Younkle says Murfie is negotiating with the record companies right now for rights to access the master files for each artist, which would allow them to skip the ripping and stream a single copy of each album to multiple users. As Murfie grows – it’s now storing some 350,000 CDs, worth $5 million when new – that’s going to be essential.
I remarked to Younkle that Murfie reminded me a lot of the early days of Lala.com, before it was purchased by Apple and turned into Ping. Lala was essentially a social network built around discovering new music. He says that’s a direction they’ve been exploring too. Younkle said he’s noticed how people like to interact on Murfie, so they opened up the service to allow members to explore the musical collections of others with similar tastes. He says they plan to build more social tools into the service over time.
Murfie isn’t free, of course. My Gold membership costs $29 a year; there are $1 transaction fees when non-Goldies buy albums, and other assorted fees. Not surprisingly, the music selection is somewhat random and changes day to day. It’s much more like a very large used record store than iTunes or Amazon Music, one where you can happily kill a lazy afternoon just flipping through discs.
I don’t often find services or products I like all that much. What can I say? I’m a curmudgeon. But Murfie is definitely one of my faves. When I need a music fix (cause I’m goin’ down), it’s where I head first.
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