New to Me: Newly-found music gems (Vol IV)

Ah yes—the joys of diving into the Murfie shop and finding something surprising! Not everything we find is brand new. In fact, it’s especially fun when we discover music for the first time, only to find it’s been around a while! Here are some examples.

Brandon found Momentum by Joshua Redman Elastic Band

Momentum“I’ve been a Joshua Redman fan since 5-ever (because that’s more than 4-ever), but just recently found this album. It includes awesome covers of Led Zeppelin and Ornette Coleman tunes, and collaborations with Flea and Questlove. The album is all over the place; bizarre yet totally cool, and I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys funky jams!”

 

Andrew found Aphex Twin

Aphex Twin

“I had heard of Aphex Twin before this spring, but I had no idea what his music was like. I recently gave it a listen and I was pleasantly surprised. I’m not generally a huge fan of electronic music, but I was intrigued by the wide variety of styles he incorporates into his ambient works. Though his album covers can be distracting (apparently Richard D. James has a penchant for faceswapping) some of his tunes make great background music for hunkering down and focusing on work.”

Steve found Awake by Tycho

Tycho“I stumbled across this the other day while seeking out new ambient music for programming. Turns out they were playing in Madison that night! The show was sold out :( But the album is still awesome. The title track puts me in a great mood and helps me focus hard on whatever I am doing.”

 

Kayla found Whokill by tUnE-yArDs

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“I’m late to the tUnE-yArDs bandwagon, but so glad to be on it! I found this album after hearing the song ‘Powa’ recently (total credit goes to Andrew!). I enjoy Merrill Garbus’ dynamic voice. She goes everywhere from a breathy lower register to way high-in-the-sky notes. Her music is quirky, catchy, and fun. Just what I needed.”

Have you discovered something that’s not all-that-new? Take a look and let us know what you find in the comments!

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!

FAQ: Does Murfie sell FLAC music?

This is a question we hear often. The short answer is yes…but “yes” in itself isn’t entirely accurate.

Murfie is a source for FLAC music online, but we don’t sell FLAC downloads. We sell CDs, from which we provide you CD-quality FLAC downloads, and even lossless FLAC streaming to Murfie HiFi subscribers. And that’s really the key aspect to what we’re doing, which some people don’t realize!

When you buy an album on Murfie, you’re buying a real, physical CD from our warehouse that you can stream and download anytime. You can store the physical disc at Murfie or have it shipped to you.

Most CDs are ready to download and stream immediately after purchase.

Download Formats FLAC, ALAC, mp3, aac
FLAC Streaming Sonos, NAD Bluesound, Voco
MP3 streaming (320kbps) Web Player, iPhone, iPad, Android, Sonos, NAD Bluesound, Voco, Samsung Shape, and more ways added all the time!

Why CDs? Buying a CD instead of a download gives you ownership rights to the content on that disc. You can download your files as many times as you like, stream your music on various devices without restrictions, and even pass on your collection to your heirs. What you’re getting when you collect with Murfie is a high quality music investment that will last you a lifetime.

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.

Ownership Matters: Pay it forward, buy the album

Amanda Palmer recently wrote an interesting article that used personal experience to show how fans truly want to pay artists they love.

Amanda spent years as a street performer—an eight foot bride on a box who gave out flowers to anyone who tipped her. Of the millions of passers-by, Amanda said some people watched her performance and gave nothing. Some watched and tipped upwards of $20. Some watched, enjoyed the performance, and left personal notes or gifts since they didn’t have money.

When Amanda was in The Dresden Dolls, fans would approach her after concerts with $10 bills, admitting they burned copies of her CDs since they couldn’t find them in stores. They wanted to make up for it.

The big message Amanda learned from her experiences: “People actually like supporting the artists whose work they like. It makes them feel happy.”

In a time where free streaming services seem to dominate the music listening experience, it’s harder for fans to invest in the musicians they really appreciate. The money artists make early on from streaming services is a tiny fraction of what they could have made if those fans also bought the album when it came out.

It’s important that streaming fans buy albums and patronize their favorite artists. Media ownership enables fans to reward artists in a much different way from streaming. Physical album purchases pull all the money up front where it should be: it’s not resting on the uncertain future mathematics of streaming payouts from services like Spotify.

At Murfie, we’re all about providing modern, digital ownership in the cloud. Your ownership of physical CDs is boosted with the streaming and download service we provide for your collection. We have new CDs listed for sale, and you can buy any CD from any artist or store, or from sites like Amazon, and have it shipped directly to your Murfie collection. Murfie lets fans buy albums and support artists without sacrificing the convenience of streaming.

