Music Magpie review

Rupert Jones in today’s Guardian has a note about Music Magpie, a site where you can sell old CDs, games, and now DVDs. The site calls itself an “online CD recycling service.” I like CDs, so I took a look.

The service is a commercial operation and as far as I can tell isn’t any different in principle from any other online secondhand retailer – I guess they all ought to get some green cred by calling themselves recycling services.

So how does Music Magpie compare to others like, say, Amazon or eBay? Let’s look at it first as a buyer. I love the Cowboy Junkies, so I did a search. I can get their great CD The Trinity Session for £3.99. Amazon has this new from £5.98, or used from £3.91. What about postage costs? At Amazon it is currently £1.21. I can’t so far discover what Music Magpie charges, or whether it is included. The terms and conditions say:

9.2. These prices include VAT but exclude delivery costs, which are detailed on the website.

However I can’t find them detailed anywhere. Maybe it is included after all, but you would have thought this would be flagged as a selling point. So it could be more than Amazon, or less, depending on this point; it appears to be in the same ball park. However, Amazon has a vastly greater stock available and nice features like customer reviews.

OK, how about as the seller? If I decide to sell my Cowboy Junkies CD, Music Magpie will currently offer me 98p (the price varies according to the CD, and can be as low as 25p). There’s no postage cost to the seller; the company sends out a freepost envelope.

There are some alarming terms and conditions. If Music Magpie decides one of your CDs needs refurbishment (polishing), it deducts up to 50p. If it decides it is unacceptable, it neither buys nor returns it. There is no appeal.

Now Amazon. If I sell Trinity Session for the current lowest price of £3.91, Amazon will grab £1.82 in fees (including VAT) but contribute £1.21 for postage. That means I get £3.30. If the postage actually costs that much (it could well work out less), I still get £2.09 net, more than double what Music Magpie offers.

Listing an item on Amazon is not much more difficult than selling to Music Magpie – just type in the barcode and go. The big difference is that with Amazon you have to sit back and wait for a buyer. With Music Magpie I get the money instantly. Another difference is that with Music Magpie I can parcel a bunch of CDs once and send them off. With Amazon, you have to deal with each customer individually.

My immediate impression is that Music Magpie scores well on convenience, but if you need the money and have a little patience you would be much better off with Amazon.

Now, here’s an interesting remark on the Music Magpie site:

We originally launched musicmagpie as an easy way for everyone to turn their old CDs into cash so that they did not have to be thrown away if they had decided to go digital. This proved to be a massive success with thousands of people using musicmagpie as a fast and efficient way to turn CDs into money.

Well, CDs are digital; but I’m guessing that Music Magpie is referring to people who have ripped their CDs to a computer for streaming, or for an iPod, or another MP3 player. Here’s a can of worms though. I’ve heard it argued that even ripping your own CDs is illegal, though it seems a reasonable thing to do. Ripping your CDs and then selling them though – intuitively that seems wrong. Arguably, Music Magpie by its own admission is dealing in stolen music.

Still, I do see the other side of this too. You’ve ripped all your CDs, you no longer need them, you are short of space: isn’t it better to move them on?

When people moved from vinyl to CD they had no choice but to purchase again. In the case of CD to music files though, you can migrate without re-buying. That’s a headache for the music industry.

Personally I hang on to them anyway, as a kind of license and physical backup, and just in case I might want to read the sleeve notes again one day.

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170 thoughts on “Music Magpie review”

  1. Must say well said aaron a point well made! and yes your also right this is not a music magpie fan site,If it was i would’t be posting on it thats for sure,that said i called magpie again and once again was told the same old lie that the package was not done correctly when i know foe a fact my wife and i packed it perfectly as we both take pride in what we do so still same opinon magpie done me out of £56 both my family and friends will never go near them again

  2. Have you got a hat made out of tinfoil?

    Am not in the slightest bit interested in you trolling other posters on here, so if it makes you feel warm inside, you carry on, however many pseudonyms you may or may not have.

