Bryan Caplan  

Riptopia is Time is Money

My Favorite Fifteen Minutes in... Efficiency or Rent-Seeking?...

Heard of Riptopia? It's a CD-to-mp3 conversion service - just what every iPod junkie needs.

Good news: I've tried it, and it works. Here's how:

You buy it on Amazon, and they send you some CD spindles. You fill the spindles with CDs and leave the box with pre-paid postage at your nearest UPS drop-off. Two weeks later, you get a box back with your original CDs, plus a couple DVDs stuffed with mp3 files. The cost is $20 + $.99/CD. If your time's worth more than $10/hour, it's a good deal.

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COMMENTS (12 to date)
Jonathan writes:


I've been reading your blog since reading "Myth.." I just wish I knew about this service about 2 years ago when I took a weekend and ripped all of my cds.

Oh well.


Sohaib writes:

Man this makes me feel like a baby. I have around 4,000 mp3's and have purchased 3 Cd's in my entire life. God bless the internet.

Dan Weber writes:

I could've sworn that the case ruled against this kind of service.

The scenarios aren't 100% parallel, and the details of exactly how they rip the music are important. If they already have 90% of the albums encoded and just copy them when they visually see you have the disc, that's real trouble for them, and will be easy to test. Even if not, the right to copy CDs for personal use isn't necessarily transferable to third parties.

It sounds like a convenient service, especially if they encode to a lossless format. But I wouldn't want to have a hundred of my CDs in the mail to them when the lawsuit hits.

Phil writes:

A dollar a CD is a good deal? If your time is worth ten dollars an hour, it's worth it if the work involved in the CD rip takes less than 6 minutes of your time. It takes me less than 1 minute to get it going. The rip itself takes a few minutes, but it runs in a window in the background, and doesn't require my attention once it starts.

Josh writes:

This service sounds about as useful as a DVD rewinder.

Patrick writes:

Yeah, for five bucks, I'll set up your computer (with iTunes) to, upon insertion of an audio CD, rip to high quality MP3s, AACs, or anything else your little heart desires. For ten, I'll show you how to take the ripped disk out and put the next one in with minimal interruption to your work flow.

aaron writes:

Ewww... Why in the world would you do that to your music? Storage space is cheap and small. I keep everything in apple lossless.

What is the bitrate on the MP3? If it's less than 320kpbs, you're losing sound quality.

shawn writes:'re slightly underinformed.

LAME encoded mp3's are transparent. You're wasting space (which, i agree, is cheap...but ipods/pmp-of-choice aren't infinitely expandable, while my home storage is).

a LAME encoded mp3, averaging less than 190 kbps, will be audibly indistinguishable from your 320kbps mp3's, and at less than 60% of the size. That's 168% of the storage on my ipod as compared to yours. :)

David Tufte writes:

One year too late for me - I digitized 700 CDs by hand last year.

Here's a hint for academics: do the ripping in your office while you're in class or a meeting. It's easy to plan for, and when you get back you have new MP3s to listen to.

TGGP writes:

I use AnalogWhole and mp3directcut

John Fast writes:

I thought it was Einstein who first proved that Time was equal to Money.

shawn writes:

...for windows, the best setup for quality is EAC+lame. for mac, max is almost as good. eac/lame is the only thing I miss on windows...well, and autocad, but I don't really *miss* that....and since i'll be at gmu next year learning econ, running autocad won't be much of a priority. man, I'm excited.... (awesome config tutorial). as TGGP said, once you get the workflow set up, you pop in a cd, press a button, and the mp3's are ready after class.

incidentally...handbrake is the similar option for movies.

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