When you love an artist, no matter how you listen to their music, it feels great to invest in them and own a piece of it. Give it a try. “When people feel and know that you are keeping the channels open, doors open, airwaves unblocked, locks unlocked….they come,” says Palmer. “And they will pay their hard-earned to keep the content existing and the cycle continuing.”

New to Me: Newly-found music gems (Vol II)

Many times while shopping for music, it’s certain you’ll discover something completely new to you, only to find out it’s been around a while! It’s happened to us a lot, which is why we wanted to share our stories with you on the blog. Here’s some gems we found that we think you’ll enjoy, too.

Mitch Hedberg Strategic Grill LocationsKayla found Strategic Grill Locations by Mitch Hedberg

I’ve never been big on comedians, since I think a lot of their humor comes from two things: ignorance towards others and bodily functions. I’ve heard a little bit of Mitch’s stuff before and thought it was lighthearted and funny, so when I saw this album for sale I scooped it up. His humor isn’t rooted in anything offensive—it’s genuine observations of the world, silly suggestions about what could be, and a unique delivery with one-liners and plays on words. It’s too bad that Mitch’s heavy drug use caused his early death in 2007, but the jokes he left us with, especially the ones on this album, are absolute gold.

My friend asked me if I wanted a frozen banana, I said “No, but I want a regular banana later, so … yeah”.

Matmos The Civil WarJohn found The Civil War by Matmos...

I’ve known Matmos for a long time to make electronic instrumental music with an experimental slant. They do everything from dancey Four Tet-reminiscent tunes to organic hip-hop beats. They’ve even done production work on the excellent Björk albums Vespertine and Medúlla. When I first put on The Civil War, I didn’t know what to expect. I must admit I thought I had the wrong band at first. While thoroughly experimental, The Civil War explores Medieval folk instruments, Americana and even hurdy-gurdy samples. It’s really all over the place, and though it won’t likely be in my regular rotation, The Civil War is certainly worth a listen.

R.A.P. music by Killer MikeMarc found R.A.P. Music by Killer Mike

I’m totally late to getting a clue on this one, but damn. This album is hot. I’ve been digging El-P since his Company Flow days, and he’s on the production here, but this is the first time I’ve heard Killer Mike. I’d read somewhat recently that this album is basically the best punk album to have come out in the last decade, and I’ll agree (it’s an attitude, not a style, dude; just ask Mike Watt). Everything about this album burns.

Life Starts Here Airport 5Jeff found Life Starts Here by Airport 5

I knew Airport 5 was somehow related to Guided By Voices, like a zillion other weirdly named one-off side projects. However, I had no idea Airport 5 was a reunion of Dayton, Ohio’s own Lennon/McCartney style star-crossed bromance of Robert Pollard and Tobin Sprout. That essentially makes this a return to golden age GBV not heard since 1997’s Mag Earwig! Tobin’s relaxed production and chorus-heavy guitars on “We’re in the Business” harken back to the lesser known weird-out earworms of 1996’s Tonics and Twisted Chasers like “The Top Chick’s Silver Chord” and “158 Years of Beautiful Sex”. Sign me the hell up!

Can you admit to recently finding something you really like that’s not all-that-new? Let us know in the comments!

Spooky Tunes!

When it comes to your Halloween playlist, we’ve got you covered. Plus, we have an Alpha version of our upcoming Web Player to try out, with a playlist feature and more! (Just sign in, click “Player,” and look in the lower right corner.)

This year, the Murfie staff recommends some albums that range from dark and scary to corny and fun. Here they are!

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Eternal Youth
Future Bible Heroes
(Liz’s pick)

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Walk Among Us
Misfits
(Jason’s pick)

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Featuring: Dr. Gruesome…
Snow White’s Poison Bite
(Jason’s pick)

Monster Mash

Monster Mash
Peter Pan Records
(Kayla’s pick)

Great Hitchcock Movie Thrillers
Bernard Herrmann
(John’s pick)

Jaws Soundtrack

Jaws Soundtrack
John Williams
(Matt’s pick)

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Rocky Horror Picture Show
Richard O’Brien
(Brandon’s pick)

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Pre-Millennium Tension
Tricky
(Marc’s pick)

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Nearly God
Nearly God
(Marc’s pick)

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Twin Peaks
Angelo Badalamenti
(Marc’s pick)

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Soused
Scott Walker + Sunn O)))
(Marc’s pick)

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The X Files: The Album
Various Artists
(Andrew’s pick)

Happy Halloweeeeen! :-)