It basically talks about the path to decluttering and how it can be halted by a certain mental roadblock: “You don’t want to be wasteful. Your gut tells you that getting rid of perfectly good things…is wasteful as hell.”  Fortunately for all you music compact disc owners, you will never have to face the decluttering vs. wastefulness dilemma.  Murfie will gladly come to your rescue…we store your music collection in our warehouse, you retain ownership of every album, we recycle the plastic packaging if you give us the OK, and you have the built-in option of trading your CDs for new ones on our online music marketplace.

I shall leave you now with a quote (borrowed from Leo’s mnmlist quotes) that I think wraps this all up nicely:
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” – Albert Einstein

Ripe for the ripping

Murfie will rip your CDs

A lot of people tell us: “Murfie looks great, but I haven’t gotten around to putting my CD collection on my iPod.”  Well, let’s take a look at your options…

Recently, PCWorld argued the case for ripping CDs without iTunes.  The rationale boiled down to four reasons, which I’ll enumerate in a sec, but do check out the article for complete coverage.
1) You may want to rip to audio file formats that iTunes doesn’t support, like FLAC.
2) You may want to rip your CDs in a byte-accurate or “secure” manner, something iTunes doesn’t support.
3) You may want to use a CD identification database other than Gracenote, which is what iTunes uses.
4) You may want to rip audiobooks.

Now, why should you let Murfie rip your music?  For starters, we use commercial-quality equipment to rip your CDs.  Secondly, the ripping software that we use is able to verify and separate errors, so bad tracks will always be either corrected (re-reads, disc polishing) or reported.  Thirdly, your album metadata is cross-checked among four databases, including the Rovi Music database which is considered the industry’s most in-depth database of descriptive data for music.  Fourthly, although Murfie doesn’t MAKE you give up your CDs and get them ripped at Murfie HQ by our practiced team, I bet you could think of a bunch of pastimes more worthy of your time than ripping your CD collection.

“How difficult is it to pop a CD, or even 100 CDs, into your computer and rip them?”  This was a comment to our article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, and it’s a completely reasonable question.  But if you haven’t gotten around to doing it yourself yet, do you really think it’s something you’ll get to anytime soon?  If, in your heart of hearts, you’re thinking “probably not, I’d rather enjoy listening to—not ripping—my music,” consider the value of our service.  Murfie charges only $1/disc, which covers all of the benefits highlighted above (count ‘em, there’s four!).   Every disc you send us also becomes part of your account on the Murfie ecosystem (aka our online music exchange/marketplace), so you’ll have the built-in option of selling or trading any discs you no longer want.  Or, if you just want us to professionally rip your entire CD collection for you, you have that option too.

So, to take advantage of our secure ripping service, and/or search for and purchase new music in exchange for idle CDs, you only have to ask yourself one question.  Do you have any CDs ripe for the ripping?