The Move, Part 1: “Out with the old…”

Well, you know what they say— “Out with the old, in with the new.” And with that said, it’s time for us to move our Murfie office!

It’s no secret that with Murfie has grown a TON over the past couple years. Yay for us (and for you!)! But with such huge growth, our current space availability for discs, and for staff, has been getting more and more… snug, shall we say.

So, we decided to move— all the way to— the next block down the street! Lucky for us, we get to stay on the lovely Madison capitol square.

Here’s the first of a series of photos that document our move: the joy, the sweat, the tears, the reward! Enjoy.

We’re getting there… just a few things left to do. Wish us luck as we move in to our new space!

2012 Recap: The entire year encapsulated in one humble blog post

Last year Murfie was a roller coaster. This year we’re an airplane. An airplane during takeoff.

We’ve got our engines roaring, our flaps and slats are deployed and we’re entering the climb phase. We expect a few bumps here and there during ascent (we’re a startup, afterall), but we’re happy to be finally off the ground.

Metaphors aside, Murfie has had a truly jam-packed 12 months. In the year 2012, we graduated from TechStars. We were selected to START, the new, invite-only sister event to the acclaimed f.ounders. (Matt and Preston also researched the differences between Irish and Wisconsin beer.) We closed a new round of funding that added Great Oaks Venture Capital to our list of terrific investors.

We launched our music streaming service. We also launched our partnership with Sonos. Meaning, you can now listen to your entire CD collection on your Sonos Wireless HiFi System at home!

We revamped the site offer and design more than once. (Move fast and fix things is our modus operandi.) We tripled our disc inventory from 100k to 300k. We managed to keep our customer satisfaction rating at a cheerful more or less 95%.

We even got some high-level shout outs from the likes of Yahoo! Shopping, Wisconsin Public Radio, CNET and CBS News.

Forward-looking plans include making the browsing experience for our customers screaming fast, stocking a much larger inventory of new albums, launching mobile apps and additional device partnerships and hitting the 1M mark in our disc bank.

I could keep going, but there’s only so much good news a person can take. ;)

Maybe next year we’ll reach cruising altitude?

Caffeinating “The Shawns”

Coffee break time! Here’s some food for thought, courtesy of Murfie COO Preston Austin.

Optimal return on Murfie’s executive payroll is achieved via reducing activation barriers to consumption of socially sanctioned performance enhancing drugs.

Erhm, say that again?! In the meantime, here’s something a bit more straightforward—a photo.

Murfie’s Shawn Broderick (customer development) and Shawn Lockyear (marketing), aka The Shawns, fuel up on coffee at Graze in Madison, WI.

Shawn L (left) and Shawn B @ Graze

Murfie, Funding and TechStars

This post belongs to Murfie Musings–a series where folks at Murfie and our guests take the time to share what Murfie is up to as well as explore issues that matter to media ecology.

It raised a few eyebrows in the tech-startup business press when we announced raising money in conjunction with joining the TechStars Boston 2012 class. If we’ve already raised capital, the thinking goes, then what’s the point?

It’s true that a crucial objective of many companies at TechStars is raising their first real round of seed capital. Turns out there are also plenty of funded companies that participate in TechStars, too. Murfie can now be added to this growing list.

I’m a competitive guy. Most entrepreneurs are. The competition to make it into TechStars is intense for a startup at any stage of growth, and it’s an awesome group that gets selected to participate. I think that what our team has built is incredible, and it’s great to see recognition of that via our invitation into the TechStars community. We’re midway through the second week of the program, and I feel privileged to be surrounded by such an amazing bunch of entrepreneurs.

So why TechStars for Murfie? Because seed funding is only one small step along a long path toward success. We need help developing our marketing strategy. We need help simplifying our message. We need help nailing our metrics. We need help establishing strong connections to additional capital for our next big raise. Murfie has a long way to go, and we want to be able to crush it every step of the way. That’s why TechStars is absolutely the perfect place for Murfie right now.

#1 Reason Giveaway: the winner

So remember how we asked you to tell us why we are so dang cool? Well, the team here at Murfie has chewed over all your submissions, and we’ve picked, what we think is, the top-dog answer.

Here it is, by Murfie member Paul: “A no-brainer: A lossless album for the price of a lossy song.” We totally heart lossless digital formats, plus we’re amped you guys are noticing our super low album prices.

For his brilliant response, Paul got $25 of store credit. Dolla dolla billz! Tune into our next giveaway contest for the chance to win some mo’ swag. Holla. Back.

Recapping 2011 for Murfie

Looking back, Murfie had a roller-coaster year. (We know, we know…it’s a tired cliché.) Like any first-year startup, we had our ups and downs, but we made it through without falling out of the car. We tried to ride high, with our hands up in the air. We tried to keep pace. We tried to do a few celebratory fist pumps here and there.

In the year 2011, we moved from beta to full release. We recruited staffers by the dozen to operate the, well, operations room. We got a ping-pong table (and then retired it). We garnered shout-outs by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, NPR, and Southwest Airlines. We started a podcast. We ordered healthy takeout for almost all working lunches. We solved too many bugs to count. We hit solid marks in customer growth and CDs received.

Moving into 2012, we’ll be doing a whole lot of somethings. We’re looking to fine-tune our mission statement and value proposition. We’re looking to continue building a complementary, cohesive core team. (This one’s important, so let’s take a pause. Business models may shift and ideas may change, but smart people are always valuable.) We’re looking to make all our operational processes more efficient. Above all else we’re looking to reach a larger customer base: we’re excited to connect with folks who want to be part of a media landscape that is ever changing. The question of ownership versus access will continue to take center stage, and we plan to stay at the forefront – making our unique stamp on the digital music revolution.

Snapshots outta Murfieland

(that my Facebook Timeline won’t get to capture ;)

I gots some neat photos of Murfie life to share with y’all. But first: I have something (kinda rando) to say.

You know what? I’m not really sure how I feel about Facebook Timeline. (That BIG profile page redesign that’ll transform your profile into a virtual scrapbook of photos, videos, status updates, and locations you’ve visited – making your information more visible and easier to access.) Maybe it’s because it feels a little too One Hour Photo to me. Or maybe it’s that I prefer to be shrouded in some mystery, even to my friends/FB “friends”. Or maybe it’s because I don’t want to be a total slave to the idea of social sharing (and no, I’m not an “old person” – born and bred in the 80s).

It all just seems a tad creepy. <– I give you full permission to disagree with me on this statement.

Anywho…[Pause]…I won’t be sharing the aforementioned photos on my Facebook profile. (You won’t get me this time, Facebook Timeline!) I’d rather share the snapshots here. Or on Murfie’s Facebook page. *wink face* *wink face*