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Technically Yours, Madison Startup Allows Anyone with a CD Collection To Create Their Own Online Indie Record Store

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Do you have hundreds of CDs that you don't listen to anymore? Do you have so many CDs that is taking up a lot of space in your home and would like to find a better place to store them?  There is a Madison-based startup that can help you solve those problem and help you make money at the same time.

The name of the startup is called Murfie.  The company is based in Madison, Wisconsin. Murfie was started by University of Wisconsin graduates Matt Younkle and Preston Austin. The concept is simple.  You send a your CDs to Murfie with a free mail-in kit. Murfie then rips the CDs for you.  You can get digital downloads of your files or you can sell them in your own personal online record store.

Visual flow of Murfie's process

To some this might sound legally sketchy, but it is not.  Copyright laws are quite different when dealing with Physical copies of music like CD.  In theory, when Murfie takes physical possesion of your CDs, it give them the ability to rip CDs and sell them digitally on your behalf. Murfie members still retain ownership of the discs, even though the discs are in Murfie's possesion. Of course, if this service becomes really popular, the big labels might challenge Murfie in the courts. This is very similar to when the labels tried to challenge used cd record store when they started popping up back in the day.

After a person's CD's are sent to Murfie for digital processing, there are a couple of things that one can do.  You can set up a personal shop and sell digital copies of your CDs.  You can set the price to sell the now digitally converted CDs.  Once a sell is made, Murfie will credit you 70% of the purchase price to your account. You can use these funds as store credit or Murfie can cut you a check.  Once the sale of an album is complete, you agree that you will delete that digital copy of the album from your store.  This is how Murfie makes it legal with copyright laws.

The other thing you can do with Murfie is simply use it as a storage facility, where you can access your music digitally for your own use.  You can download any album in a variety of formats for only $1.  However, for a small annual fee of $24, you get a gold membership to Murfie. This allows anyone to get up to free rips and downloads of 25 additional CDs per month from your collection.  The membership also allows you to get free rips and downloads of all CDs you purchase or trade for on Murfie. You can also make trades with other users for free. You can click here for more information on Murfie's pricing structure.

Currently, Murfie has close to 4,300 active members and store 175,000 discs. An average of 8,000 discs are added to Murfie's inventory every week.  This could be an opportunity for someone with unique collection such as imports to make a little money. The company also has 'Green' aspect, which is that they recycle the jewel cases, and they make around $1,500 per ton for recycling jewel cases.  Murfie is also thinking about implenting a process where it can take vinyl records, but there is no timeline for that feature.

The Madison startup was even featured on NPR. Take a listen to their story below.  What are your thoughts on this?