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29 November 2010

Paying for music? [More:]

So this morning, I got an e-mail from Grooveshark, a service I use occasionally (which seems to be down right now). They're apparently raising the price of their VIP service on Dec. 1st. Right now, it's $3/mo. or $30/year. If you subscribe now, you get that pricing indefinitely.

I'm just a regular member right now, but I d/l'ed their mobile app to my phone last month (and of course have yet to play with it, oops). Normally, I don't pay for music, but since I've been thinking of paying for Pandora anyway (same price), it might be worth it.

I like to listen to streaming stuff at work, mainly. I think the advantage with Grooveshark is you can build your playlists and listen to songs on demand (though since I can't get the site to load, I can't verify they still do that). Where do you stream your music from? Do you subscribe to any of these services? If so, what makes it worthwhile for you?

Bonus question: Where's the best non-iTunes place to buy music these days? Amazon? I just want to download files directly to my hard-drive, no intermediate program, no DRM. I'm getting too old to keep up with the latest napster or pirating methods or what have you.
eMusic sold out and got badly burned for it. I'd say Amazon at this point, sadly.
posted by mykescipark 29 November | 11:59
Yeah, I use amazon because it's simple.
posted by gaspode 29 November | 12:09
I use Amazon now almost exclusively. I once downloaded from mp3 blogs regularly but now I am too lazy to even unzip a file, friends' files excepted.
posted by Ardiril 29 November | 12:20
Amazon! I use the rewards from my CC to buy music.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 29 November | 12:26
Amazon for me as well, unless I can pay and download directly to/from the artist or label.
posted by ufez 29 November | 12:46
As a streaming service--Spotify! I get to be smug about this, since it's not yet available in the US. I hope for your sake that it is soon, because it's the greatest. 5 a month gets rid of the adverts.
posted by altolinguistic 29 November | 12:49
I've only really used iTunes and Amazon, and although I'll still stick with the former because I'm lazy, I'm perfectly happy with Amazon. In fact, I should just go with them more often, because they're super easy and put everything where it needs to go.

My partner/fiance is much more techy and indie-rock than I am, but he seems to enjoy Pandora quite a bit. It works very well on his iPhone in the car. The only annoying thing is that although the ads are brief and widely spaced, it's always the same one. (Toyota Corolla, I'm looking at you.)
posted by Madamina 29 November | 13:36
both mr lfr and I use Amazon for mp3 downloads / paysite and Pandora for streaming music.

we are almost completely unabashed drinkers of the Apple kool-aid (last count 1 iMac, 1 MBP, 1 iPad, 2 iPhones, a plethora of iPods and Apple networking bits) however despite this we rarely-to-never use iTunes for music purchase. The search and recommendation features just... aren't all that great, honestly, and we can't justify the extra cost per track for DRM free, when Amazon has always offered unrestricted mp3s cheaper from the get-go. Maybe if they completely reworked the iTunes store and got rid of DRM altogether we'd change our minds. related: we currently also use Netflix / our PS3 for movies / shows / streaming video. the iTunes / AppleTV combo just "isn't there yet".
posted by lonefrontranger 29 November | 13:49
Another Amazon user for purchases and Pandora user for streaming.

I had a great synchronicity moment this past weekend -- my husband and I were eating at a truly wonderful Irish pub in Cannon Beach, Oregon (The Irish Table, which we located via my UrbanSpoon app on my Droid) The soundtrack was all Irish and nicely done, and at the end my ear was caught by what turned out to be Ubi Caritas as sung by Connie Dover. I say "turned out to be" because the Shazam app on my Droid listened to the song, ID'd it for me, and gave me the ability to download it from Amazon to my phone. And next time I link my phone with my home PC via my DoubleTwist app, the song will join my Itunes collection too.

