Top Posts of 2013: Murfie Blog

We’re almost there—2013 ends today, and I know that everyone at Murfie is happy to have had an exciting year. Social media is a big part of my role here, and writing for the Murfie Blog is always fun. Our blog not only keeps you up-to-date about new features, but it gives you a good look at what goes on behind the scenes: our staffers, our favorite music, and our holiday memories, for starters.

WordPress, the site that hosts our blog, gave us some statistics that point out our most popular posts of the year. Here are those posts, along with a bit of commentary by yours truly.

1. Creative Cover Caption Contest: Finalists! 
Remember how competitive all the finalists were in the #MurfieVOCO contest?! That was a fun time for all of us. It was great to see the creativity of our members shine through. And, it was awesome to celebrate the fact that Murfie now offers lossless streaming with VOCO! That’s really boss!

2. About Murfie
Well hey, it’s good to know people want to learn more about us! Hehe. Our service is definitely unique as ever, and a lot of what we do is communicating what we do.

3. Staff Picks: Top Albums for Lossless Listening (FLAC & ALAC)
This post totally earns its spot high on the list of popular posts. A lot of audiophiles out there swear by lossless listening: It’s higher quality, and it makes certain recordings sound even more rich. John, our Murfie staffer, is without a doubt an audiophile who can recommend what sounds good in lossless format.

4. Music not on iTunes
You guessed right—this post talks about what music is not available on iTunes, and why it’s not available. At Murfie, you’re buying real, physical CDs—not copies or licensed files. Since you own a CD, you get unlimited downloads and streaming of the music on your CD. So you’ll find stuff on Murfie that’s not on iTunes. Nice, eh?

5. Creative Cover Caption Contest
See #1 on the list (above). We owe it to Shawn Broderick for thinking of this tongue-twisting title for our contest.

6. Henry Mackaman
This year, we lost our friend Henry very suddenly. It really shook our staff and everyone else who Henry touched during his lifetime. It was an absolute honor to have him as a friend and creative collaborator. He will always be remembered and missed, and he is a source of inspiration for the people who were lucky enough to know him.

7. Download FLAC at Murfie
So often, we come across people online who are asking, “Where can I download FLAC music LEGALLY?”  Murfie is happy to provide this high-quality format as an option for downloads (and now streaming). I totally admit: Before I worked and shopped at Murfie, I had no idea that FLAC music sounded so much better than other formats. This is because I was stuck downloading mp3s, which is often the only file type that is provided by other music services.

8. Get Lossless Streaming with Murfie + VOCO!
Okay, if for some reason you haven’t noticed #1 and #5 on this list, let me know and I can go into more detail about this one.

9. The Move, Part 1: “Out with the old…”
A BIG change in 2013 was our office location! In order to have room for our growing inventory, we had to move our office…all the way down the street! We even made a fun video documenting the move. We like our new digs at 7 N. Pinckney Street a lot. There’s tons of good photos in this post!

10. Interview with the Simpkin Project [Podcast]
Cooool! I’m so happy to see this on the top ten posts. The Simpkin Project is a band that was recommended to me by Chris from Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad (one of my favoritest bands in the whole entire universe). In a time where modern reggae goes in all directions, The Simpkin Project holds a true rootsy style. And hey guess what…I’m flying out to California to see them play in January. Wheee!

As our main blog contributor, I want to say thanks for reading our posts, and thanks for following us on Facebook and Twitter. I couldn’t do this without the help of other blog contributors including John Kruse and Ally Boutelle. Social Media is a fun window to the goings-on in Murfieland. I can’t wait to share what’s new in 2014! Happy New Year everyone! :)

-Kayla

This Week in Music History (December 19th-25th)

What’s music history got for us this week? Learn up and boogie down!

12/19- On this day in 1957, Elvis Presley was served his draft notice for the United States Army. Presley would go on to join the 32nd Tank Battalion Third Armor Corps, based in Germany.

12/20- On this day in 1967, folk singer Joan Baez was sentenced to 45 days in prison. The singer had been arrested during an anti-war demonstration protesting the Vietnam War.

