Monday, May 04, 2009

Beating the digital music stores

Although I'm a fan of technology, for some reason I've never embraced purchasing digital music downloads. There's something I love about having the CD that is exciting to me. But since nearly everyone I know has started buying music on-line (especially from the iTMS), I've started having a contest with myself: can I beat the iTMS pricing?

If we assume that each song is worth $1 and each full album is worth $10, an album with 2 hit singles on it needs to be $2 or less, or if I buy an album for $10, I should love every song on it. This makes buying new CDs very exciting. Some people like to bargain hunt for shoes, I do it for music.

I've found there are some very good benefits to buying music the way I do.
  1. I'm not spending more money than my friends would on the same music.
  2. I don't buy willy-nilly because most CDs are too expensive under my rules.
  3. There's the chance I'll like more songs than I expected on an album, making my purchase a virtual profit.
  4. Despite the progress made on iTMS, CDs still give you lossless tracks, full album art, and credits.
  5. When my mp3 player runs out of batteries, I can pop in a CD and still enjoy my music.
  6. If a friend wants to borrow an album, I can grab the CD and lend it to them without having to turn on my computer, or transfer files, or anything.
  7. If my digtial copy gets corrupted, I've got a lossless backup.
  8. I never have to worry if my files are in the right format for a certain player, or in any other format at all.
Although I know the RIAA would frown heavily on my purchasing used CDs and then ripping them to mp3s, I'd like them to know I do break my rules sometimes and buy new, full-priced albums. I'm willing to spend full price on a new CD at a concert. Great musicians should be rewarded for their hard work, and I feel that buying a ticket to their show and buying merchandice when you're there is the best thing you can do for them. Even if you go to their show and download the songs on your iPhone as they are played at the concert, at the end of the night, you're still paying a third party for their music, and you still can't have the band sign the cover.

A note: I'm sorry for singling out Apple, but they are currently the dominant venue for digital music downloads and music players. The same thoughts and rules apply to all digital music stores.

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