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Buying music online - recommendations?

Okay, I know about iTunes and MusicNow - anyone using a "buy songs online" service that can share comments? I'm looking for usability and selection (big surprise, eh?)


Saturday, April 3, 2004

I've been really happy with iTunes, though I haven't tried any of the other new systems. Of course iTunes always has what I want and is so easy to find things/buy them that I haven't needed to look at anything else.


Saturday, April 3, 2004

I'm surprised to hear you say iTunes always has what you want ... I think I find around 2/3 of what I want there. It does appear, however, that their library is growing pretty fast. That's the only one I use and I like it, for the most part.

I do NOT like the rule about only burning tracks a certain number of times (or is it, only burning playlists a certain number of times)? But I figure I'll burn them all once, and if I want to make another copy, I can always rip that CD to MP3s later.

Saturday, April 3, 2004

Don't buy music online, it is the one of the most painful things ever. I would suggest subscribing to Rhapsody, and burning which ever songs you want for $0.79.

Usability is good, selction is *average.

You can use in on 3 computers, burn it about 10 times (I think). You can't re-download songs if you happen to delete them. Most expensive at $0.99 a song. AAC only.

Usability is good, selection is *better. $0.88 a song. Windows DRM. Can download the songs how many ever times you want.

Slightly more clicks to download a song. Can use it only on one computer and burn it about 10 times.

quite a few songs start at $.05 (yup 5cents!), average price is around $0.35-0.65. Quite a few songs can be burnt unlimited no of times. *good collection.

You need around 15 clicks to download one song. LiquidAudio uses some kind of windows DRM, that sucks. If you need to re-download songs, you need to send them an email, and they give you the links again.

Overall, I find buying music online to be really pain in the ass, sticking to CD's from


Prakash S
Saturday, April 3, 2004

I put the * to mean that selection depends on the kind/genre of music you listen to......

Prakash S
Saturday, April 3, 2004

I decided to try out iTunes, since there's no subscription requirement. I bought four songs I've been itching to listen to and I'm happy now.

Net cost: $3.96.

Cheaper than just one CD.

Now at some time I'll probably end up buying the CD's, but for the occasional "I've got this song in my head" this works. :-)


Saturday, April 3, 2004

I'm into a lot of indie rock music, so I really dig EMusic -- 40 downloads a month for $10, with bigger plans if needed.  I've also looked at buying some from which sells unrestricted MP3 and Ogg Vorbis format tracks and albums.

Ben Combee
Saturday, April 3, 2004

If you're into Techno and Dance music Warp's Bleep is pretty cool. They sell totally unrestricted mp3s: *and* they have a policy of not treating their customers as criminals:

"Bleep music has no DRM or copy protection built in. We believe that most people like to be treated as customers and not potential criminals - DRM is easily circumvented and just puts obstacles in the way of enjoying music. Apple has even privately stated that they decided to use a weak form of DRM solely to get major labels onboard."

Matthew Lock
Sunday, April 4, 2004

If you are infront of or near a computer most of the day, which I assume you are, then you should check out  It's what Joel recommends and so do I.  You'll spend much much less money and listen to far far more music than any of the other services.

Gregg Tavares
Sunday, April 4, 2004

iTunes for what I can buy.

Kazaa for everything else*.


*I'd BUY "Dance Dance Revolution," but no one I know of sells them.

Andrew Burton
Sunday, April 4, 2004

With the Listen/Rhapsody service, is there a way to transfer music to an MP3/WMA player?  (Short of burning the songs to a CD and then ripping them to a media format?)

I love the idea of an all-you-can-listen, flat-fee subscription service, but also want the portability that comes with using a media player.

Robert Jacobson
Sunday, April 4, 2004

Magnatune ( ) is another no-DRM service. They only sell by the whole album, but the prices are low (in fact, they let you decide how much to pay, with a minimum of I think $5). They have streaming audio feeds of all their stuff to listen to (to see if you like it), and some of their artists are pretty good.

You can re-download your stuff anytime you want, and they make everything available in mp3 (128k and VBR), FLAC, OGG, and WAV.

Overall, I've been pleased. The only downside of course is that their selection of artists is pretty limited and you've probably never heard of any of them. For me, that's part of the appeal, but YMMV.

Michael Kohne
Monday, April 5, 2004

One thing that always worried me about the DRMed services is the long term viability of the files you download. I mean, I've got CDs more than 15 years old, tapes older than that and vinyl older than I am. And I can still pull out an ancient vinyl album and play it without too much trouble (turntables still being readily available at most electronics stores).

But lets say that I back up the data file for the song that I just bought onto a CD. Then, I loose the CD and *ten* years from now I find it in a box in the back of the closet. I think that it's a safe bet that I'll be able to find a CD player to read the data, but I'm really not sure if I'll be able to find the software that will be able to unlock the DRM.

Will, for example, Apple have the software available on their web site? For the operating systems in use ten years from now? (and several other problematic questions)

Now sure, I can burn the music to an audio CD and then re-rip it into a DRM-less format; if I'm willing to accept a loss in audio quality. Or I could crack the DRM; if I'm willing to possibly break the law (depending on jurisdiction and legal interpretation).

I think that there is going to be a lot of complaining by earlier adopters of these online music services when they realize that they have to put a lot more effort into insuring that they can still access what they purchased than they had to with the various physical distribution mediums. Perhaps not from the technically savvy readers of this forum, but by the general public.

Bill Tomlinson
Monday, April 5, 2004

We're sorry, iTunes is not available to Canada ! Kiss my A$$

Steve Smith
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

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