6 Reasons Why Music Ownership Matters

Why own music in the digital age? When you buy digital downloads or streaming subscriptions, you’re sacrificing important benefits that are tied to ownership.

Buying CDs and vinyl gives you several ownership rights, and with the Murfie service, you don’t have to choose between owning music and the convenience of streaming and download access. In short, Murfie exists to give your physical collection the cloud upgrade it deserves. We rip your CDs and vinyl and upload the music to your Murfie account for you to download and stream on all your devices.

But still, why even start with owning CDs and vinyl when you can just download and stream music? Here are six reasons why ownership still matters in the digital age.

  1. Your music will always be yours.

You can obtain digital music in a snap nowadays. Whether it’s streaming with a service, or listening to digital tracks you bought online, you have access to the music—as long as the service exists.

If you’re renting your music with a streaming service and the service closes, or you decide not to subscribe anymore, you end owning nothing. If you bought a digital download somewhere, you won’t have access to re-download that music after the service is no more. Even if the service stays put, oftentimes you’re limited in the number of times you can download.

When you buy CDs and vinyl records, you’ve made a real investment in your music. These are properties you truly own and control. Your money is well-spent, and Murfie helps maximize the enjoyment of the music you own by moving it to the cloud for you. And if you’d rather not store the physical disc on a shelf at home, well, store it here at Murfie!

  1. The quality is better.

Let’s take a look at popular music services and their bitrates, shall we? iTunes = 256 kbps. Amazon = 256 kbps. Spotify = 160 kbps (ouch!). Spotify does have 320 kbps available to subscribers who pay $9.99/month.

At Murfie, your CDs and vinyl are ripped in lossless FLAC format, providing 1411 kbps of audio quality. FLAC is a favorite of audiophiles who enjoy the highest quality music they can get. At no extra cost, you get unlimited downloads of your Murfie collection in FLAC, ALAC, 320 kbps mp3, and aac, and free streaming in 320 kbps mp3. We too have a paid streaming tier for $10/month—but it’s lossless FLAC streaming of course!

  1. You’re not limited to a device or service.

Buying downloads or a streaming subscription limits your listening in key ways. Many services are walled gardens that make it difficult to transfer your files when you change devices. When you own your music, you’re always in control of where, when and how to listen to it.

  1. There’s no “Buyer Beware” terms and conditions.

Did you read the terms and conditions? When you purchase digital content online, you’re agreeing to whatever that fine print clearly (or not so clearly) says. Sometimes the fine print gives the vendor rights to alter or take away what you purchased. The “Buy” button itself historically implies ownership, but that’s not true anymore.

  1. You have rights to sell, trade, or gift.

Ever heard of the first sale doctrine? It allows you to sell your CDs and records if you no longer want them. It’s a freedom that we as consumers deserve. At Murfie, you can buy any CD, stream it, and return it within 24 hours if it’s not for you. You can also decide what CDs you no longer want and sell them on the site. We also have a nifty gifting feature that lets you gift an album to a friend!

  1. You can will your music to your next of kin.

Unless you own your music, you won’t be able to pass it on to someone after you die. The fate of digital assets after death has lately become a buzz topic. Your Murfie collection, in all its digital glory, comes from your physical CDs and vinyl with ownership rights attached to them—so you can will your music just like the contents of a safety deposit box. It’s yours, after all!

Ownership Matters: A way to own digital media you buy online

In his piece for PoliticoMagazine, Kyle K. Courtney describes the questionably precise positioning of the “buy” button so commonly found next to music and movies online.

“When Amazon, iTunes or any digital retailer explicitly says ‘Buy Now’ and the consumer clicks that ‘buy’ button, there is a definite presumption of purchase, and, with that purchase, ownership. That presumption, however, is not reflected in reality,” says Courtney.

If you read the pages of fine print, which many of us don’t, you’ll see you’re not really “buying” anything. Your content is only as protected as the terms say it is, and only if the retailer maintains your access to the content you paid for, as they or their service can close at any time. Most of the digital content you buy is not protected by the solid legal rights you get when you purchase media in its traditional physical format.

So why do people keep buying into media they’ll never own? Courtney says, “We are attracted — and have become accustomed — to the convenience of rapid purchases and on-demand content. When it comes time to move our online MP3 collection or transfer digital content to another device, then we face a surprising reality: We do not really own our electronic music, books and movies in the same way we do when we purchase physical books, CDs, records or DVDs.”

With the Murfie service, we’ve created a hybrid of physical and digital ownership: digital content with true ownership rights in the underlying media you own. The music you buy on Murfie can be available instantly to stream, and you can sell it to someone else if you decide it’s not for you. This is possible because each album you buy is backed by a corresponding physical copy that we store at our headquarters. It’s up to you if you want to store your titles on our shelves or yours, but the digital access is available to you anywhere.

