question How do people buy music these days?

Adcadet

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I want to purchase one of the James Brown collections, either the 40th or 50th anniversary album. I thought that purchasing it online would be quicker and easier then just downloading a pirated version. After looking around a little, I'm not sure.

I want to listen to it on my desktop computer, iPhone, and at work via Google Music, Amazon's music thingy, or the like. I'd also like to be able to get very high quality songs, since I occasionally listen with a good pair of head phones. For me this is usually MP3 using lame >=256 kbps or a good quality VBR together with my Sennheiser hd 280 pros. I haven't ripped a CD and encoded in a few years, but I'm pretty sure I could figure it out quick enough. But I was hoping the digital revolution had made that unnecessary.

Buying an actual CD seems to be the best route. I can rip into whatever format I wish, including a high quality and medium quality version, load it on my iPhone, and use either Google Music or Amazon's storage to play them at work. I suspect the Fair Use doctrine still means that I can do all these things. But then again, I also read about how the President could have me locked up indefinitely without habeas corpus or even order a drone strike on me if I was considered a terrorist. And I'm pretty sure RIAA would should I try to use my music in a way they don't like.

iTunes appears easiest since I use the application anyway for my iPhone. Not sure I can play them from work though via the web. Amazon's music store will let me download the MP3 and store it in their online cloud. Same with Google. No idea what they use as encoders.

So, what do you guys do?
 

Handruin

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I still buy the physical CD for my music preferences. In times when I need something sooner, I'll buy from Amazon. I've been able to get free credits towards music downloads over the years and also I've found the MP3 quality to be good enough to be enjoyable. I also like that their cloud service will back it up for free with no limit to the size so long as you bought the music through Amazon. Your other music can still be uploaded, but I think their free capacity is limited to either 2 or 5 GB, I can't remember off the top of my head. I've never bought music from Apple or Google. I don't support Apple's DRM, so I will not give them money for their media. I know this might sound silly since I'm an iPhone owner, but I know they make a fortune from their music sales, but I won't support them. I do know they offer DRM-free music now, but this is because they caved to the pressures of others and charge extra money for the music to be DRM-free which is shenanigans. Amazon's is DRM-free and in MP3 format without the shenanigans.

As for ripping the music to other formats, this has been covered a few times and Stereodude has a good outline for ripping music using EAC to either MP3 or FLAC with the settings outlined clearly. EAC will get you the namings and album artwork, etc and it'll rip bit-accurately to ensure you've got a good digital copy. I made the mistake years ago for only ripping my music to MP3. I'd recommend putting it in FLAC and then converting it as-needed into lossy formats that you need for other devices or cloud services.

Other options you may consider are places like HDTracks for higher bit-rate FLAC files if you want to go that route. It's a nice alternative to buying the physical CD and ripping it yourself. The complication begins with people arguing if you can even notice a difference with the higher resolutions that HDTracks offers. Your soundcard and audio components have to accept the formats to even begin to consider if you'll get any benefit. The underlying part I do like about this type of service is the fact that you can get your music in a lossless format without having to wait for the physical disc. I'd even be happy if there was a service that offered an enormous catalog of FLAC files even at the standard CD format.
 

ddrueding

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I do Amazon and their cloud service if I want to buy, but I have a Pandora Subscription and 90%+ of my listening is there. If I really like something the "buy" link on Pandora sends me to Amazon anyway.
 

Handruin

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I didn't think to add that also. I pay for a Pandora One account because I use their service every day and enjoy having that option. I pay to support their product.
 

Stereodude

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I generally buy used CD and rip them to FLAC. I'm not going to pay money for lossy mp3s. If someone wants to sell bit perfect DRM free FLAC files for less than the cost of a CD I'll consider it. So far, for the most part, that isn't happening.
 

CougTek

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But then again, I also read about how the President could have me locked up indefinitely without habeas corpus or even order a drone strike on me if I was considered a terrorist.
Just trim your little beard, don't tan too much and don't wear a turban and you should stay off the terrorist radar. The RIAA pished me off too often for me to buy music anymore. I buy ticket for live shows when bands I like come by, but I pirate all my music. Screw the lawyers!
 

CougTek

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Anyway, I bought almost all the CDs of the music I like before the Internet file-sharing started. So I already paid them for what I listen to.
 

Handruin

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It is possible to buy music direct from different artists by which you avoid supporting RIAA. It depends on the artist and it's likely the artist is indie...but it's possible.
 

BingBangBop

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I really don't buy much music anymore, but when I have it is on CD. I'm a little old fashioned in that way.
 

Handruin

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I really don't buy much music anymore, but when I have it is on CD. I'm a little old fashioned in that way.
I don't think this is old fashioned. I still think it's a very viable way to listen to music. I use FLAC to remove the CD player as a potential problem in the transport later and rather stream the music to my audio setup.
 

Mercutio

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I purchase discs. I rip them to .flac if I can (SACDs can't be ripped unless I feel like blowing $400 on a Playstation 3 with a particular firmware revision). Every so often I buy a downloadable from Amazon.com, usually because it's a single track or only available in that format. Very little of my music is going to come from RIAA members anyway.

