I love the thrill of a good used record store run. Flipping through crates of CDs and old vinyl to find hidden gems is like going on a musical archaeological dig. Although I tend to buy more music online these days for convenience, I will always love the surprise finds that come from visiting a used record store. From coveted albums to hilarious oddities, used record stores hold a special place in my heart. But when I heard on NPR that a company called ReDigi can help you buy and sell used MP3s online, I had to learn more.
ReDigi’s business model is currently the subject of copyright law debate. The company buys old MP3s, which shoppers can search through and purchase. They claim that their service does not violate any copyright law because their technology ensures that users who sell MP3s are not harboring any more copies of the file on any Internet-connected devices. ReDigi states that their service does not violate copyright law due to something called “first sale” doctrine. Basically, any copyrighted material that you buy can be resold or given away after you’ve purchased it, without the permission of the copyright holder.
Of course, artists, record labels, and music stores might feel differently about ReDigi’s service. It’s difficult to prove that someone has really eliminated all traces of a sold MP3. Additionally, allowing the sale of used MP3s would cut even more into falling music industry profits. However, ReDigi is not the only company with plans to corner the market on sale of used electronic materials. Apple has acquired a patent that would allow iTunes users to buy and sell used MP3s, and Amazon is looking to do something similar with eBooks.
Personally, I find it hard to think what the advantages of used MP3 shopping might be. Electronic media is already available for low prices, sometimes even for free. Even with a slight price break, I can’t imagine myself actually buying a used MP3. Typing a name in a search bar for instant gratification is nothing like sifting through the racks until you find something special. As we enter an increasingly digital world, I can’t help but think that some experiences just can’t be replicated online, and used record shopping is one of them.
How do you like to shop for music? Would the ability to buy and sell used MP3s change your shopping habits? Tell us in the comments.
-Megan L. TakeLessons Staff Member and Blogger
Photo by CollegeDegrees360