Murfie: A New Home For Your CDs In The Cloud

Murfie offers an interesting twist on the marriage of CD collecting and ownership coupled with a streaming and download service delivering perhaps the best of both worlds. After all, one of the knocks against buying downloads is we don't really have ownership rights to them—we can't re-sell them. Murfie, founded by Matt Younkle and Preston Austin in 2011, aims to deliver high quality downloads and streams to members from CDs you actually own—a service that combines the convenience of the cloud, with the permanence of collecting.

Let's break down the Murfie service. Murfie will send you a shipping kit sized to your collection. Then you just ship it to their Madison, Wisconsin warehouse, where they'll rip it using dbPowerAmp/AccurateRip and store it in both the lossless FLAC version as well as the physical CD which you continue to own. The CD ripping service costs $1.00 per disc. Once your collection is ripped and stored, it is available to you online in three ways; through Murfie's lossy streaming (320kbps mp3), lossless FLAC streaming for Murfie HiFi members, and via download (mp3, aac, FLAC, ALAC). Physical shipping of the CD back to you is also available (if you miss it too much).

Next is the Murfie Marketplace where you can buy, sell, or trade CDs, although you never have to deal with the physical thing if you don't want to since they are all stored in the Murfie warehouse. Trades with other members are free while Murfie takes a 30% fee on all CD sales. They claim over "20,000 members with an inventory of 500,000 discs and an average of 8,000 discs added every week".

There are two membership levels; Murfie Gold ($25/year) and Murfie HiFi ($99/year) the latter buying you the ability to stream your Murfie library in lossless format to your Sonos or Voco system. CD storage is included with membership. You do not have to be a member to buy and trade CDs but a $12/year storage fee will apply if you do not maintain "at least 12 transactions per year (purchases, sales, trades, or paid deliveries)". Gold Membership gets you a $1.00 discount on every CD you purchase in the Marketplace. If you want the CD delivered, there's a $2/disc charge. You can also opt to have Murfie send you your ripped collection on a 1TB Seagate hard drive for $115.

I was notified during the fact check for this article that Murfie now also offers the same service for vinyl. "We accept and digitize vinyl as well: $10 per 12 and 10 inch LP, and $5 per 7 inch LP. [We use] VinylStudio by AlpineSoft for the ripping and proprietary software for the processing Sumiko Blue Point No.2 Cartridge, Pro-Ject RPM 5.1 Turntable, iFi-audio iPhono Preamplifier, Native Instruments Komplete Audio 6 A-D Converter. Vinyl is digitized at 24/96, but we will be upgrading all of our equipment very soon so we can offer 24/192 ultra hi-res. Every LP is professionally cleaned prior to digitizing and we will be getting a high-end professional cleaner, too. After digitizing, the Murfie customer gets the same great unlimited access to their LPs as they do with their CDs. Vinyl can be stored at Murfie or shipped back."

While some people have pointed out the real possibility of someone ripping their CD prior to selling it on Murfie, this same possibility certainly exists when selling your CDs through your local used record shop so it appears as if they've got the one-up on ReDigi (see ReDigi article) in terms of avoiding a copyright fight with the record labels. Another cool feature of the Murfie service is they recycle all of the plastic CD cases they receive and store the CD along with liner notes and artwork if provided.

With the price of storage being what it is, and seemingly costing less over time, housing your own CD rips locally is a fairly painless endeavor. But if you find the idea of ripping your CDs daunting and are tired of storing them, the Murfie service may be a match made in cloud heaven. Add the Murfie marketplace to that where you can buy, sell, or trade CDs and this becomes an interesting additional option to building and housing a music library.

Murfie CEO Matt Younkle's previous startup, TurboTap which he recently sold, was a new beer tap design that improved the speed of the pour by 4x, minimized waste and spillage, "and even makes a consistently perfect foam at the top" all of which makes Matt Younkle one of my heroes.

tubefan9's picture

It's frustrating buying used vinyl on eBay - relying on sellers VG , Vg++ ratings who never listened to the record. It would be neat if you can hear a short 24/96 rip of a song (played through your Geek Out) to see if you want to purchase the actual vinyl. Maybe this is too much work and not what they are going for?

John at Murfie's picture

Hi, tubefan9! John from Murfie here - I handle our vinyl service. As a long-time vinyl fan, I definitely understand your frustration with buying vinyl online.

Murfie is working on a number of ways to make buying used vinyl a great experience, so you know what to expect when you purchase a record. That includes grading all vinyl ourselves, and a whole lot of other neat ideas we hope to roll out.

Additionally, vinyl on Murfie will come with the same satisfaction guarantee we offer with CD sales. If you have any other suggestions on how we can make vinyl great on Murfie, please feel free to get in touch!