This all began when I couldn’t find the Christmas tree. I knew it was in the loft but finding which box it was in, under or behind took ages. The rest of the boxes seemed to be the family collection of CDs. So we began to ship box after box from every nook and cranny of the attic. Twelve cardboard or plastic boxes finally made it downstairs and into the garage. At a rough guess I thought a couple of thousand CDs. Many, many trips to the dump or maybe there was an alternative …..
Some years back I tried to use Music Magpie, one of the few websites that has consistently offered to buy used CDs. It wasn’t a great experience. I tried to use a camera built into the screen of one of our laptops to scan the discs barcodes but that was very unsatisfactory. Keying in the multi-digit CD code took ages and the magpie seemed very picky about which discs it would buy. Anyway, time passes so I thought I’d give it another go.
Today the magpie has invested in a phone app and it’s very, very good. Just point your phone at the CD barcode and in a second or two the bird gives its answer. Mostly it was yes, they’d buy it. Sometimes they declined, politely, and in a few scans I found I had a duplicate CD. Overall I can’t fault the app, it makes the sales experience almost bearable.
What hits your heart are the prices offered. Our collection covers a large number of good classical CDs, the usual batch of pop discs and a whole load of rubbish. When my son was a teenager he developed a taste for rap music, my sister in law had a wicked sense of humour and she gave me several tragic CDs for birthday presents. Oh, and while on holiday I bumped into a French guy who was down on his luck so I bought a small box of discs from him.
As you scan the items you get offered a price. I don’t mind admitting that was heart breaking. Those classical CDs, each scored just a few pence. Mainstream pop? Many rejections and similar low prices such as 1p, or 10p. Against the sky high original prices of these things I have to admit it hit both my head and my heart. The junk stuff? The rap? The French CDs? A lot of that was pure gold with prices of £2 pr more. Amazing.
The app has an item limit of 500 so when I hit that I batched them up. You get a running total so you know what you’ll be getting. If the sale value is £50 or more you can print a label and schedule for the magpie’s driver will pop round and collect. That’s pretty good and avoided trips to the dump to skip unwanted music. I opted for that and a few days later the driver arrived, on schedule, and took away 500 discs. A few days later I got a message from Music Magpie saying there was a disconnect between the scanned list and what was in the box. I’m not sure how that happened but I said OK, go ahead and knock the value of these items off the total cost. A few days later the value was sent into my bank account, which was the choice I’d made, the alternative is they send you a cheque.
It takes a while to scan your collection so over the course of the following fortnight I scanned the rest of them, along with a number of DVDs. If you think the secondhand prices of music CDs are rock bottom wait until you scan movies. Most of ours sunk to the dizzy depths of 1p. My little heart soared as the magpie decided a disc was worth 45p, but to be fair a few hit £1 pr more – very few though. However you are getting something for stuff that would otherwise be filling our attic or gracing landfill. Plus, they come to collect which is great. For smaller volumes you can print a label and drop your box into a local collection point. Whichever method you opt for getting your stuff into the magpie’s nest is free.
This morning I took one large box of rejected CDs to the local dump. We now have an empty-ish lofty and my bank balance looks a lot better. Overall this time round I’m much impresses with how things have developed with their service. Would I use it again? Yes, if I’m trying to get rid of certain type of music.
First, it’s best to have a lot of items. If you have a couple of hundred CDs, mainstream pop / classical I don’t think the sum you’ll be offered is huge, it takes time, and if they clock in at the 1p end of the spectrum you’ll have to trek to a collection point with a couple of boxes. music Magpie suggests not putting more than around 150 CDs into a single box. A hunk that big isn’t pleasant to lug to a local newsagent. If you have a lot of DVDs the volume is even greater, the values lower so the get to the collection point is increasingly difficult.
But if you do have a lot of stuff to get rid of (you can mix music and movies) you can save time, effort and make some money. The way the system works you’ll know where you stand so you can take a view on whether the shipment is worth completing, the bird is very forgiving, you can just abandon the shipping cart. The process is as easy as it could be so if you’re thinking about it now is the time to get going, I can’t see music or movie prices increasing, we’re not dealing with fine wines or works of art.
Update – April
Having become the family “Music Magpie guru” I was asked to dispose of another batch of CDs. They were a pretty ordinary selection of mainstream pop / rock / easy listening and light classical discs. The total just about scraped up to 500 with a few CD singles being disallowed so it’s a fairly representative cross section of discs. This time the iPhone scanning part of the process went faster but I had to buy some boxes from Argos to stack them in. There was therefore a small overhead against the money the Magpie was offering. 500 CDs – £197 minus cost of the boxes.