To buy or not to buy (mp3s)…

Okay, I admit it.  I pay for my music.  And for a variety of reasons: I work at a university, and so if I want to download during work hours, I wouldn’t want to do so illegally (you must know that in the US, universities are targeted heavily by the RIAA!); I like having the full album with full images and whatnot; I buy a lot of “indie” music and like supporting those artists…the list goes on.

It’s not that I’ve never played with illegal downloading…I could never afford the 50 GB of music I own!  But those were the early days of Napster, before Lars Ulrich went and ruined it for us all.  Nor am I utterly against illegal downloading (in other words, I’m not going to report you!)

For the past few years since I’ve had an iPod (rather, various iPods), I’ve bought my music on iTunes.  Now that I am also a Mac user, I find that everything is just simpler.  I can buy music quickly and easily, flip it over to my iPod, and so on and so forth.  I could even buy it on my iPod Touch (but I won’t, because last time I did that, it disappeared during a software upgrade!  Fortunately, Apple support took care of me).  I take advantage of both the free weekly song and the free weekly iTunes Latino song (what? it’s free!), and often the free TV shows and movies on offer.  I’m what you might call a loyal customer.

Until today, that is.  Now don’t get me wrong, I will continue to buy my music.  Much of what I buy is stuff I find listening to (which is great about hosting little-known artists); in fact, that’s how I discovered Maria Mena, my latest favorite artist.  But oh!  iTunes and Rhapsody only carry one of her albums, because only one of her albums was released in the United States!  For the past few months, I’ve been dying to have a listen to Cause and Effect.  I googled: it’s available on, but for a hefty fee of $24.98 (a Japanese import?  she’s Norwegian!)  And if I wanted to bundle it with two of her other unavailable albums?  Over $70!

And so I did what any person in their right mind would do…I went to The Pirate Bay, where I was able to download three albums (plus three otherwise unreleased songs) within 10 minutes!  And here I am, enjoying all 51 of Maria Mena’s tracks!  Seriously, check her out…she writes all her own stuff and has the voice of an angel.  And thanks, Pirate Bay!

4 replies on “To buy or not to buy (mp3s)…”

Well, I buy CDs & then rip them to FLAC so I can listen to them on my PC & mobile (instead of destroying my CDs by running them constantly). I wouldn’t buy on iTunes, or any other website that doesn’t give DRM free music. If I’m paying for my music then I want to be able to listen to them on a device of my choice & as long as I want.

You might wanna give Amazon MP3 downloads a try, they cost just about same as iTunes (or maybe Amazon is cheaper) & unlike iTunes they give you DRM free MP3s which you can play anywhere on any device & computer (& backup to CDs as many times as you want).

DRM locked music is bad – if tomorrow the service provider (iTunes Store in your case) decides to close shop or switch to DRM free music then all your DRM protected music which you bought will go kaput just like of those poor souls who bought from Wal Mart & then one fine day Wal Mart decided that they no longer want to sell music downloads & shut down their DRM servers rendering all songs they sold unplayable on any other PC other than the one on which they already have (just so long as they didn’t re-install operating system).

Btw, if you are ok with new & unknown artists then you should give Jamendo a try. All music there is free & under a Creative Commons license & I’ve found some really nice albums there which I liked & downloaded. You can listen to music online on Jamendo & if you like then you can download it as well either a single song or whole album & as many as you like! :)

Amit, you are a wealth of information! Jamendo looks great, and although I don’t know that I’ll stop using iTunes fully, I’ll certainly combine the two from now on…thanks!

You are welcome! :) I’m just waiting for Amazon to allow their MP3 downloads outside US or some other such service to come here – sometimes there’s only 1-2 songs in an album that are good & its not worth buying whole album for 2 songs!!

Thanks for this tip, Jillian. The music thing has me spinning. Often I like to add music to my blog but have to jump through hoops to get it on there. Download it from iTunes, burn it to CD, rip it from CD to get an MP3, upload it to Imeem and so on. But half the time, readers or I, can’t get on Imeem. I hope Pirate Bay will make my trip a little shorter to deliver the goods. I’ll check out Maria Mena too!! :)

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