12/21- On this day in 1985, Bruce Springsteen’s famous Born in the USA passed Michael Jackson’s Thriller, becoming the second longest-lasting LP on the US Billboard Top 10. The Boss’s LP stayed atop the charts for 79 weeks.

12/22- On this day in 1981, at a rock and roll memorabilia auction in London, Beatles memorabilia was auctioned off to fans. A suit John Lennon wore onstage sold for £2,300, a letter from Paul McCartney sold for £2,200 and a sculpture of John and Yoko Ono sold for £4200.

12/23- On this day in 1977, English singer and songwriter Cat Stevens formally changed his name to Yusef Islam. Islam will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014.

12/24- On this day in 1965, The Beatles had the number one album in the US for the third Christmas season in a row. The Fab Four’s Rubber Soul topped the LP charts in 1965, after Beatles for Sale and With the Beatles the two previous years.

12/25- On this day in 1954, Bing Crosby’s White Christmas” was on the Billboard Pop Chart for the eleventh time. The song has sold over 100 million copies around the world.

Pick yourself up some pieces of music history in our CD marketplace, for as little as $1! Every album in your collection comes with free downloads (FLAC, ALAC, mp3, aac) and unlimited streaming. ;-)

How to Convert Your CDs to iTunes

Digital music is a convenient way to listen to tunes virtually anywhere. Music downloads and streams are becoming more and more popular, as many people aim for convenient, instantaneous methods of consuming music, without dealing with the cluttering effects of CDs and vinyl.

So now a question comes to mind: What about all those CDs you bought? Do you keep them just to keep them? Sounds kinda inconvenient. Do you ditch them and replace them with digital files? Sounds kinda expensive. And inconvenient.

But, aha! What if you can get the best of both worlds? What if you could convert your CD collection to digital files, like iTunes music, instead of replace it—and keep the discs as a backup, but somewhere remote, not on your own shelves?

Bam. That’s where we come in. These simple steps are the most convenient way to convert your CD collection to digital iTunes music, without having to sit there forever and rip all your music yourself.

Step 1. Send your CD collection to Murfie.

Our expert-CD-rippers will rip your CDs in high quality FLAC format, and then add your albums to your online collection for you to view, play, and manage.

Step 2. Download your CD collection.

Choose your fave format: mp3, aac, or lossless formats FLAC and ALAC. Heads up: iTunes works with mp3, aac and ALAC. You can save the downloaded zip files to your desktop so they’re easy to find.

Step 3. Move the files to your iTunes

First, double-click the zip files to open the album folders. Then drag the folders from your desktop to your iTunes media player, and voila—like magic, they’ll get added to your library, listed alongside your other digital music.

Your CDs will remain safely stored at Murfie, allowing you to request more downloads in other formats. Since you really own the physical disc, you can convert it to whatever format you please, and download and stream it on a variety of devices. You can stream your music on the go with our Murfie mobile app for iOS and Android, at home with Sonos and VOCO devices, and via our website. And one of the coolest parts of all these cool parts is—your CDs will always remain yours. (And ya know, if you really want ’em back one day, we’ll send them to you.)

Sell CDs Without Art and Cases

When we talked to one of our Murfie members, Mike, a few months ago and asked how he discovered our service, his intentions were very precise: “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.

In an article for PC Magazine, author Damon Poeter notes that “Amazon, like other online buyers of used CDs, wants the jewel boxes and cover art included in your original purchase from way back when. Scratched discs will likely be rejected, as well.

So what about your CDs with misplaced artwork? What about the CD cases you’ve thrown away when you decided to move all the album art and discs into one of those snazzy CD binders? It’s totally realistic to assume that not everyone has kept their entire CD collection 100% intact over the years, for one reason or another.

At Murfie, we’ll accept all your CDs! If your Crash album by Dave Matthews is missing the back art, or Tigerlily by Natalie Merchant is all scratched up from sliding around your dashboard, it’s going to be ok! Say it with me: It’s—going—to—be—O—K.