I don't subscribe to Pandora. I did have access to the Naxos streaming service for a couple years. It's expensive though, so I dropped it.
 

timwhit

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I bought an MP3 album on Amazon a few months ago. I then realized that to download it I needed a proprietary application that wouldn't work with any recent version of Linux. I finally found I could install Banshee to download the MP3s. I tried this, but the version that was available in OpenSuse was too old. I was finally able to install a newer version and got the music downloaded. Torrents/Usenet are a hell of a lot more user friendly.
 

Handruin

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I bought an MP3 album on Amazon a few months ago. I then realized that to download it I needed a proprietary application that wouldn't work with any recent version of Linux. I finally found I could install Banshee to download the MP3s. I tried this, but the version that was available in OpenSuse was too old. I was finally able to install a newer version and got the music downloaded. Torrents/Usenet are a hell of a lot more user friendly.
You are able to download the music as basic MP3 files without needing their downloading tool. I'm not sure why you had to go to great lengths, but amazon asks you when you start downloading if you want to use their download tool. If you select "no", they will download the file through the browser just like any other download.

Edit: the catch is, you have to download them one at a time if you don't want to use their tool.

amazon_mp3_download.png

amazon_mp3_download_2.png
 

timwhit

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Has that always been an option? I guess I didn't see it when I tried to do this a few months ago.
 

timwhit

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I think I figured out why I never saw it, if you open the Amazon Cloud Player and select more than one song and click Download, it tells you that you need to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader. If you only select one song it will download normally. I most likely never tried it with only one song at a time. Nice to know.
 

Handruin

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I can't confirm that it was always there, but I do remember seeing that warning in the past. Anyway, I figured I'd let you know about it in case it helps for future considerations for you or anyone else reading this.
 

MaxBurn

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I like to purchase disks also. Last couple NIN albums or works were available in very high quality online too, you have to look around but I do like the direct methods.

But recently I have started buying in iTunes. The files they give you are 256kbps AAC lossless so I don't feel I am missing out in quality. Far as I understand it they opened up the format so anyone can use it, sort of open source? The tools to handle it should be available to turn it into MP3 easily but I haven't checked.
 

Handruin

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I think I figured out why I never saw it, if you open the Amazon Cloud Player and select more than one song and click Download, it tells you that you need to install the Amazon MP3 Downloader. If you only select one song it will download normally. I most likely never tried it with only one song at a time. Nice to know.
This could be the reason. I edited that info into my original post afterward because I noticed the same thing. Their tool works pretty good for windows users and I have no complaint about it, but I understand in your situation why it's not feasible.
 

Mercutio

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There is an open-source .aac codec called FAAD2. .aac itself really isn't widely supported outside of Apple products and Apple more or less doesn't belong in any discussion of openness ever.
 

Handruin

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There is an open-source .aac codec called FAAD2. .aac itself really isn't widely supported outside of Apple products and Apple more or less doesn't belong in any discussion of openness ever.
They make you open your wallet. None the less I agree about the AAC format. I don't see a value of putting my music up in a format I would never use. I'd want to convert it right after buying it anyway.
 

Stereodude

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None the less I agree about the AAC format. I don't see a value of putting my music up in a format I would never use. I'd want to convert it right after buying it anyway.
I have a copy of most of my music library in AAC simply because it is smaller at similar fidelity to MP3 so I can put more music on my iPod in my car. I certainly wouldn't buy music in AAC (or any other compressed format) though.
 

LunarMist

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I occasionally get some CDs from family members for Christmas or birthdays, and once in a while buy CDs in stores. I guess that makes me pretty lame by today's downloading standards.
 

MaxBurn

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Right, they use webkit and develop a little here and there and are compelled by the license agreement to post it so they do. There has been grumbling from watchdog organizations that they don't always post it quickly enough or at all, they have been known to skip versions. Last I am aware of was when iOS 4.3 hit, I don't think they posted webkit for it until 4.3.3, or something like that anyway they skipped a version and there was a little talk of open source license infringement in the news at the time. This was all sort of the same time as the last jailbreakme.com came out which could root your device just by going to a web page so there was also speculation that they knew there was some vulnerabilities in the browser that could be exploited and didn't want to release it for fear that it would help the hackers.

On the other hand the apple lossless codec is something they developed and eventually released to open source.
 

Mercutio

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Speaking of Pandora, I flipped it on for the first time in many months last night. It sounds horrible and over-compressed to me. Like maybe a 64kbps MP3? BAD. Does anyone know what it actually delivers?
 

Handruin

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Spotify requires a Facebook login to use its service and that is unacceptable.
I agree with this. I didn't try Spotify or rDio because of this. I was even going to check out pintrest, but again, they only allow facebook login.
 

Mercutio

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I doubt many people are listening to a lot of orchestral music with Pandora. Audio compression artifacts are ridiculously easy to hear in recordings of brass instruments.
 

Handruin

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I've found through my many hours of listening to Pandora on my headphones that not all recordings seem to be treated equally. I've skipped some songs because the quality was so poor, but then there are times when I find it to be rather good. Pandora fills the gap when I need more variety from my purchased music.
 
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