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Buying music online

Discussion in 'Off Topic [DB]' started by Chris Fitzgerald, Mar 31, 2006.

  1. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    We just got our broadband connection a few weeks ago, and as I've been super busy, I haven't had a chance to try buying any music online yet, so I have some questions.

    1) I'm mostly interested in jazz, so I'm hoping to discover which sites/services have the greatest selection. So far, I've only been to iTunes, which seems okay, but haven't spent much time with it.

    2) I'm a Mac dude, so if something is inherently Mac unfriendly, that would be good to know.

    3) When you buy an album, do you get e-copies of the packaging? On some of this stuff, I can't even tell who's playing on the record beyond the headliner.

    4) For those of you who do this often, how much do you miss not having the actual physical product? It seems like it would be weird, but then I'm new to all of this.
  2. VTDB


    Oct 19, 2004
    I would recommend eMusic.com. It is a subscription service ($20.00 a month for like 90 songs) it is compatible with iTunes/Mac, very decent selection. I mostly use it to get stuff that I may not normally buy because I do miss not having the record sleeve/CD booklet to go along with it.
  3. mje


    Aug 1, 2002
    Southeast Michigan
    MP3s, and Apple's format both have info encoded into each track- artist, album, title, and other data. But not the liner notes. SOmetimes you can download that data on line with certain MP3 clients.


    Buying from iTunes means that (1) you're forever locked into the Apple non-standard digital format, no matter what improvements come out later in other players, and no matter if Apple decides to drop the iPod or radically change the format. It's happened before with other Apple products. And there are very strict copy limits on iTunes. They're lisenced to one machine, and one player, unless you hack the files.

    Buying MP3s instead of ripping them from your own CDs means you have lost a lot of the fidelity. Compressing a track 10:1 (whihc is what even the highest sampling rate encoding does) loses a lot.

    I like my iPod (and my iRiver), and iTunes. But I prefer to buy CDs and make my own MP3s. That way I still a backup copy that's far better than the electronic version, and it can be cheaper, too, in some instances. I have copies on my computer at work, and at home, of CDs I own. I can recharge my players from either one.
  4. Chris Fitzgerald

    Chris Fitzgerald Student of Life Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 19, 2000
    Louisville, KY
    That part doesn't bother me so much as long as I can still rip a CD for my car of what I've downloaded. I've got a standalone copier at home and at work. Also, IF an iTunes download sounds the same as an AAC import from a commercial CD, I can live with that. I'm what I would call an "almost audiophile" (more on this below), and AAC is usually okay. I import my absolute favorites with no compression, but most stuff I go ahead and convert just for the sake of file size.

    This is what worries me about MP3's. Some of them are good, and some of them absolutely blow chunks. The proof is in the cymbals and the reverb tails. When I listen to, say, "Now He Sings" on AAC, Roy's cymbals still sound like Roy. Rarely have I heard them still sound the same on an MP3, but I think I was listening to a 128 sample. What, in your experience, is the MP3 fidelity equivalent to AAC? As far as reverb tails, I always test with Allison Kraus on "Ghost In This House"...I can hear a slight difference in the tail in AAC, but it's not enough to really bother me. On a 128 MP3, that same tail drives me absolutely bug****.

    I feel much the same most of the time, but I'd like to experiment a bit just to check out the difference. Here's another question for the 'net leterate out there: what's the best service for browsing that has a great jazz catalog? iTunes' catalog is so spotty that I'm afraid I'd be missing out on a lot of really great stuff that I might have discovered on a more complete listing. I might still buy the actual CD instead of downloading it, but I'd like a better selection to browse either way.

    About eMusic: I don't like that you have to give your CC # just to try the "free trial", although I understand why they do that. I'd like to browse the catalog and listen to some short samples before going that route. Is that possible? I couldn't figure out how to browse without signing up.
  5. VTDB


    Oct 19, 2004
    I don't remember having to give my CC info when I signed up but maybe you're right. You should be able to browse the selection though. They do give 30 sec. samples of songs though.
  6. jazzbassnerd


    Aug 26, 2002
    I have never used it, but my friends swear by www.allofmp3.com.

    You can choose format and bit-rate and you pay by file size. They have a good selection. But I haven't done any big search tests.

    I think it would be worth a look.

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