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The February 17, 2004 Issue Provided by System Dynamics Inc.
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Getting Digital Music Fast: Get Digital

After reading last month's article on Digital Media adapters, Doug Strachota contacted us and pointed out that DMAs, like so many new devices, start with the presumption that you have all your music ripped onto the hard drive of your PC(s). This misses the important fact that many of us have libraries consisting of numerous CDs and that it is a time consuming job to rip them all. That's where Get Digital, the company that Doug co-founded with Ryan Moore, comes in.

Get Digital is a service company which converts personal CD collections to MP3s or other digital audio formats (such as WMA, AAC or WAV) at the bit rate you specify (starting at 128 kbps). You send your CDs to Get Digital and get back digital files, on either DVDs, CD-Rs, your MP3 player or jukebox, or a PC hard drive. The encoded files on DVDs provide a permanent archive of your music. The CDs are returned with a binder including a color print out, including cover art, of each CD and song they have encoded for you. Price is quantity dependent, starting with $1.99 each for the first 200 CDs and going down to .99 additional for CD's 401-500; the price includes shipping both ways. The price is not cheap, but for those whose time is in short supply, it may be the right answer.

Although users currently find the service through word of mouth or reviews, the company expects shortly to announce some partners from the world of digital media adapters and music services. These partnerships will bring additional user awareness to the service and will also include discount inducements to try Get Digital's service.

Get Digital packing container --> Click for larger pictureCDs stacked on spindles from Get Digital --> Click for larger pictureTo experience how their service works, we've sent them a batch of our CDs. The promise of the listings of the CDs along with the cover art was a real inducement for us to try it. The process is simple: Get Digital sent us pre-paid shipping containers with instructions for sending the CDs to their facility. We took our CDs out of their cases; stacked them on the spindles they provided; packed the spindles back in the same box using the same packing materials; sealed the box; and sent it back using the prepaid and fully-filled-out shipping label they provided.

We'll be intrigued to see how they do on the metadata for some of our more eclectic albums. Their metadata evidently consists of their own proprietary database, which feeds off the commonly used CDDB, but supplements it. Since we sent the CDs in just before going to press, we'll let you know next month how it worked for us. ( )