Meet Brandon: Murfie’s New Help Desk Manager!

This is Kayla writing this post! This month marks my fourth year at Murfie. First of all—wow, that’s exciting! Secondly—wow, things have really changed!

I began working in Operations, ripping discs and handling downloads. My previous experience in radio made me fit to create and host the Murfie Podcast. From there, I started doing more social media and PR for the company. And naturally, that’s where my role took off. I had been running the Murfie Help Desk too, but now it’s time to hand off that role to a qualified candidate, so that I can zero in on the social side of things.

And that qualified candidate is without a doubt Brandon. I went to the higher-ups with confidence that Brandon cared about the individual needs of members enough to be a great person for the job. However….can he really fill MY shoes? I had to ask him a few questions to put him on the spot. :)

K: Tell everyone a bit about yourself!

B: I am 21 years old and was born in Madison, WI. I’ve lived in Chicago, Boston, and Washington D.C. before moving back here. My hobbies include playing guitar and saxophone, painting, and enjoying video games. My favorite place to travel is the woods of British Columbia—so serene! My favorite music is electronic, classical, classic rock, and indie.

K: What do you like about working at Murfie?

B: For me, the best part about working at Murfie is discovering new music! I’ve come across LOADS of albums, either through co-workers or just browsing members’ shops, that have greatly broadened my horizons musically.

K: Why are you a good fit to run our Help Desk?

B: I’m a good fit to run our help desk because I specialize in Operations, which means I can facilitate the problem-solving process. Plus, I truly care about the needs of our members….I love the site as much as they do!

K: So, do you think you can fill my shoes? 

B: Yes! You have shown me the ropes, and I’m ready to help our members get the very best in customer support!

Brandon is ready to help with all your Murfie needs—contact him through our Help Desk and say hello! :) 

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!

Interview with Man Mantis [Podcast]

Electronic music is an exciting genre. The addition of technology to the music-making progress created a rapid and diverse evolution of styles and sounds. Man Mantis mixes electronic, hip hop and other styles to make something pleasing to the ears. And as he creates, the music takes a life of its own. We at Murfie know Man Mantis as Mitch Pond, a former employee. With an inside scoop of what it’s like to work at a music service, and what it’s like to sell his own music online, Mitch has a lot of valuable insights on the music industry in general.

Who: Man Mantis; interviewed by Kayla Liederbach
What: Mitch shares his history, music evolution, thoughts on the changing music industry and the difference between the Madison and Denver music scenes.
Where: Murfie HQ
When: June 14th, 2014
How: Recorded by Kayla Liederbach
File: mp3 version


Albums by Man Mantis + more recommendations

Man Mantis Cities Without HousesMan Mantis Dawn of the Def

RJD2 The Third HandRJD2 Deadringer

Flying Lotus Pattern + Grid WorldDumate Rite The Known KnownsDj Shadow Preemptive StrikeDj Shadow The Outsider


 

 

 

 

 

 

Check out more at facebook.com/manmantis.

Into RSS? Follow our podcast feed via https://blog.murfie.com/category/podcasts/feed.


Kayla Liederbach
@djkaylakush

Kayla manages social media and customer support at Murfie. You can hear her on the radio hosting U DUB, the reggae show, Wednesdays on WSUM. She enjoys hosting the Murfie podcast, cooking, traveling, going to concerts, and snuggling with kittycats.


Get to Know a Murfie Staffer!

Our operations team is the best! Ops staffers are here seven days a week, ripping discs, checking metadata, processing downloads, sending kits, and more. This week you can get to know an operations pro:

                ALEX SCHACHERL

c8babb38-df3d-11e2-8ec3-3520997e13f8Where are you from? > I’m originally from Galesville WI, about 20 minutes north of La Crosse, and I moved to Madison in 2010.

How long have you been working at Murfie? What is your role? > I’ve been here since February 2012, and by now I am a 9th level Audio extractor with cross class capabilities in Download Protection (Operations Staff).

What do you like about working at Murfie? > I love the fact that anyone I talk to about my job is instantly jealous of the amazing work environment and job description.

What kind of music can be found in your collection? > Mainly folk, pop/rock, and stand up comedy. Lately I have been acquiring lots of film soundtracks and scores.

Who are your favorite artists/bands of all time? > Mumford & Sons, Tenacious D, Flight of the Concords, The Beatles, and Daft Punk.

29214-largeIf you could have coffee with any musician, from any time, who would it be and why? > Harry Connick Jr., because according to several of the Murfie staff I am his Doppelganger.

Are you a Beyoncé fan? > Who doesn’t love Foxxy Cleopatra?

What album are you really digging right now? > The Greatest Video Game Music, performed by the London Philharmonic. I’m an aspiring game developer, and there’s just something about an orchestrated Tetris theme that I just can’t get over.

photoDo you have any pets? > Currently, my two gerbils, Korra and Katara.

What is your favorite food? > I could probably eat boneless wings for dinner every night.

What can people find you doing when you’re not at Murfie? > When I’m not at work or school, I spend a good chunk of my time rehearsing and performing with Fundamentally Sound, an all male acappella group from the UW Madison campus. Other than that I enjoy gaming, frolfing, and all sorts of other merriment with friends and family!

Now you know more about Alex, a Murfie ops staffer extraordinaire! We love showing off all the cool cats who work here. Stay tuned and meet someone new next week!

