Recycle Old CDs with Murfie, Buy Used Music for Cheap

Photo by Dave Morris/CC

Do you have music guilt? Music glut? Rows and rows of old CDs that haven't been played in years? If you're like a lot of people, you rip a CD to your mp3 player or smartphone as soon as you buy it. That's if you buy the CD at all, since music is available digitally from places like iTunes and Amazon. Not to mention the (illegal) downloading and sharing that goes on online. Still, what do you do with those old, dust-collecting CDs in the basement? You can try selling them, but you won't get much money, and you may need a trailer to haul them over to the music store, if you can find a music store in 2011. Enter Murfie, a service that will take your old CDs, turn them into digital files, and recycle your plastic cases.
The New York Times has covered the company, along with The Wall Street Journal.

It works like this: You ship your used CDs for free to a Murfie warehouse in Madison, Wisconsin, home of bands including Garbage, but not Recycling. That's a good one.

After you send the discs to Murfie, the company creates digital versions of your files, which you can then download. The discs stay at the warehouse, and the jewel cases are recycled.

It's not the greenest thing in the world. You could save shipping emissions by just ripping the CDs to your home computer, then putting the cases and discs into the recycling bin (Don't forget to back up your files). But not all recycling programs will accept musical materials, so here's an alternative to the landfill.

What else? You can sell your digitized files to other Murfie members once you join the club. The physical CDs are transferred to a new owner at the company warehouse. And that's less carbon-intensive than buying a new, physical CD.

What do we think? A "virtuous" way to trade in old CDs, as NYT puts it? Maybe a model that Apple, iTunes and other digital music providers will soon seek to crush?

Just a thought. One selling point for Murfie is that it offers digital files of music not on iTunes. More about the company and Frequently Asked Questions.

Featured music at Murfie sells for as low as $1 an album (remember those?), which won't even buy you some single songs on iTunes at $1.29 a pop. Murfie charges fees per download and sale. There's a $24-per-year Gold Membership that gives you rips and downloads of the CDs you purchase or trade, along with rips and downloads of up to 25 additional CDs per month from your Murfie warehouse collection.

This may be a way to clean out your CDs and add new tunes, and a way for the mp3- or time-challenged to encode their old music. But you don't need it, because you've already encoded all those CDs in the basement. Right? Maybe it's time to take a look ...

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Tags: Music | Recycling | Wisconsin

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