In this day and age, with the consumer being treated like dirt, whenever a company launches an offer that is actually good, it's such a revelation. One such revelation (of which there are few), I discovered today, is allofmp3.com. I'm actually in awe of these Russian entrepreneurs. So let me tell you why that is.
- They let you preview a track before buying in low quality (this is actually disappointing, because you have no idea how it really sounds).
- They let YOU pick the encoding you want, among all the most widely used formats. How amazing is that?
- All content is usable (no DRM).
- The price of a track depends on the the sound quality you pick (ie. you pay by quality), but the prices are generally low.
- Their collection is wide enough to carry albums that I actually want.
To give you a concrete example.. The other day I was raving about "Chevaliers de Sangreal" from the Da Vinci Code movie. I search for the album on allofmp3, they have it. The price for this track (at 192kbps mp3) is $0.18. I put it in my basket, I set the encoding to FLAC lossless compression, the calculated charge is $0.71. Meanwhile, Apple's iTunes Store, as far as I know, charges $0.99 per track (I cannot verify this as the store is only available through iTunes, which of course, has no linux support).
Granted, their payment system is a bit of a pain. They make you transfer a minimum of $10 into your account before you can buy anything. And I had to do this through a different site, even had to use my cell phone to retrieve a pin code they sent me. But, if you're a frequent customer, just transfer $100 in one go and you won't have to do this for a long time again.
The one drawback I've seen is that while they keep track of the tracks you've bought (no pun intended), they won't let you re-download them. So once you download, keep it in a safe place (like backup to CD/DVD).
The average album on allofmp3 costs about $2.50, that is 11x, E-L-E-V-E-N T-I-M-E-S, less than the average album in a music store in Norway, at 180kr ~ $27 (perhaps Holland is a bit cheaper, I rarely go to music stores anymore, I wouldn't know). And for that you get tracks at 192kbps (which is fine for most music, soundtracks and classical is more demanding music, I might get that in higher bitrates or FLAC), and you can buy per track. Not to mention that I never use CDs, because mp3s are so much more practical (and even if I did I could burn the CDs myself). Give me one good reason why I should ever buy another CD again.