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: 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.”