Here’s why:

  • We use AccurateRip technology and scratch repair tools to get excellent CD-quality digital rips of your albums
  • The discs are stored in paper sleeves in our warehouse, so all plastic CD cases are recycled anyway
  • Murfie (coming from the acronym MRF: Material Recycling Facility) is all about taking CDs off your hands, storing them on our shelves instead of yours, and converting them to the digital age!

Neat, huh? All you have to do is order a Shipping Kit to get started. We’ll convert your CDs to digital files, and post your collection online for you to view and manage. Your CDs can be sold in your personal shop, downloaded (FLAC, ALAC, mp3, aac), streamed (at home or on the go with our apps), or traded for new ones!

Sounds for a Bargain: Murfie Albums for $2

You might have seen my last blog post about the world’s most expensive CD, in which we had to humbly admit that you won’t be seeing many diamond-studded jewel boxes around here. Quite the opposite, in fact—Murfie is a thrifty music-lover’s paradise. If you’re not quite in the market for a record-breakingly pricey disc, all the better: we’ve compiled a quick list of great and shockingly low-priced CDs. The best part? They’re all $2, or $1 for gold members! We’ve pulled four examples, but there are thousands of $2 CDs waiting in the Murfie marketplace. Remember that every CD purchase includes free streaming in 320kbps mp3, and free downloads in mp3, aac, and lossless formats FLAC and ALAC!

60538-largeLoser by Beck

Alternative rock singer Beck is one of my all-time favorites, and “Loser” stands out as one of his can’t-miss tracks. “Loser” was originally released with this cover art as a single, but Murfie’s version packs four other songs, including “Alcohol” and “Corvette Bummer”. If you’re not already a Beck fan, this quick taste is a fantastic introduction, and it’s currently available for just $2. If you’re already a diehard, it’s an indispensable addition to your collection.

6740-largeTransmissions from the Satellite Heart
by The Flaming Lips

I was incredibly—and pleasantly—surprised to find this album for $2. I’m a huge Flaming Lips fan, and this album is up there with their best. The Flaming Lips are a rock band famous for crazy psychedelic sounds and even crazier song titles. Don’t miss tracks like “Moth in the Incubator” on this ambitious, risk-taking album. The Flaming Lips have an irreplaceable spot in my relaxed-listening rotation.

865-largeGreatest Hits by The Beach Boys

I’ll admit that I’m biased in favor of the Beach Boys. Fun, mellow tracks like “Surfin’ Safari” and “Surfer Girl” have a solid place in the soundtrack of my childhood. Even now, the Beach Boys are often still a go-to for a solo drive. This album just makes you feel good. There’s a lot to be said for a $2 pick-me-up.

22501-largeThe Mirror Conspiracy by Thievery Corporation

Thievery Corporation is a two-man DJ team, but their genre-bending music includes touches of reggae, dub, jazz, Brazilian, and more. The Mirror Conspiracy is a great-sounding, thought-provoking main act, but also blends seamlessly as relaxing background music. I saw Thievery Corporation in concert a few years back, and since then they’ve held a solid place in my chill music library. Check it out, and don’t miss “Lebanese Blonde”.

The lowest-priced copies of albums always show first in the Murfie marketplace, so get these while they’re still $2! You don’t have to go far to find other $2 gems, either!

Staff Picks: Top Albums for Lossless Listening (FLAC & ALAC)

One of my favorite aspects of Murfie is the ability to download my albums in lossless formats.  I personally prefer FLAC, but ALAC is an equally great option.  I was super excited, then, to hear about our partnership to allow lossless streaming on Sonos and VOCO devices.

Now that I have the ability to stream in full, lossless CD quality, I thought it would be fun to recommend a few albums that are particularly great for lossless listening.  This list was put together largely by consulting mixing and mastering insiders.  These are albums often used by studio engineers as standards for how a particular genre may sound at peak performance.  With that said, grab a good pair of headphones or hook up your Sonos or VOCO and relax!

12912-largeSea Change by Beck was mastered by Bob Ludwig, one of the most respected mastering engineers around.  In addition to working on Sea Change, Ludwig has worked with over 1300 artists, including the Kronos Quartet, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Radiohead and more.  Sea Change does a great job of pumping out clear dynamics without falling too far into the trenches of the Loudness War.  Particularly of note here are the vocal and drum captures.