    It’s a music blog. Not a consumer site. If you are unhappy, why not call them? If you are still unhappy, go to the CAB. Might also help if you read the small print first.

  3. Think we might of hit on a bit of a sore point,And you should really work on your form it’s very bad! This is not a music blog it is a piece written about a very shody company who broke promises to alot of people and also treated them bad,Also if you really think i have the time and effort to make up all these people who have complained about magpie myself you must not only have a hat made of tin foil but a whole suit as well

  4. Hint – clue is the title at the top of the page.

    And yes, you are quite right – my “form” is terrible. Damned accursed grammar, punctuation, spelling, syntax.

    Look forward to hearing about the results of your phone call. Or your trip to the CAB.

  5. craig/blueboy whoever you are thats 3 times now you have had nothing to say on here apart from attacking me i would like this to be noted as it just seems your a sad little person with limted grasp of constucting a sentence and even less of how to use the few big words you manage to cobble togther from your 1st grade books,that said your points will not stop magpie being thought of as a terrible company and not to be trusted (the later is something you both have in common) and i’m sure everyone will see though your pointless efforts to discredit me,now toddle off and get some nice colouring pencils,and to the people who want to keep using this site for the purpose of talking about how magpie have stiched you up then lets get back to it

  6. Update 4…though I must admit to wondering if, given some of the comments about the ‘neil thing’, there is any point…

    I’m not going to try and convince anyone that I am not affiliated with the company in any way. There’s nothing I can say that will persuade anyone of this, and certainly no way of proving it.

    All I will say (for the moment) is that this isn’t the only transaction that I had intended on reporting on.

    I asked a friend to submit some CD’s at the same time as my very public submission. His was a much smaller transaction, and was, obviously, from a very different address (ie, not even the same County)

    The idea being to compare and contrast the experience of a public transaction where I knew Blue Boy was watching, and a private one that had no exposure…

    I’m still going to post the results when both transactions are complete (ie. when we both have a cheque in our hands) even if no one believes them.

    But for now, Update 4 –

    Just had another email saying that my order has been processed and that my cheque will arrive within 7 days.

  7. well sorry neil but i dont think anyone will belive you as no one has ever had a good dealing with them,Also aaron i think your opion of craig is right on the money,and he just proves to what lengh magpie will go to and as i said before no one i know will ever go near them

  8. hello,hello,hello all going a bit sour! i can assure you aaron that at magpie “team meetings” when i worked there we all got told to promote the company and to try and get rid of the ever growing negitive comments on forums like this,along with vast other things we was told.and the fact is meil,craig and a couple of others sound very much like comments we used on other sites to discredit and promote,so keep up the good work you guys who question everything that is told to you,I myself tried magpie out since i left and it was a bad time from begining to end they have not impoved over time!!

  9. Colin – Fair enough. This genuinely isn’t intended as an insult, but I really don’t care wether you believe me or not.

    You don’t know me, and I don’t know you, so why should either of us trust what the other has to say until we’ve looked each other in the eye and shaken hands?

    The only reason I started posting was because I thought it would be an interesting idea to compare the difference between a public & private transaction.

    I’ll complete the exercise for my own satisfaction, but as I say, I don’t care who believes me or not.

    You’ve obviously had a bad experience dealing with Magpie, and so perhaps justifiably, have a jaded view of them.

    But again, perhaps (and I’m not saying this is the case) you sent them a load of shit, and expected to get paid.

    No one can tell. None of us has a reputation on this blog. I can’t say, “I’ve known Colin for years, so if he says that Magpie are a ripoff it must be true”. But equally, you can’t say, “that Neil is a Magpie stooge and nothing he says can be trusted”. It’s the nature of the net.

    For now, I’ll complete my project and will report on both transactions.

