So, it’s been a while since I’ve found something nearly so cool as iTunes. I used eMusic for a while, and was pretty satisfied with it. The caveat with eMusic being that you’ve got to like obscure stuff. Me, that was no problem – I picked up a ton of jazz and blues there, as well as bands I’d heard on the Oxford American Samplers* – My Morning Jacket and Alejandro Escovido spring to mind.
What got me off of eMusic was having to do my 30 or 40 downloads within any given 30 day period. Yeah, cry me a river, but seriously – it was hard. If they’d given like a 5 day warning – say, an email that said “You have 20 downloads set to expire next week”, I’d probably still be with them.
So, I’m pretty psyched to see Amazon’s new MP3 downloads. Here’s the pluses:
1. Pretty decent selection based on a couple of searches I’ve done. If you’re looking to download HUGE name bands, you might be out of luck, but they had Wilco, the Beastie Boys, Hendrix, great jazz selection (‘Trane, Monk, etc), and I finally picked up Dread Zeppelin’s classic Un-LED-ed.
2. Nifty software app to bring your downloads directly into iTunes. I installed it for OSX, and it works as advertised. Plus, you get a free song! when you install it. Dunno if “Energy” by the Apples in Stereo is going to last, but it’s a neat demo.
3. The site is fast if you’re on broadband. Samples of songs start almost immediately, and the web pages go quick. My subjective opinion is that it’s faster than the iTunes Music Store, but I’ve got nothing but gut to go on.
and lastly – 4. The songs are high quality (256 MBps) MP3 – meaning they’ll play on anything (assuming you’ve hacked your Ubuntu install to include the restricted stuff). WHile I’m thrilled with Apple at the moment, I’m all about portability. I unpacked a decade’s worth of .pst files once when I switched platforms, and I’m not going to go through that again. For the record, I am one of those communists who has been burning my iTunes buys to CD and re-importing them as MP3 (until I found DRM Dumpster which automates the process with a CD-RW).
So, I’ll give the site a thumbs up if you absolutely have to have a song right here, right now (not available, by the way). If not, I’m still a hearty endorser of CD’s – get the track and a high-quality backup all in one fell swoop.
* I haven’t been waiting by my mailbox so eagerly for anything other than the OA 2007 music issue since I was in High School and my girlfriend went away to summer camp for a month and promised to write. Well, at least until I hooked up with that other girl, and then felt guilty when the letters started rolling in. But it’s not like that with the OA, honest, I promise!