Phonorecords: A Matter Where Matter Still Matters

 

Judge Sullivan’s decision in the recent Capitol Records versus ReDigi ruling allows for what we all know is perfectly legal; exchange and personal uses of original physical media, like the original commercial CDs that Murfie stores for an owner, providing access only to the owner.

Beyond that, the ruling was a bit of a letdown. In this modern era of digital audio delivered across high speed networks, we all wanted a profound decision about the future of ownership of our media.  We wanted a ruling that clearly let us know whether our iTunes downloads were albums we really owned versus data we’ve merely licensed. Instead, the case came down to the copying of… phonorecords. Phonorecords?

As defined by copyright law, phonorecords are the “material objects” in which the music is fixed. When the law was created in 1976, this meant vinyl records, eight-track tapes, and cassettes. The various music formats which followed over the years were also very clearly material objects. In the ReDigi case, the judge takes the definition of phonorecord to an entirely new level that now includes the physical section of magnetic bits stored on our harddrives in the case of iTunes downloads. By contrast, an album that is sold or accessed on Murfie’s platform simply is a CD phonorecord, stored for its owner’s convenience in Murfie’s disc vault.

And, this is where ReDigi ran into trouble. The instant that original, licensed download of Thriller was saved on our harddrive, that tiny section of bits on our physical drive became the material object associated with that phonorecord. Short of teleportation, it didn’t matter how fancy ReDigi’s system of transferring data was because, in the end, ownership of the concrete physical thing wasn’t conveyed to the buyer. The judge ruled that the laws of physics made it impossible to transfer a phonorecord (i.e. a material object) across a network in a manner that didn’t involve making a copy.

Extending the definition of a phonorecord to account for bits on a drive leaves open some interesting questions. The judge ruled that the first sale doctrine “still protects a lawful owner’s sale of her ‘particular’ phonorecord, be it a computer hard disk, iPod, or other memory device onto which the file was originally downloaded.” This seems to imply that we’re able to sell a harddrive containing a bundle of original mp3 downloads. But what about those mp3s that were transferred over to this harddrive when we upgraded it to a larger size? Or, even those files that were copied over to a new directory (file system specifics aside)?

In tying the case back to elements of copyright in place long before the rise of digital audio, the judge took a conservative approach and declined an opportunity to chart a path for first sale in the digital realm. He cited as much in his decision: “Congress has the constitutional authority and the institutional ability to accommodate fully the varied permutations of competing interests that are inevitably implicated by such new technology.”

In other words, congress needs to update our laws if the original copy of your iTunes download on your harddrive is going to be considered something more than a phonorecord that’s stuck with you (or whomever has your computer). So, for those of us waiting around for a digital first sale doctrine, it could be a while.

In the meantime, Murfie already provides a path forward for music ownership in a digital world. We’ll continue to maximize the value of your music within time-tested laws, but we also applaud any work entrepreneurs, legislators, and courts do to modernize those laws to reflect how our systems for transacting, storing, and accessing music, books, and movies that we own actually work. These advances are good for all parties and can hardly fail to lead to many new opportunities for creators, the various supporting media businesses, and fans alike.

Please drop in and check us out.

Last updated: 04/02/2013 at 4:22pm; a draft was posted by mistake

Popularity Contest: Murfie Downloads or Streaming?

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not trying to imply that one is objectively better than the other. I’m humbly venturing to gather intel (mind you, informal intel) on music delivery preferences and whether downloading OR streaming is more “popular” as a playback choice on Murfie.

Now, your exact preference is probably a result of many factors (specific to your lifestyle). Here at Murfie, we’d sure lurve if you shared some of those reasons in the comments section. But first, do the easy part — take the poll, please!

Open Letter to Bruce Willis

 

Dear Bruce,

We weren’t surprised to learn that the recent stories about taking on Apple over rights to your iTunes collection turned out to be false. However, we suspect that this issue may be of genuine concern to you and to others who have amassed large collections of digital music downloads. For that, we feel your pain – and would like to lend a hand.

As a way to clear up the music ownership question and hopefully make up for some of the trouble caused by the free-wheeling London media, we have a simple offer for you: let us replace your entire iTunes collection, on us, with music you’ll really own on Murfie. We’ve even already opened up a Murfie account for you with some albums we suspect are part of your library.

I’m sure you have an absolutely incredible music collection. And, if you’re like most of us, it’s split between all of your CDs and the stuff you’ve downloaded from iTunes. The ownership rights that come with your CDs are clear. You can give them to a friend, trade them, sell them, donate them, and easily leave them to your heirs–all things that can be done with the music you own on Murfie.

However, as the recent press coverage has pointed out, your rights to the music you’ve downloaded are quite a bit more complicated. You’re likely limited in terms of how or where you can listen to your music. You certainly can’t sell or trade your downloads, and only time will tell if it will ever become possible to legally transfer rights to your downloads to your estate.

So, let us move your music collection to Murfie. To sweeten the deal, for every album in your collection that you move to Murfie, we’ll donate $10 to our charity of choice, the VH1 Save the Music Foundation. What do you say? You’ll get a complete collection of music you own and help out a great cause in the process. It doesn’t get better than that!

Sincerely,
Matt Younkle, Co-Founder
info@murfie.com