See Things Differently
I’ve just tried Amazon MP3 downloads and as a result, spent more money on digital downloads in an hour than I have in the previous 2 years.
Long ago I swore never to download another DRM track after I found the music I’d bought legally wouldn’t play in any of my remix software, so iTunes was never an option. eMusic has been good but the lack of Major label music can get frustrating, since there are hundreds of great ‘alternative’ and dance acts on Majors. In fact, this ultimately lead me to Amazon because I was looking for Elbows new album, The Seldom Seen Kid. Although previous Elbow albums are on eMusic, the new album is on Polydor. So, when I saw it on Amazon for £3 I thought I’d try it out.
First, you’re told to download the “Amazon Downloader”, which is actually painless and doesn’t require any re-start or closing of browser. Once you’ve logged in to Amazon with your account, the 1-click works like a dream. The Downloader app ensures that everything is downloaded in the background and keeps you informed of progress and conveniently adds everything straight in to iTunes. Best of all, everything is in 256 MP3.
I ended up buying several albums that were missing from my collection. But this is where the pricing became a factor. I still consider the majority of prices on there are too high. So, whilst I accepted £4.87 for Public Enemy’s, ‘Fear Of A Black Planet’, I objected to paying £7.99 for Beastie Boys ‘Ill Communication’. In other words, £5 was just about OK, but £8 isn’t. I think £3 – £5 is the right price range for albums, and individual tracks should be 19p – 49p, with 79p or 99p reserved for special editions, higher quality or DJ mixes.
The overall experience is actually far more preferable to using eMule or BitTorrent which, whilst free, are clunky, slow and offer variable quality. I have always said that the free services were full of flaws that licensed retailers could exploit. However, the convenience offered by legal services is counter balanced by the cost vs effort it takes to get the track for free. Amazon clearly demonstrate that by making it ultra-simple and by dropping the price, the balance can shift towards licensed retailers. However, I’d still like to see prices drop further, discounts for bulk buying, a subscription element and my ideal option, eMusic to sell music from Majors