On-demand music and movies are convenient, and it’s true that not everyone will care about owning everything they pay for. But the main issue, Courtney seems to be saying, is transparency. If we’re not really “buying” the digital content from these other big-name services, that should be clear. Then people will have the information to make informed choices about real purchases vs. rental contracts, and go for an ownership-based model if that’s what they desired in the first place.

In the future, we could have ownership that’s free of the physical backups. This could be possible with better contracts around digital content, which could allow buyers to have permanent and transferable rights connected to the media they bought, in formats that work across vendors and services. At Murfie we refer to this as a Physical Equivalent License, and we’re working on offering one down the road—and when it happens, we’ll be sure to state what you are really paying for clearly, right on the buttons in the shops.

Amazon FireTV

UPDATE (4/4/2014): The FireTV came in today as expected.  The office squirrels are going nuts for it: see for yourself.

In case you haven’t seen the news, Amazon dropped the bombshell that is the FireTV on April 2nd.  After a lot of speculation that Amazon would be getting deeper into the gaming industry, the FireTV focuses on streaming TV with voice search, predictive suggestions and some surprisingly good games. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke to Mike Snider of USA Today about the device:

“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price — people are going to love Fire TV. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus and more.”

What we find most exciting about the FireTV, however, is Amazon’s commitment that the device is “Made for Music.”  Amazon has Dolby Digital Plus certification and a built-in optical audio out to back it up, too. In our ongoing efforts to help you enjoy your music collection in more places and on more devices, we’re taking a good look at the Amazon FireTV.

Ours should arrive tomorrow, and we’re excited to see what the little box has to offer!  Stay tuned, and let us know what you think of this surprise launch.

“Are you paying more for digital songs and albums than you need to?” Murfie says yes.

According to a recent comparison made by Mark Harris, buyers of digital music online save a significant amount of money when they purchase music from an alternate source than iTunes—like Amazon, for example.

How significant are those savings? We have some data that blows both iTunes and Amazon out of the water. When comparing the prices of 50 popular albums from a variety of genres on iTunes, Amazon, and murfie.com, and breaking it down by individual track price as well, Murfie has the lowest prices across the board.

For the following chart, we pulled the lowest album price from each of the three services, whether it was new or used: [View Price Comparison Chart Here]

You’d save $305.53 if you bought these 50 albums on Murfie over iTunes, and $159.87 and $246.48 if you chose Murfie over Amazon for physical albums and mp3 downloads, respectively. That’s 172% more you’re spending on 50 iTunes albums than Murfie albums, 90% more on Amazon CDs, and 138% more on Amazon mp3 albums.

An important thing to note is that when you buy an album on Murfie, you’re buying a real, physical CD stored at Murfie headquarters. From there, the innovative Murfie platform allows you to instantly access the music on your CD anyway you’d like: as downloads in your choice of formats (mp3, aac, FLAC, ALAC), via unlimited streaming (320kbps mp3 via website, iOS app, Android app, Sonos, VOCO), via delivery of the physical disc, or a combination of all of these.

As noted on the chart, some artists don’t even have downloads for sale on iTunes or Amazon. Since every album purchase on Murfie is backed by a real CD, you can download and stream music by these artists.

So what can you do with such significant savings? Buy more great music!

At the average cost of $3.56 per album on Murfie, you could get 85 more albums if you chose Murfie over iTunes, 44 more albums if you chose Murfie over Amazon CDs, and 69 more albums if you chose Murfie over Amazon mp3s.

If you don’t think Murfie’s prices can get any lower, think again. With a Murfie Gold or Murfie HiFi membership, you can save an extra $1 per album in the Murfie marketplace.

Albums come and go quickly at Murfie, and these prices were noted on 11/5/13. Visit murfie.com to buy CDs online and get unlimited streaming and downloads of your collection.

New Cool Collection on Murfie!

How are you diggin’ our first Cool Collection on Murfie, the Top 100 albums of all time?

If you haven’t heard, we’ve started creating Cool Collections of albums to provide some guided browsing through our enormous marketplace! (Check out our last article here.)

Well today, let me introduce you to our newest Cool Collection on Murfie—(and it’s a SUPER-cool one, I will add)—the Top 100 debut albums!

In this collection, pulled from Amazon’s 100 Greatest Debut Albums of All Time, you’ll see the early gems from bands like R.E.M. to Radiohead to Rage Against the Machine—ready to buy for just $1 and up! Each album here has been hand-picked for it’s unforgettable impact over the years to come.

You can find this new Cool Collection—and more to come—anytime by looking at the sidebar in our marketplace. So check it out, because these ones are gonna move FAST! Find out which debut album is your favorite of all time!