    People will believe or they won’t. I don’t mind either way. I’m doing this for no one but myself.

    Anyway, it’s Friday, it’s 8 o’clock, and I could do with a beer. Wether you think I’m a stooge or not, have a good weekend!

  10. Oh, and whilst I recognise that I’m just adding fuel to the fire, I do just have to say that the sentence structure of Adam and Colin is very similar…the use of comma’s instead of full-stops. The lack of capitalization. Check comments 158 and 159 and tell me they’re not written by the same person….

    But, being the wishy-washy Liberal that I am (yes, the election result totally sucked for me) perhaps that’s just the nature of language these days, and that it’s me who’s out of touch….

  11. I would just like to say neil that your writing style and blueboys are very very alike check any of your comments to any of his. i.e new found length of comments and trying to adhere yourself to public feeling and use of other topics to take away from the actaul topic and very visable comments to try and discredit others.But like you maybe i’m over reacting thats just the way things are.But i dont think you should discredit a guy who came on here telling us about a very nasty time he had when trying to use musicmagpie and he did say more then once that him and his wife packed the goods so again discrediting him and saying he sent “aload of shit” is offencisve the facts are they did him out of alot of money like they have done to many others.
    Just before i leave for the weekend blueboy what number would be best to call you on at magpie as i would love the chance as you offered to talk to you man to man

  12. “Attacking you”? Tell you what, enough with the passive-aggressive nonsense, and perhaps people won’t get the arse with you for hijacking the thread for trolling.

    Oh, and when you criticise someone for having a “limted grasp” do try to make sure you at least spell the word correctly.

    And to all of the pseudonomynous other posters – do please tell me in what way I have affiliated myself to Musicmagpie? Just got tired of pointless flaming on a music blog.

    Perhaps it was in one of these mythical team meetings.

  13. Aaron – I agree, my writing style is very similar to that of Blue Boy’s. Both of us use “correct” syntax and grammar. We both form “correct” sentences, use paragraphs, punctuation, know the difference between “your” and “you’re”, etc.

    To be honest, I think this is a function of our ages. Blue Boy has said that he is in a senior position, and has 3 childen. I would guess that he is in his late-thirties, early forties (as am I). We were bought up to use “standard” English.

    I realise that there is a whole sub-argument about the evolution of language – Shakespeare to Chaucer to Emmerson to Gibson to Txt Speak, etc. I really am guessing here, but I think that we’ve just been bought up in a similar mold. I’m not saying that one posting style is better than the other, just that I come from an age where spelling, punctuation and grammar were deemed important (and yes, I’m well aware that someone may pick me up on mistakes I’ve made in this post 😛

    I realised when I wrote my last comment that it could be seen as me trying to discredit others, but I just told it as I saw it – the posting styles were *so* similar (at least to my eyes) that it warranted mention. It’s quite possible that I’ve got it wrong, and that it’s just a function of how different age-groups use language, but it looked too similar to me.

    But I think you missed my point – I wasn’t *accusing* him of posting “a load of shit”, and certainly wasn’t trying to discredit his story. I was saying that just as there was no way of me proving that I wasn’t a stooge, there was no way of him proving the quality of the goods he sent. It’s completely unknown and unprovable.

    I’m honestly trying to present an impartial view…..but it’s obvious that nothing I say is going to convince anyone of that….so I give up.

    FWIW, my friend’s transaction was going smoothly, even if nowhere as quick as mine.

    My honest opinion is that I’m sure that my public transaction was being monitored and pushed through more quickly than most because Blue Boy was making sure that happened. Fair enough – if it was my business, I’d do the same. If I’m wrong on this, and I was affored no special treatment, I apologise to Blue Boy.

    I’m not affiliated with the company, I haven’t received any money yet, and neither has my mate.

    I had hoped to report to you the differences between a public and private transaction. But I frankly can’t be arsed anymore.

