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Author Topic: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.  (Read 7412 times)

lalittle

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Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« on: August 31, 2005, 05:52:05 am »

What are the "best" sites for buying songs off the internet these days?  I never liked iTunes (which only does AAC -- I'd prefer mp3 or wav) due to it's invasive attitude toward a system.  I really don't know much about the other ones other than having "heard" of a few sites such as MusicNow or Rhapsody.  When I do some searching, I find all sorts of sites like msnMusic, YahooMusic, etc., and frankly, I'm unclear what to "look for" in this sort of thing.  I was hoping I could get other opinions on this so I wouldn't have to waste a lot of time trying these sites and services at random.

I'd like a site that offers a large catalogue, and I'd prefer to not have to use special software to get the files.  Does this exist?  Is there a site that just lets you pay and download normal mp3s or wavs to your system without having to use a proprietary application -- songs that will work on any system without having to "authorize" each system to play the files like you do with Audible?

I thought there was some sort of plugin for MC that offered this, but all I see at this point is the Audio Lunchbox "independent" site -- I need a "mainstream" site that offers a wide ranging catalogue.

Thanks for any information on this,

Larry
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JimH

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2005, 09:47:51 am »

This area is still a moving target, but the trend is toward two mainstream service types:

1.  Apple
2.  Microsoft

Apple's world is closed though MC can use the Quicktime playback engine to play their files and can transfer them to an iPod.  Microsoft's world is a little more open.  Any player that supports Windows Media 10 (not WMP) can play their protected files.  This includes MC.

The primary services that use the latest WM technology are:
1.  Napster
2.  Yahoo
3.  Most other services based on MusicNet or Loudeye technology.  OD2, for example (Europe).

There are more coming, but they will likely use Microsoft DRM.  The trend seems also to be moving toward subscriptions.  For $60 a year, you get access to Yahoo's catalog.  You'll even be able to transfer these songs to handheld devices.  The experience is getting easier and better quickly.

At this time, you will need to use the player that the service provides to download, but you can use MC to import and play the tracks after that.

We're working on some of this in the background.  Keep an eye on MusicNet.

Here's a list of services we compiled:
http://www.plasteeq.com
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KingSparta

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #2 on: August 31, 2005, 11:16:19 am »

Quote
Apple's world is closed though MC can use the Quicktime playback engine to play their files and can transfer them to an iPod.  Microsoft's world is a little more open.  Any player that supports Windows Media 10 (not WMP) can play their protected files.  This includes MC.

So Who Is More Evil

1. B. Gates
2. S. Jobs
3. W. Bush (Just Figured We Can Blame Him For Music Compatibility Problems Too).  ;D

It does sound like they are trying to get there act together
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jgreen

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #3 on: August 31, 2005, 01:35:02 pm »

Larry--
I've had Napster for 6 months or so.  The selection is very very good, although you'll find holes in their catalogue right away.  Generally, newer artists, newer albums are all offered in their entirety.  Older rock albums are spotty or not offered at all. 

Engadget.com has rated the Napster site superior to itunes in terms of navigation and selection.  Napster has a browse function that works very well.

The tracks played perfectly in MC11, better at first than they did in Napster itself.  The issue is the current MSFT DRM, which is a total pain.  I run win2k and I found it to be VERY difficult to deal with.  Latest XP is supposed to be much easier.

Napster catalogue is 128 kbps WMA.  Yahoo is apparently 192 kbps WMA.  There is probably a slight edge in sound quality to the itunes AAC, although I have not done an a/b.

If you sign up for Napster, bring plenty of patience.  The customer service folks are enthusiastic and somewhat knowledgeable, but  the whole field of DRM audio is being invented on the fly, so you will have to bear with.  I got the idea that the troubles I was having with the service were fairly common, particularly  with win2k and various anti-spyware.

Lastly, and this was the clincher for me, you'll find that artists will take some of their songs back without telling you.  All of a sudden songs won't play and you won't know why.  Neil Young has been partiicularly selfish in this respect, so he better not come around trying to borrow money from me, that's for sure.

Haven't tried Yahoo.  I'm most impressed by the state of the art of streaming, which has greatly improved the last few years.  All the DRM hassles, all the catalogue hassles go away, although currently you don't get to pick your tracks.  I wonder what JimH was hinting about?
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modelmaker

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #4 on: August 31, 2005, 05:23:34 pm »

Have you checked your messages lately?
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Charlemagne 8

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2005, 07:29:37 pm »

I still am touting Rhapsody, especially for old music types like myself.

There is an extensive catalogue of Classic Rock, Classic Country, old AND new Bluegrass and great gobs of jazz of all types and ages. Some of their music goes back to 1928. It also has a lot of new stuff and stuff-you've-never-heard-of. I suppose you would call the latter Indie.


As was pointed out about Napster, sometimes things that used to play won't anymore. There is also a disturbing trend toward music to buy and NOT stream. But still overall, it's a great deal at $9.99 / month --- no contract.

CVIII

Plasteeq left out a site. You know who I mean and I'll not mention it. To be honest, I think that they ARE on the shady side of legal (irony intended).
Or is that the sunny side of illegal?

