Muruch is one of the oldest music blogs and one of the few offering only 100% legal mp3s. It was originally created as a personal webpage on iWarp.com in June, 1999. After moving Muruch to Homestead.com in July, 2000, I added a page 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 the late 90s. I was introduced to the word by what turned out to be a mediocre book, but by then the name had stuck and it still seemed fitting since I lived in Ireland at the time. 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. I began hosting mp3s on my own server at that time. I gave up the domain 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 music writing to work on poetry (my other love), 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 preference 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 filed by IFPI (an “enforcement agency” for several major record labels and licensing companies). 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.
A sympathetic contact in the music industry informed me that IFPI was targeting all music blogs that posted anything about the artists on their master licensing list–even authorized music released by other, independent labels which IFPI had no legal claim to!
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 generously hosted the site 2009-2017
Like most of the original music blogs, Muruch never fully recovered its popularity (and subsequently its Google page ranking) after the Blogger battle and domain switch.
Many of the online music writers of my era gave up. It already took so much unpaid time and work to write music reviews, obtain permission to upload music, and format everything for posting, only to be censored and threatened with legal action and thousands of dollars worth of fines. And I was lucky, other music blogs were completely deleted during the Blogger Battle.
And that was just one of the obstacles I faced to keep this little blog going. The blog and our host were hacked many times over the years. I started writing more music reviews for the local newspaper, but print journalism has even more problems. A corporate merger all but killed the already dwindling music section. So, as always, I came back to Muruch.
In early 2018, a particularly nasty hack took Song, By Toad and Muruch offline for several months and several years of my archives were deleted. I was forced to move and rebuild Muruch once again, this time to WordPress.com.
Before that, I had been working for two years to incorporate my love of poetry into Muruch. I had planned to relaunch Muruch in April (National Poetry Month) as a music and poetry journal, but the hack made it impossible. I lost all of the poetry posts in the hack, and my enthusiasm for this labor of love.
I’m still here, but I’m focusing more on my own poetry rather than reviews. I keep an updated list of my poetry publications here.