    Like Biue Boy (and I’m sure people will be all over this) I can see that this is a pointless exercise. So (assuming my cheque actually arrives) my honest view is:

    Am I happy with the service I have received so far? Yes, couldn’t fault it.

    Am I happy with the money I have been offered? Well, yes and no. I’m an early-adopter, and jumped on the CD bandwagon early, paying between £10 and £15 per CD. At a guess, I would say that over the years I paid an average of £8 per CD.

    For the 275 CD’s I have traded, this amounts to £2,200 spent. And I am getting just £152.

    Viewed in this light, it’s a shitty deal. But, that’s what I paid for them, not what they are worth now.

    Those same CD’s have been stuck in storage for the last 2 years, so to me, are effectively worth nothing. If someone had said to me “hey, I’ll swap you those CD’s for an e-reader (what I am going to spend the money on) I would have been very pleased.

    The music gave me a lot of pleasure over the last 20 years. The e-reader will give me a lot more.

    Whilst I may have been able to get more money by listing them on Amazon (who’d have thought that a Mel & Kim CD was worth £3?!?) I would have had to spend more on postage, and also had 275 trips to the Post Office!

    Instead I just had to box them up and ship them out in one job-lot. My time is worth a lot more to me than what those 275 Post Office trips would have taken up.

    I’m not going to post anymore. I tried to present an honest view of my experience with the company, and was going to include details of a a non-public transaction too. But I can’t see the point anymore.

    Sorry Blue Boy, I assume my cheque is still in the post?… (for the CD’s you tin-foil hat wearing numptys ;-P)

  14. is there a reason why neil and craig are aloud to attack me and not have there posts removed?

  15. Posts will be removed if they do not contribute to the discussion. I may have to close the thread completely; I am happy for people to post their experiences positive or negative, but no flame wars please.


  16. Tim, please close this thread. Aaron, BlueBoy et al are giving me a headache. A colleague of mine has just sent off some 30 or 40 CDs and DVDs to MM. I’m sure she will get the agreed price for the items.

    It’s just that. An agreement between a buyer and a seller. If the buyer gets what they want and the seller gets what they want, then everyone should be happy. Of course there will be problems. I have had 3 problems with electrical goods bought from High Street stores on the last 6 months. 2 were resolved to our mutual satisfaction but one is still the subject of dispute. It was ever thus.

    Let’s get back to MM. If both parties agree, then it’s not a rip-off. If the seller doesn’t like the price offerred, they are free to check out other outlets. My colleague just wants to free herself of clutter in her home as quickly as possible. Probably a quicker way to do it would be to hand it over to Oxfam or other charity.

    As for all the ‘I went to Uni’ drivel in this thread, I’m so pleased that I didn’t if this is the poor standard of grammar, punctuation, spelling is exemplary of today’s output from such places. I went out into the real world with my 6 GCE ‘O’ levels, got a job, defended my country, raised a family, have grand-children and looking forward to retirement.

    The time spent by each of the major antogonists in monitoring this thread, thinking up supposedly witty/sarcastic/sardonic respostes, and probably typing it up through a beer haze could have been much better spent either on their current studies (probably media studies), or doing something productive to make the world (and not just the world according to Aaron or Blueboy) a much better place to live 🙂

    Get a life!!

  17. I was putting in some of my cds and games and realised I was getting extremely low prices to i thought i would put in a game that you could get about £25 in “Game.” It was Modern Warfare 2, it was going to give me £10! This is an absolute rip off! Dont use this site, not for games anyway, im not sure about cds.

  18. Music magpie is an absolute rip off i put in about 30 games cds and dvds ansd they offered me less than 9 pounds ok maybe they were only Ps2 games but some of them you can still buy for around 20 pounds i was only being offered 30 pence for. i wont be selling on this website might try my luck with Amazon or ebay.

  19. I’ve had to clean up the comments yet again so I’m now closing it to new comments. I believe everyone has had their say.


Comments are closed.