Very cool. My husband is no smartphone fan, and he was pretty wowed by this as well.
posted by bearwife 29 November | 14:33
If you follow the Amazon MP3 Twitter feed, you get notified about daily specials. I've almost never paid more than $5 an album on Amazon often as little as $2.
posted by octothorpe 29 November | 15:16
Oh neat, and they've got a $3 credit expiring today. I may have to try it out when I get home.
posted by Eideteker 29 November | 16:06
I've been an eMusic member for a long time, sadly paying for it for months without using it (there was no roll-over of credit from month-to-month, but I think that's changed now, maybe?). You have to download a weird program, but the tracks are pretty cheap (now priced per-track, the majority are $0.49, with further album discounts). I like the more off-beat music, and I'm pretty happy there. They even have electronic singles that I'd have to easily pay triple to buy from "dance"-centric sites.

I'm a cheap fellow, and I like the physical aspects to music, and I've found many albums that I really like for less than $5 shipped, in part from waiting for popular albums to be available used, and for the discount bins at used music stores.

New favorite thing: Bandcamp. Lots of (legally) free music, lots of artists offering a range of encoding qualities (for the audiophiles and music geeks) for the same price.
posted by filthy light thief 29 November | 17:53
Seriously eh? i tried to buy a record from amazon (in mp3 form of course) once, and was told by amazon that I had to install software with which to download files. So I'm sitting there, USING A BROWSER, being told that I needed additional software to download files? Fuck that shit.

It really ticked me off, I guess. So, Emit Bloch didn't end up getting the tiny amount of money he would have received, and I've yet to hear that record. BUMMER ALL AROUND.

At this point, I am still buying some vinyl, new and used, and the occasional CD if I really want to put some money in an artist's pocket. The rest, I download. I just can't get into streaming at all. I currently have three vinyl records heading my way - one from Amazon, and the other two from indie labels. It's kinda nice how the internet has helped small bands get known well outside their geographical area.

Sorry for the rant/derail!
posted by richat 29 November | 18:30
Huh, no love for Rhapsody? I've had a Rhapsody subscription for years, which I use entirely for streaming, since I have no particular interest in owning music, but like to be able to experimentally listen to a wide variety of stuff. Pluses are the extremely large catalog, and the ability to listen to subscription tracks and playlists on portable devices. Also there's now a Rhapsody iPhone app, which is still a little glitchy but has been getting better.
posted by kat allison 29 November | 19:55
"Please note that is currently only available to US customers."

Hmm. That explains why I had never thought of getting music from Amazon before. I use iTunes. And as a result of this thread, I was just looking around there and I'm downloading Abbey Road right now. I love that album.
posted by nelvana 29 November | 20:05
i tried to buy a record from amazon (in mp3 form of course) once, and was told by amazon that I had to install software with which to download files. So I'm sitting there, USING A BROWSER, being told that I needed additional software to download files? Fuck that shit.

I get that. I really, really do. I had the same gut reaction when I first tried downloading via amazon. But it's a very light program that only opens when it's needed and, more importantly, it's saved my purchase a couple of times when I've been downloading something via WiFi and gotten booted. I'm not terribly tech-savvy, so I don't know how common that is, but I've been grateful for it a time or two.

It's nothing compared to the complete bloat-ware and DRM fiasco that iTunes is. I hate that I'm forced to use that POS program to manage music on my iTouch (I know, and I knew it before I bought my first nano, but it's still *really* frustrating).
posted by ufez 29 November | 20:39
Credit redeemed! w00t!
posted by Eideteker 29 November | 22:40
Yea, the Amazon downloader is pretty lightweight, certainly compared to that bucket of lard called iTunes.
posted by octothorpe 29 November | 23:32
kat allison, I like Rhapsody too but must admit I don't listen to it as often as Pandora. I really do love the enormous library. I also like the info on artists and suggestions for similar artists. I think of it really as a library rather than a fun and immediate source of music like Pandora or a nonstop marketing experience like the Itunes store. (Hate the Itunes store.)
posted by bearwife 30 November | 13:24
Yeah, it might be light, but so far, I've been able to get my hands on everything I've wanted, without it. Well, except for that Emit Bloch record, so...I've been able to avoid it. Same with iTunes.
posted by richat 30 November | 15:29
Tomorrow night is the deadline || Feuerzangenbowle