some time back i lamented a dearth in new music (to my collection, not necessarily recently released). as i spend most of my days listening to talk radio or music, it was getting pretty sad on the music front. part of the problem is that cds continued getting disgustingly expensive. and if you think they’re bad in the states, realize that they are almost twice as expensive in england and parts of europe, after you factor in currency conversion.
so shortly after i made that post i decided to give itunes a whirl—and this, mind you, without an ipod and while running winxp. i gave myself a budget of $10 a month to spend on music—since this was at the time the standard price for albums on itunes, it was perfect. an album a month, which would allow me time to really absorb it. and so i began downloading.
now $10 a month for music doesn’t go all that far, as you might realize. and when you factor in that double albums cost me a 1.5 months’ budget, and that itunes has slowly started raising the price of some new albums, well, it was slowing down a bit right when i was getting hooked on never having to buy cds again. that last bit is especially important since this whole living abroad thing requires i keep my possessions slim.
so last september or so i went on over and checked out emusic. the deal was tempting: 50 songs in mp3 format for free the first two weeks, no strings attached. one issue i have with itunes is, obviously, the proprietary (but quickly becoming standard) format. another is i can’t stand itunes as a media player, preferring winamp hands down. well, with the itunes plug-in for winamp (m4p input plugin), this became a negligible issue. without it, i wouldn’t use itunes at all. still, having songs in mp3 format (reasonably encoded) is always better.
so i tried and then signed up for emusic: 10 bucks a month for 40 downloads, or roughly $3.33 per album, after the free trial. the downside has been that emusic caters heavily, almost exclusively, to those interested in indie music, since indie labels happen to be the few who will allow their music to be had in unprotected mp3 format. so if you want the latest hott hitz, well you’re out of luck on emusic. i’m not deep indie, yet a lot of bands i do like or have been interested in trying out were generally available. the upside is that at $3 an album, i’m more open to experimentation than i was on itunes where i’d buy only what i knew i already wanted. on emusic i’ve begun by filling in collections of bands i was missing albums by but am quickly going to be running out and moving towards some new stuff, or at least stuff that i never had bought before. in the meanwhile i’m busy filling out my yo la tengo collection, for instance.
the final problem: 3-4 albums a month is ending up being more music than i can properly digest! i’ll probably just pile music on my plate until i’ve dried up what emusic has that i’m interested in, then i’ll drop my subscription and go back to itunes where, at a slower pace, i’ll be able to more fully enjoy what i’ve been grabbing lately.
9 hours ago