21411-largeAnother great piece of work by Bob Ludwig is New Favorite by Alison Krauss + Union Station. This album is noted for great clarity in vocals, maintaining solid, crisp levels for the rest of the sonic space, too.  Everything is mixed into a great soft texture that will fill up any room.  A lot of the popularity of this album – which charted on Billboard for both Country and Bluegrass categories – comes from the fact that Alison Krauss also appeared on the exceedingly popular O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack the same year as New Favorite debuted.

6675-largeWith over 10 million sales across all albums, Deep Forest is perhaps one of the most popular world music groups around.  Their debut self-titled Deep Forest album accounts for nearly a third of those 10 million sales alone.  Deep Forest was mastered by Vlado Meller at Sony’s New York studios, and it demonstrates a wide range of sonic qualities, all mastered together as one cohesive unit.  If you want some good sounding lossless reverb, this is the album for you.  Though the group is still active, the only album to outsell their debut has been 1995’s Boheme, with over 4 million sales worldwide.

59377-largeGeorge Duke was a master and pioneer of the keyboard, dominating the world of jazz, as well as mainstream music.  Unfortunately, Duke passed away earlier this month, but his legacy is huge to say the least.  Many of Duke’s newer recordings were mastered by John Vestman and mixed by Erik Zobler, and are used as reference discs for how keyboards should sound.  Duke’s solid arrangements make for very clear, wide recordings that sound great on headphones or high-end systems.  I personally recommend CoolIs Love Enough? and Dukey Treats.

Now that you have some of my picks for lossless listening, I’d like to hear yours!  What album(s) do you think sound the best, particularly in a lossless format?  Leave a comment below, and we’ll give it a spin at Murfie HQ.

Declutter Your CD Collection

Decluttering your home, your office, and any other space you occupy is proven to reduce stress. It frees up time for you to do other things, and it gives you more mental clarity.

People with cluttered spaces spend more time looking for things, and sometimes they are even antisocial, afraid to let friends and family see the piles of mess they’ve created.

The task of decluttering your house can seem overwhelming. Where do you start? When will you ever be finished? There are some tricks we can share based on experience—and the thing to remember is that even when you accomplish the task of decluttering, you need to maintain your state of non-clutter!

The first trick to decluttering your home is to pick a single room to start, or certain area of the room if that’s easier for you—and we at Murfie would recommend starting with your old CD collection!

How many CDs have you accumulated over the years, and where are they located? In piles on your desk? On shelves? In plastic bins in your basement or attic, under your bed, or in your closet? What if you could still keep the music from all those CDs you bought, but get the physical clutter out of your life?

If you send your CDs to Murfie, we’ll store them on our shelves for you. We’ll rip your entire collection and post it to your online account where it’s available for you to stream and download. Your CDs will always remain yours, unless you decide you don’t want them anymore—in which case you can sell them to make some cash, or trade them away for other albums you would prefer to have.

With Murfie, you can give your old CD collection new life by upgrading it to the 21st century. Stream your CDs anywhere you go with our iOS and Android apps, and in any web browser with our Web Player right on the site. Into home listening systems? Check out our partnership with Sonos, and listen on any of their devices too. Murfie’s streaming is set at 320kbps—which is the best quality streaming that mp3 provides—and you don’t need to pay a subscription for it. I think the word you’re looking for here is….huzzah!

The simple fact that you actually own the CDs you send to Murfie, and any additional CDs you buy in our marketplace, allows you to have unparalleled access to your music. If downloads are your thing, rest easy knowing that you can download your collection in mp3, aac, or lossless formats FLAC and ALAC. Heck, if you want those files on a hard drive, we’ll even do that for you too.

It’s true—decluttering does wonders, as does seeing what once was a bulky bin of discs now displayed on the screen of your iPad, easy searchable and instantly playable. Visit our site and find out what the buzz is all about—and check out a service that’s perfectly fitted for audiophiles, declutterers, and music-lovers all around. :-)

Find out more!