___________________________________________________________________

Just checked Rhapsody for Neil Young. It seems his albums from 1969 to present are still available for streaming but not buying. There are a LOT of them.

However, The Eagles have taken all of theirs OFF the streaming list and are now for sale.
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lalittle

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2005, 02:00:13 am »

Have you checked your messages lately?

I finally caught on what you were saying here -- sorry it took me a little while.  Thanks for the extra information -- I sent you a response.

Larry
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runemail

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2005, 12:43:43 pm »

The ONLY place to buy online music is:

www.bleep.com


The best indie-music from Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes to Boards of Canada an Aphex Twin

No DRM just good clean music!

Support the bands, use bleep.(Support Apple/MS/RIAA, use iTunes/Napster..)



Galley

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2005, 08:19:47 pm »

I buy all my downloaded music from the RealPlayer Music Store.
192Kbps AAC files (can transfer without any loss of quality to the iPod)
The files play natively on my Palm LifeDrive
The Rolling Stone Top Ten is always 49 cents each.
The ability to browse ALL of an artists music, not just what the RPMS offers
I can "browse the aisles" while previewing a track (try that in the iTMS).
RealPlayer 10.5 supports CD-Text burning.
The top 200 albums is only $7.99 each right now.
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lalittle

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2005, 09:39:18 pm »

I buy all my downloaded music from the RealPlayer Music Store.

I appreciate the response, but I just can't get myself to trust a site from the "RealPlayer" people, so this isn't really an option for me.  RealPlayer has always been one of the most invasive and annoying programs I've ever used, and their tech support is terrible.  I've seen RP take over file associations and mess things up in ways that still isn't fixed even after uninstalling RealPlayer.  I have ended up using the "Real Alternative" codecs to play streaming "real" content just so I don't have to install RealPlayer on my system.

Larry
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KStor

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2005, 03:24:26 pm »

The ONLY place to buy online music is:

www.bleep.com


The best indie-music from Franz Ferdinand and The Strokes to Boards of Canada an Aphex Twin

No DRM just good clean music!

Support the bands, use bleep.(Support Apple/MS/RIAA, use iTunes/Napster..)





I'm totaly agree with you. I'm buying all my mp3 with Bleep
Without DRM, with correct bitrate

I LOVE BLEEP !!!!!

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ThatAdamGuy

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2005, 01:42:26 am »

I currently subscribe to Yahoo Music Unlimited and Virgin Digital ("Red Pass").
From an all-round good feeling, though, I love Magnatune.  Free full-try before you buy, honor system purchasing, multiple formats, no DRM, and I believe 50% of what you pay goes to the artist!

Selection?  Very limited.  But good stuff, IMHO, and a rock-solid honorable company, clearly.
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joemccrary

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2005, 09:33:50 pm »

Is there a way, in Media Center, to play songs downloaded in Rhapsody? When I try to play one, I get the License Acquisition  message (song downloaded from Rhapsody. Must be installed and sign-in on this computer). I do have Rhapsody installed, and am signed in.



Right now, I'm using MC10.0.173. Do I need to upgrade to 11?
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scthom

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #13 on: December 29, 2005, 07:34:45 am »

Is there a way, in Media Center, to play songs downloaded in Rhapsody? When I try to play one, I get the License Acquisition message (song downloaded from Rhapsody. Must be installed and sign-in on this computer). I do have Rhapsody installed, and am signed in.

Right now, I'm using MC10.0.173. Do I need to upgrade to 11?

Couple of issues -- Rhapsody subscription type and DRM

With the various subscription types, you may not be allowed to use the files except inside the Rhapsody player.  Also, I can't speak to the DRM capabilities of 11 versus 10.  I thought 10 had DRM capabilities as well as 11.

I can tell you, since it is what I have, that with the full paid subscription and 11, you can definitely play the DRM MP3's from Rhapsody.  Simply opening Rhapsody once in a while (every few days) keeps the DRM current, and downloading tracks to your library is simple.

Also, once the files are on your computer, you do not need to be signed in or have the Rhapsody player running to use the files.
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Charlemagne 8

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Re: Best sites for buying/downloading songs.
« Reply #14 on: December 29, 2005, 07:38:23 pm »

I would like to get back to the original topic.
I have recently rediscovered
"magnatunes"

Here's a blurb from their site:
Quote
We're a record label. But we're not evil. 
 
 
We call it "try before you buy." It's the shareware model applied to music. Listen to 429 complete MP3 albums from musicians we work with (not 30 second snippets).

We let the music sell itself, because we think that's the best way to get you excited by it.

We pick the best submissions from independent musicians so you don't have to.
   If you like what you hear, download an album for as little as $5 (you pick the price), or buy a real CD, or license our music for commercial use. And no copy protection (DRM), ever.

Artists keep half of every purchase. And unlike most record labels, they keep all the rights to their music.

No major label connections.

We are not evil. 

The streams are full albums or tracks (your choice) and play at 128 kbps (hifi). The downloads are in many formats from mp3 to wav (no .ape as yet so I used FLAC). All are the same price.
The catalogue is not huge. All of the artists are independent and use Magnatunes as their sales medium.
It's worth a look and a listen.

CVIII
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