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CD-, Vinyl -Ripping Service Builds Dealer Base

7/21/2014 08:00:00 AM Eastern
Take Away

Ripping services such as Murfie offer service-based A/V specialists an opportunity to add another service to complement product selection.

MADISON, WIS. — Murfie, a company that converts consumers’ CDs and vinyl records to digital files, is building out an affiliate program to sell its services through A/V specialists and other retailers.

The company (www.murfie.com), which debuted its service in May 2011, launched the affiliate program earlier this year and counts 30 affiliates so far, including A/V specialists, audio/media consultants and professionals in the organizing space, said sales and marketing manager Tyler Stubbe.

Under the affiliate program, dealers receive a 20 percent commission for each sale generated. The commission is accumulated monthly and paid out within 30 days of the end of the month.

For dealers, the company provides marketing materials and a web interface they can use to view sales and commission history, place orders on behalf of customers, and enter client information in a contact form for follow-up by Murfie staff. Each affiliate gets a unique affiliate promo code that entitles its customers to a 10 percent discount on order and tracks the order for the commission.

The company differentiates itself from other services by enabling unlimited online streaming of ripped songs from the Cloud and allowing for unlimited downloads from the Cloud with up to lossless quality at no extra cost, he said. Downloads can be delivered via the Cloud and via a hard drive shipped to customers.

“For ripping services, no one offers the ‘send your CD and vinyl collection to the Cloud’ service,” Stubbe continued. “They don’t offer Cloud access to the rips they perform. Typically they provide those rips only on a portable hard drive or LP to CD.”

iTunes, Amazon and Google offer Cloud service for a consumer’s local files, “but they don’t match your lossless files if you previously ripped in lossless format, and if you didn’t rip your CDs, you would need to rip them first, then push the ripped files to the Cloud. This is very time consuming and sometimes many people rip it incorrectly.”

No other service remotely stores a consumer’s physical content on their behalf, he added.

Other competitors also rip vinyl “but are considerably more expensive,” he continued. “The cheapest competitor we found costs $18, and the most expensive is $40-plus per LP, and they do not offer Cloud access to those rips — no streaming and no downloading,” Stubbe continued.

Competitors also provide lossless quality, but often at an additional cost, he said. “At Murfie, lossless downloads are included with any CD sent in or purchased.”

Streaming of ripped content is available through an iOS and Android app, from Murfie’s website, and through integration with Sonos and Voco wireless multiroom-audio systems. Murfie also said its streaming service will be integrated into Roku, Chromecast and Amazon FireTV streaming devices for home audio/video systems.

Standard streams are in the 320Kbps MP3 format, but users can upgrade to Murfie HiFi for $99/year and get lossless FLAC streaming with 44.1kHz/16-bit performance, though only through Sonos and Voco wireless multiroom-audio systems for now, the company said. Those systems also offer 320kpbs MP3 streaming.

Downloads are available in 320Kbps MP3 and AAC, in FLAC, and ALAC at 44.1kHz/16-bit (192kHz/24-bit for vinyl). All four formats are included in the portable HDD or NAS shipped to consumers, who must return it.

Consumers who opt for a portable hard drive or NAS to store their content will still get unlimited streaming and downloading access.

Murfie also stores the user’s discs and vinyl at its headquarters but will return them at the user’s request. Collections are stored in water-resistant boxes in a climate-controlled warehouse.

Ripping prices for online streaming access are $1 per CD, $10 per 12- and 10-inch vinyl disc, and $5 per 7-inch vinyl disc. The additional cost of transferring music to a HDD or NAS device delivered to the customer is variable based on the size of the collection, with prices starting at $65 for up to 50 CDs stored on a HDD to $449 for 2,501-6,000 CDs.

Charges for ripping to a NAS drive are $199 for up to 1,000 CDs to $449 for 2,501-6,000 CDs.

Return shipping of the user’s collection is 25 cents per CD and $2.50 per vinyl album. UPS home pickup costs $10 but is free with collections of more than 150 CDs or 10 vinyl albums.

Besides sending in their current collections for ripping, consumers can also buy new and used CDs from Murfie at prices as low as $2.

The company currently is storing more than 500,000 CDs for U.S. and international customers and offers more than 160,000 new and used CDs for sale.

Take Away

Ripping services such as Murfie offer service-based A/V specialists an opportunity to add another service to complement product selection.

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