Muruch is one of the oldest music/mp3 blogs and one of the few offering only 100% legal mp3s. It was originally created by me (Victoria) as a personal webpage on iWarp.com (a Freeservers.com subdomain) in June, 1999. It was moved to a Homestead.com subdomain in July, 2000, when a page was added for mp3 links and music recommendations.
Incidentally, “Murúch” is the Irish word for “mermaid” and has been my email moniker since I first got online in 1998. I was introduced to the word by what turned out to be a mediocre book, but by then the name had stuck. But I digress.
A companion mailing list (all the rage before RSS feeds) was created on eGroups (bought shortly after by Yahoo Groups) in September, 2000. The list featured general discussion by group members and my own weekly “Muruch Mp3s” newsletter with mp3s, music reviews, and entertainment news.
“Muruch Mp3s” was moved back to the Muruch site a few months later, when the site was moved to its own .net domain and I began hosting mp3s on my own server at that time. I gave up the domaim in July, 2001 and transferred the musical contents of the site to Blogspot.com (owned by Blogger).
In 2003, the blog was put on hold when I became moderator of the Livejournal music community Audiogasms. Audiogasms was one of the first major music communities on Livejournal.com, and was the predecessor to several spinoff communities. The moderating demands of my rapidly growing community became wearisome to me in early 2004, so I handed over the group to a new moderator and encouraged the members to follow her to a new replacement community – Audiography, which became an even more successful and much larger music community in the years that followed.
I took a short break from writing, but my obsession with music soon pushed me to resurrect Muruch as a proper mp3 blog on Blogger. Unfortunately, I lost the early archives during the transfer, so I started fresh. This time I put the focus on supporting artists I like rather than simply sharing music with readers. This change of purpose moved me to write more in-depth reviews, include purchase links in my posts, and eventually only post authorized, 100% legal mp3s. It was around that time that other mp3 blogs were first becoming popular. My domain hopping and preferrence for legal mp3s kept Muruch from gaining the name recognition of its mp3 blog peers, but the site’s traffic still increased at a very impressive rate and enjoyed several years on Technorati’s Top 100 Music Blogs list.
In October, 2008, Muruch was one of the many music blogs unfairly censored by Blogger due to false copyright infringement claims by IFPI. A review containing a 100% legal mp3 that was posted with the permission of the record label (who held the copyright) was deleted by Blogger without notification. A successful counter claim was filed with Blogger and the post was reinstated in December, 2008, just as another authorized mp3 post was deleted by Blogger for yet another false infringement claim. It became clear that not even a 100% legal music blog was safe on Blogger, so Muruch was once again moved to its own domain.
Fellow music blogger Song, By Toad kindly helped with the move to the new Muruch.com domain and has generously hosted this site since January, 2009. All’s well that ends well.
In the latter part of 2009, guest and freelance writers began contributing occasional reviews and photographs to the site. These include Vic’s husband, Brendan, and best friend, Heather, on the East Coast; Chicago reviewer Chelle; Mid-West photographer Jen “Coble” Hopper (whose photo is featured in the header); West Coast reviewer Laura; and Scotland/UK reviewer Jamie. But unless otherwise noted, all reviews are written by Victoria (Vic). You may contact any of the writers by leaving a comment on any post or emailing the address listed on the sidebar.
Muruch covers a wide variety of musical genres with mp3s, streaming audio, videos and reviews of albums and live performances. There’s also the occassional review of books, films and televisiom shows, but music is definitely the central theme. The site is syndicated on Hype Machine, Elbo.ws, Livejournal, Facebook and Twitter (see sidebar of home page for feed links), and has been featured on VH1’s Best Week Ever Blog, The Woodstock Film Festival website, MSN’s Money Central Blog, Technorati’s Top 100 Music Blogs and The Guardian’s website. Rolling Stone has reposted some of our concert photos on their site and our reviews have been quoted in countless press releases, Amazon and Wikipedia pages and even album liner notes.
Musical Mascots: Five artists that Muruch has helped promote more than any other are Allison Crowe, Gaba Kulka (who thanked “Vic” in her album liner notes), Xavier Rudd, The Dresden Dolls (part of my old “demented circus genre“), and Hannah Fury. We’ve also championed many new, unknown and often unsigned artists in our Surfacing series that went on to much greater success, such as She & Him and Lorde.
If you would like to submit music, books or DVDs for review, please email your request with the subject line “Muruch Review Submission” and a brief description – for music, please include the artist’s name and genre and/or artist (“RIYL”) comparison. The body of your email should include links to artist websites, mp3s, streams, videos, etc. so we may sample their music before requesting an album. Digital album downloads links may be included in the email or you may request our mailing address to submit a physical CD. Note: Submitting music does not guarantee a review on Muruch. We will email you a link if a review is posted. Otherwise, please don’t pester us if you’ve already submitted music. We receive hundreds of submissions every day, so multiple emails just clog our inbox and annoy us -which does encourage us to listen to your music! No reply means no review. Look on the bright side, it’s better than a bad review.
As with most review websites and blogs, many (though not all) of the cds and dvds I review have been provided by artists, labels, or PR firms as free promotional items. I also occasionally receive free tickets to concerts and other live events, but I only accept them if I’m already interested in the performers.
These practices do not influence the content of my reviews other than allowing me to review far more than I would be able to afford otherwise. I always strive to be honest in my writing, whether I’ve paid for the item or not. I only review things I really like, I point out any parts that I dislike, and I only give completely positive reviews when I feel they are truly deserved. For every free CD I receive and review, there are piles of promos I don’t review because I don’t like them.
The Amazon purchase links I include in my reviews typically result in my receiving one or two Amazon gift certificates (usually around $10 each) per year. I always try to also include a link to the artist’s website or MySpace page, so you are welcome to buy from them directly if you have a problem with Amazon referrals. I also belong at an iTunes affiliate program, but I’ve never received anything from it.
Finally, I receive a very tiny monthly commission from the text ad links on the bottom of the sidebar. Since every mp3 I post is 100% legal and the ads do not appear to feed subscribers, I do not feel guilty for profiting from my writing in such a small way.
These are the only perks I receive from this site. I do not get paid to write reviews, though the time I freely give to Muruch could easily be a full-time job. Muruch is a labor of love – my love of music and my love of writing.
All of the mp3 links, Soundcloud streams and Youtube videos on Muruch are 100% free and legal, and are posted with the permission of the artists, record labels, or their PR reps. All active audio and links and embeds are hosted by the labels or PR companies on their own servers or third party sites like Soundcloud or Youtube, and those corporations are entirely responsible for any licensing fees for internet use.
If you have any question regarding my right to post audio or video file, please email me and I will gladly forward you proof of my authorization and remove the file in question if you have a valid reason for me to do so. If you have a dispute regarding licensing or any other kind of fee, you will need to contact the label or PR company behind the upload as I have no authority or responsibility in such matters.