Rich Warren: Want your music on the go-go? Murfie can help
Take advantage of Murfie's law. No, not the Mr. Murphy who causes mishaps, but Murfie from Madison, Wis. The Murfie folks read a recent column about transferring digital media and contacted us about their eagerness to help.
Murfie transfers your personal, commercially released audio CDs to the cloud, AKA that big computer server in the sky.
Murfie rips your CDs and makes them available to you and only you via any Internet-connected device, whether that's a PC on you desk, smartphone or tablet. Murfie asked me to stress that it observes copyright laws and that this is perfectly legal if you follow the rules.
In bold type its information sheet states: We only accept commercially licensed music CDs, no CD-Rs, DVDs or cassettes. They can transfer LPs, but that's rather expensive since LPs have to be played in real-time. When they complete the transfer they can return the CDs to you.
First, visit Murfie by going to its website at: murfie.com or phone Murfie at 608-515-8180. A representative will walk you through the process and quote a price for you. Once you decide how many CDs you wish to transfer to the cloud and whether you wish to send them in jewel boxes or in paper sleeves that Murfie can provide, Murfie sends you a cardboard box of the correct size with a UPS return label. You fill the box with CDs and drop it at any UPS pickup point or give it to a UPS driver. Home pickup costs extra.
Depending on the time it takes UPS to ship your CDs both ways, Murfie can turn around your CDs within a couple of weeks. They send you an e-mail when they receive your discs. Your music should appear in (or is it on?) the cloud before the physical discs return. If you want Murfie to indefinitely store your discs, that can be arranged as well. You also can ask that your music be returned on a hard drive that plugs into your computer in a lossless compression format such as FLAC or Apple's ALAC, which sound superior to even the very high bit rate MP3 encoding used by Murfie for streaming. If you want to listen to your music from the cloud, you'll need it stored as an MP3. Murfie also interfaces with Sonos and Voco music players.
Murfi charges $1 per disc, which includes the shipping carton, shipping and ripping plus an additional 25 cents for each disc's return. If you want the music returned on a hard drive, you pay the cost of a hard drive plus its shipping.
Murfie sent me a shipping carton and I'm going to send a few discs to them to experience how this works. I'll let you know the results in about a month.
It would be a delight to enjoy my music library on my iPad anywhere I go. If it works, with the size of my music library I'd probably have to take a home equity loan to fund the project.
For something slightly less expensive, but highly creative, Spektral Quartet, one of Chicago's most forward-thinking chamber ensembles, has created Mobile Miniature, a ringtone project commissioning 46 composers ranging from indie-pop to classical to create more than 60 different original pieces for mobile devices.
The Mobile Miniatures go on sale to the public this Saturday at spektralquartet.com. You can be the first on your block to either impress your friends or annoy strangers with ringtones by notables such as former Chicago Symphony Orchestra composers-in-residence Shulamit Ran and Augusta Read Thomas and current CSO composer-in-residence Mason Bates among dozens of other notables. The ringtones cost 50 cents each or the entire opus for $20. Think how great this would have been if cell phones existed in 1790.
Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. He can be emailed at email@example.com.