June albums: 20th anniversary

It’s hard to believe it’s 2015 and the majority of us have been buying CDs for over 20 years. This month marks the 20th anniversary of a few famous albums that were released in 1995. Remember these?

Take That Nobody ElseTake That
Nobody Else
June 8th, 1995

The third album by British boy band Take That, this was the last recording before original band members like Robbie Williams disbanded. It contains their most successful song “Back For Good”.

 

Bjork PostBjörk
Post

June 13th, 1995

This is the third album by Icelandic singer- songwriter Björk, in which she brought an electronic-pop sound with teasers of trip-hop and other styles. The album was met with critical success and was certified platinum in the US, UK, Canada, Europe and Australia.

 

Alanis Morissette Jagged Little PillAlanis Morissette
Jagged Little Pill
June 13th, 1995

One of the most memorable albums of the 90s, Jagged Little Pill put Alanis on the map as an alternative rock goddess. The album was written after a breakup, with singles like “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know”.

 

Selena Dreaming of YouSelena
Dreaming of You
June 18th, 1995

This album made Selena the first Hispanic singer to have an album debut at No.1 on the US Billboard charts. The release was a historic event in terms of album sales from a female singer as well.

 

Michael Jackson HIStoryMichael Jackson
HIStory: Past, Present and Future
June 20th, 1995

This was the first album released on Michael Jackson’s own label, MJJ Productions. Disc 1 is a compilation of greatest hits, and Disc 2 was completely new material at the time.

Ownership Matters: Grooveshark has shut down

Grooveshark is the latest of controversial music services to shut down. They were amidst legal battles over licensing deals with rights holders at the time.

This shutdown was a long time coming. Grooveshark posted on their website, saying, “We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite the best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service. That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.”

The people at Grooveshark also encouraged music fans to use a licensed service. Fans have voiced opinions online, including Reddit, expressing disappointment at the loss of their carefully curated playlists.

“Welp, there goes 5 years worth of playlists,” said one user.

It’s important to know you’re gambling with time, energy, and often money when you use a service that’s not tied to ownership. Streaming services in particular can and regularly do shut down and disappear, leaving you with nothing but fond memories.

The alternative is to invest time, energy, and money into collecting music that you truly own, where you won’t need to worry about it going away in an instant. It will forever be yours.

You also don’t need to decide between owning physical music (CDs and vinyl) and streaming music—what we’ve been doing at Murfie for years has proved that’s a false choice. The streams and downloads you receive from us are tied to CDs and vinyl that belong to you, and you alone—remaining unaffected by any terms of our service.

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!

Spring Cleaning Checklist: Music Collection

Spring is almost here…the official first day is March 20th! I know that most folks—especially us in Wisconsin—have been looking forward to this for months!

Spring cleaning has become a yearly tradition all over the world. It’s an opportunity to open the windows and shake the dust off everything in the house from top to bottom. It’s therapeutic—beneficial for your mind and physical health, for all kinds of reasons.

Don’t overlook your music collection when you spring clean this year. Your CDs and vinyl deserve to be checked, re-assessed, and re-organized. You may not have noticed how much your collection has grown over time, piece by piece. Here are some tips for how to sell the titles you no longer want, and breathe new life into your old favorites!

CDs

white_square_yellowDownsize. Figure out which titles are just taking up space since you don’t listen to them anymore. Order a seller’s kit to sell CDs to Murfie members, or sell your CDs directly to Murfie. You’ll earn money from each sale that can be cashed out or used in the marketplace.

white_square_yellowDigitize. Send your remaining collection to Murfie, where it will be ripped and uploaded to your personal account for high quality downloads and streams. Stream your music on the web, our apps for iOS and Android, Sonos, and even more devices. Download your music in mp3, aac, FLAC and ALAC to listen offline.

white_square_yellowDeclutter. Store your discs at Murfie and free up some space. Enjoy anytime/anywhere digital access to your music. Your collection will always remain yours, we’re just storing it for you along with any album art you send—and you can request your physical collection back anytime!

