Daily Archives: August 7, 2011

Online music stores finally fit my needs

I’ve been somewhat of a luddite up until now with my music purchases – almost all of them have been CDs – since I’ve not been a fan of buying downloaded music from iTunes, eMusic, etc. My main gripes with downloads were:

  1. Typically downloads have been lowish quality lossy formats. I rip all my music lossless for home listening
  2. Buying music as downloads has often worked out more expensive when buying full albums
  3. DRM was a show stopper – I don’t want to buy something from Apple and then not be able to play it on some other device in the future
  4. Inability to download more than once. CDs are a great physical backup
  5. Not having something tangible, e.g. CD booklets
  6. The selection on sites like eMusic, which have never had DRM for example, haven’t been a great fit for my music tastes

In the last month or so this has started changing though – I’ve recently bought 5 albums from Apple’s iTunes Store and 4 physical CDs in the same time span. What’s changed? Going through the list from above:

  1. All iTunes downloads are now 256kbps AAC. This isn’t lossless, but is close enough that with my current kit I’m not going to be able to tell the difference
  2. Its now a real toss-up as to what’s cheaper – CDs or downloads. Albums on iTunes work out normally at $10. CDs on Amazon range from $6 – $14.
  3. Apple doesn’t use DRM anymore
  4. Apple now offers multiple downloads – buy once and download again whenever you want
  5. The tangibility thing isn’t solved but really I don’t look at my CDs any more once I’ve ripped them and taken a quick browse through the booklet. They’re just gathering dust on my shelves
  6. The selection on the iTunes Store, at least for my tastes, is extensive

I don’t think I’m a total convert, and still expect to keep buying some CDs for a while (I expect I’ll buy one of the Pink Floyd box sets coming out later this year), but my days of being CD-exclusive are over.