[Opinion] Save the iPod!

I love my iPod! I have a shiny silver iPod Classic with a whopping 160GB of storage. For the past 4 years or so, it’s travelled all over with me, allowing me to listen to music on busses to Milwaukee (Cue: “Traveling Man”), on planes 30,0000 feet in the sky (Cue: “Leaving on a Jet Plane”), and on beaches in Jamaica (Cue: “Country Roads”).

The reason why I often listen to music on my iPod and not my phone, especially while traveling, is because it doesn’t drain my phone battery and I can access my entire collection offline. At home, I can plug it into my speaker system and I don’t need to worry about turning the music off to make a phone call.

This is why I was extremely saddened, disappointed, and upset to hear that Apple is discontinuing production of the iPod Classic! Now that the news is out, iPod Classics are selling for up to four times their original price online. But it’s no surprise, really, that Apple will be pushing people to buy the “next” thing.

I’m not alone in this sentiment. David Sims of The Atlantic says it’s okay to miss the iPod Classic. He noticed reactions like mine, and the spike in prices says it even more simply. “The surge of demand for old iPods suggests what I’ve long been thinking: There’s a hole in the market here. Something has to rush in and fill it eventually,” he says.

The hole he’s talking about is that even though streaming services exist, people still want permanence in their digital music collections. The tunes on your iPod occupy a sort of middle-ground between music rental (i.e. subscription streaming services) and ownership. With an iPod, you can collect digital music files, whether you ripped them from a CD or bought them from Apple (you technically don’t own the Apple files—you own a license to play the files according to Apple’s terms). But either way, you still can feel like you own them, because you’re in full control of where the files live.

Don’t get me wrong, streaming is great to have available! Streaming playback of my music is a great modern invention, whether it’s streaming what I own from Murfie or from a subscription service. But there’s still something convenient, and comforting, about having guaranteed access to all the music I care about in a package that follows me wherever I want to be. The iPod Classic is a great solution for the portable, offline listening and management of digital files, and I’m sad to see it go.

Sims says, “The question is whether Apple will realize its mistake or some other company will do it for them.” If another company wants to step up and make a comparable portable player, I applaud them. But hope my iPod Classic will still able to be supported in some way.


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.


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.”

Amazon FireTV

UPDATE (4/4/2014): The FireTV came in today as expected.  The office squirrels are going nuts for it: see for yourself.

In case you haven’t seen the news, Amazon dropped the bombshell that is the FireTV on April 2nd.  After a lot of speculation that Amazon would be getting deeper into the gaming industry, the FireTV focuses on streaming TV with voice search, predictive suggestions and some surprisingly good games. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos spoke to Mike Snider of USA Today about the device:

“Tiny box, huge specs, tons of content, incredible price — people are going to love Fire TV. And our open approach gives you not just Amazon Instant Video and Prime Instant Video, but also Netflix, Hulu Plus and more.”

What we find most exciting about the FireTV, however, is Amazon’s commitment that the device is “Made for Music.”  Amazon has Dolby Digital Plus certification and a built-in optical audio out to back it up, too. In our ongoing efforts to help you enjoy your music collection in more places and on more devices, we’re taking a good look at the Amazon FireTV.

Ours should arrive tomorrow, and we’re excited to see what the little box has to offer!  Stay tuned, and let us know what you think of this surprise launch.

Announcing our new Murfie iOS App!

iPod—ever heard of it?
iPhone? No?
iPad—what’s that?

Just kidding! We know there are many Murfie members out there who are Apple peeps.

Well, the day has arrived, the day—has—arrived

our Murfie iOS App is here!

That’s right, now you can stream your Murfie collection from your iPhone, iPad, or any iOS device, using our new, super specially-designed streaming application!

The app is brand spankin’ new and not fully indexed in Apple’s search bar. But ssssh, we like you…so you can follow this secret link to start using the app:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/murfie/id623272703

Soon you’ll be streaming like a pro! Yes, we are encouraging you to go nuts here. This is our first app, specifically for streaming your Murfie collection, and we have big plans for more features.

Give us a good rating, won’t ya? ;-)

[UPDATE: Tell us what ya like! Tell us what ya don’t like! E-mail us at info@murfie.com.]

Introducing: The “Unpurchase” Button (Your New BFF)

Murfie, meet the Unpurchase Button. Unpurchase Button, meet Murfie!

This new lil’ button does wonders. Only at Murfie, you can buy any album, stream it, and “Unpurchase” within 24 hours if you decide it’s not for you! We’ll credit the amount back to your account—no problem whatsoever.

Now, you’ll never have to hesitate to give any album a try! No more worrying about spending money on something you don’t completely and totally lurrrrve.

Almost like relationship insurance, right? ;-)

Streaming in Murfieland

We’re always pleased as punch to deliver good news to our Murfie members— I mean, who wouldn’t be?
Here goes…

Starting today, unlimited streaming is included with every purchase on Murfie! No subscription required.

So this means:

You can stream all the discs you purchase on Murfie, anytime, anywhere, using our mini player in any web browser or your favorite Sonos device! All streaming, all ze time, for everybody!!! (And someone started a rumor that there might be iOS and Android apps on the way— we don’t know who, though!)

You will now see a $1 transaction fee set in place for all purchases of member-sold discs on our site, which is waived for Murfie Gold members.

From now until March 31st, everyone gets to experience the full benefits of the new Murfie Gold membership— absolutely free. With the new Murfie Gold, you’ll get all the best goodies that music-lovers love, including:

  • No $1 transaction fee
  • One free Shipping Kit (send up to 200 discs to add to your online collection for free)
  • Exclusive album trading with other Gold Members

Here’s your chance to live the Gold life til March 31st, absolutely free, and really live it up!

For all you current Murfie Gold members out there, keep an eye out for an e-mail explaining special benefits just for you.

We say:
Change is goooood!

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!