Vinyl 

white_square_yellowClean. Those ol’ vinyl records can become quite dusty over the years. If you send them to Murfie, we’ll use our multi-brush wet cleaning system to remove any dust that might be damaging the quality of your records.

white_square_yellowDigitize. After we clean and digitize your records, you can enjoy streaming on all your devices, and downloads in various formats. We remove pops, clicks, and background noise. Get started by ordering a vinyl kit.

white_square_yellowDeclutter. Just as we store CDs, we’ll safely store any vinyl records you leave with us while you enjoy convenient digital access. Don’t forget, they always remain yours—so request them back whenever you want!

Get organized this spring, and give your collection the cloud treatment it deserves! Get an instant quote for digitization on our CD shipping kit page and vinyl shipping kit page. As for the CDs you don’t want to hang on to anymore, order a seller’s kit to get ’em outta your house asap!

CD shipping kit
Vinyl shipping kit
Seller’s kit

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: Buyer Beware!

Did you read the Terms and Conditions?

It’s no secret that Terms and Conditions are subject to change. When you buy licensed content online—whether it’s music, movies, or some other media—your access to that content is always at risk.

Take this for example: Online gamers were able to buy full songs within a virtual social networking game created by IMVU, Inc. Later on, all the songs were truncated to 20-second clips, resulting in a lawsuit filed by Peter MacKinnon, Jr., a gamer who was upset that all the songs he paid money for were shortened. This instance shows how the uncertain future of licensed content can make your initial investment wasted if the terms change, or don’t protect you.

IMVU argued that since MacKinnon accepted the terms, he has no property rights to claim.

And that’s just it—MacKinnon accepted the terms, so it’s perfectly legal for the gaming company to do whatever they want with the songs he bought if that’s what the terms say. That doesn’t change the fact that, well… he got screwed, and everyone can see that!

We all read and understand the fine print all the time, right?

As a music fan, it’s a problem when your rights are dictated by often complex and flexible terms and not good old-fashioned property rights. The terms of buying licensed content are making this a “buyer beware” world—which seems worse than a world where what you buy is legally yours in a way you understand, forever and unchanged, across vendors and services.

If you want to buy music and have it always be yours, it’s great to go with ownable formats like CDs and vinyl. A lot of people dig digital music, and so do we—which is we built our service to provide you digital download and streaming access to a physical collection you own. The CDs you buy on Murfie and send to Murfie will always remain yours—so no fear here if our terms change. Ownership has got you covered.

Ownership Matters: Redbox Instant has shut down

On October 7th 2014, Redbox Instant officially shut down and discontinued their movie streaming service which only existed for 19 months.

With Redbox Instant, customers could pay a monthly fee to stream movies at home or on their mobile devices. Customers could also purchase electronic versions of movies, which were made available to them in their account for on-demand viewing anytime.

Since the company is no more, they offered refunds for the remainder of any unused monthly subscriptions. But the lingering question that customers are asking is: What happened to the digital movies I purchased?

Redbox posted an FAQ about this very question:

What happens to the movies I bought and stored in my digital locker? We’re exploring options for customers who purchased electronic versions of on-demand movies and will be providing that information to you soon. We appreciate your patience.

Do you know what that really means? “Be very, very worried, because you never really owned anything.” The FAQ was posted almost three weeks ago with no update to follow.

As we gain more convenient access to music and movies in the cloud, our ownership and control of this content is under assault. As the Redbox example points out, it doesn’t matter that you paid real money for a cloud copy of a movie—your access to that copy is controlled by a gatekeeper. And that gatekeeper can change the rules or even cease to exist at any point. Redbox Instant is not the first DRM service to shut down and leave customers high and dry after purchasing digital content. Within the last decade, Walmart, MSN, and Yahoo Music ended up announcing that customers would no longer have access to the digital content they paid for.

Contrast that with the ownership experience of physical media—your CDs and DVDs. Physical media puts you in total control. Ownership rights are well established. The formats are well documented. The only real downside to physical media is that it takes up real physical space. It’s less convenient than streaming.

And that’s why we built Murfie. We wanted to make real ownership of content in the cloud a reality. We’ve realized that vision for music. Our platform makes it ultra-convenient to really own CDs in the cloud. Check back soon about movies!