Our World. Our Minutae.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Alternative iPod Music Stores: 25 and Counting ... ALL LEGAL!

Apparently after all this time, many people are under the impression that the iPod is "locked" and that the only place to legally load music onto the iPod is through the iTunes Music Store.

Well, here's 25 places to buy or legally load music onto your ipod. And no, I'm not counting that Russia site as "legal," unless you happen to live in Russia.

First - Yes, the iTunes Music store is hard to beat. If you have everything set up, you can BUY, DOWNLOAD, & SYNC DOWNLOAD to your iPod with ONE CLICK. Other than all the air you can breath - what else could be so easy? That's right. Of the easiest human endeavors, breathing still wins but the ipod music store is now second ahead of scratching (requires repeated strokes) and tied with waiting for pie to fall into your mouth.

What are your other choices?


2) BUYING a CD. You do have to go to a store or wait for a delivery but a CD is a good choice. You need to get out some bolt cutters or a diamond drill to remove the plastic wrap and sticker. Then place the CD into your computer, iTunes will launch and look up the CD info. Listen to preview or simply drag any/all the tracks you want to rip/convert to your LIBRARY or to your iPod playlist. You can set your iTunes to convert it to any of 7 audio formats - that's SEVEN choices.

3) You can drag in any tracks you already have in your computer into iTunes. If you have OGG tarcks, you will need to download a plug-in but if you know how to download an OGG track, you can figure how to install the plug-in. If you have old tracks, you ripped into WMA, simply drag them into itunes and convert. (we'll get to the WMA stores later).


If you want DRM free mp3’s legally, here are some choices … Hard to load into iPod? Drag from DOWNLOAD FOLDER to iTunes LIBRARY … can you spare the extra second it takes to drag a file?


4) Emusic.com – Over 1-million MP3 files – first 25 free, then $9.99 and up per month depending on how many tracks you want. NEW to emusic are CD’s from Gomez, Diane Krall, The White Stripes & Johnny Cash …

5) Smithsonian Global Sounds – Hundreds of artists, you can choose the format of your music download purchases including mp3’s.

6) Audio Lunchbox – not as well funded or as well known as eMusic.com but another place to buy DRM free mp3’s from indie & alternative artists.

7) Beatport sells dance music of every kind in mp3, mp4 and WAV formats – again, all DRM free.

8) Mp3Tunes also represents thousands of indie & alternative artists and sells every track in mp3 format.

9) MagnaTune is pretty unique – the artists gets exactly half of what you’re willing to pay … check it out.

10) DanceTracks Digital also sells dance music of every variety – all LEGAL and all in mp3 formats.

11) eClassical – the nicer of the two main legal classical music sites. All tracks available as mp3’s.

12) Classical Archives – sells well, classical music – nearly 40,000 tracks – in MIDI or Mp3 file formats.

13) Wippit.com – a UK company (don’t worry, they accept the USD :-) – not every track is available as an Mp3 but many are.

14) Epitonic – the website confuses me but in addition to free mp3 downloads, you should be able to buy hundreds of indie artist CD’s as an mp3 download.

15) Easy-Listen.com – Nice bossa novas, easy listening and chill out tracks.

16) intromusic.co – UK based mp3 tracks.

But of course, anyone can buy tracks - how about exploring free and LEGAL Mp3's?

17) Fluxblog.org – A blog with reviews of the best FREE mp3’s on the internet – all okayed and posted by artists THEMSELVES. Excellent writing and fun tracks.

18) The Live Music Archive – Over 35,000 concerts & performances by nearly 2,000 artists and bands. FREE in a variety of audio formats including mp3’s.

19) Common Tunes offers free and available to buy mp3 from bands directly.

20) MySpace.com is of course, sprawling – and not really organized but I’e heard there are over 1-million tracks available for download. Some formats vary but the #1 available format are mp3’s.

21) GarageBand (the one Apple licensed their app from) has pages for thousands of bands – you can download mp3 tracks to listen or buy CD’s.

22) Jamendo offers 715 hours of free music in mp3 format.

23) Matador Records – of course, virually every smaller record label (um, that sells CD’s) offer a handful of Mp3’s to download but Matador has some great artists so it’s a good place to start.

24) Amazon – yea, that Amazon. They don’t offer as many Mp3’s as they used to – a lot are streaming or Liquid Audio only (yes, they appear to be the only place on this Earth actively offering Liquid Audio tracks) but there are still a lot of them.

25) Or AOL, yes, that AOL …

Yes, we promised 25 legal stores, right? Well, there are at least 10 stores that sell WMA tracks. Put them on a CD, drag them back into the iPod. The iPod is the ONLY portable digital audio player that offers you THREE LOSSLESS formats – AIFF/CD-audio, WAV or Apple Lossless so if you prefer, there’s no loss of fidelity … but honestly, when you rip at 320 VBR, it will sound fine coming from headphones while you are pounding the pavement.

So, there, when someone says the iPod is “locked” to iTunes, it’s clear they don’t know the internet or even that CD’s can be purchased at retail or online. And thanks to Apple, all online digital music can be legally converted to CD-audio and “unlocked” forever (WMA stores did not offer blanket WMA to CD conversion until Apple signed their deal).

You have at least 15 iTunes competitors that sell DRM free tracks.

You have at least 10 WMA stores that sells tracks you can convert.

You have at least 10 massive sites that offer legal & free Mp3 tracks.

You have hundreds of record labels (large & small) that offer free Mp3 tracks.

You have dozens of smaller sites that offer free & legal Mp3’s … I think some people are confused by the phrase “LOCKED,”


Anonymous Anonymous said...

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Thanks for the note on jamendo.


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