Lossless music stores

magnatuneA while ago, I blogged about why I don’t buy music downloads. Infact, I still buy Compact Disks. So, I decided that, instead of just moaning about how I can’t seem to get lossless download, I would do a bit of investigation, and find out if the market has changed at all, and if so, what the best place to get lossless downloads is.


Magnatune.com – gold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star

Magnatune is a classic place in the geeky world. It is a music label in its own right, and anyone can get their music onto here. Magnatune gives half of the money given to the artist, which means they get the other half. Magnatune is different to lots of other music stores in that they allow you to choose what you give. Normally between £2 and £10 for a full album. They kindly put “(recommended)” beside “£4″ for you, so you know what is a decent amount. The thing with Magnatune is that you won’t get any of the really popular contemporary artists, as it is a label, rather than just a store. However, with most of the albums, you can get MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC and AAC codecs and even get them sent to you on a CD, which is fantastic.

The music store is really easy to navigate. You can either search, or you can browse through the genres. When you find something that looks good, you can play the song to hear if you like it or not, and then you can even check the licensing agreement to see what you can and can’t do with the songs. If you are happy with it, just click buy, choose whether you want to download or get a CD, choose how much, and then choose the codec.

I will give Magnatune 4 stars. It is a fantastic example of a music store, but because it is a label as well, means you can’t get the music you currently enjoy listening to, and for this reason, it won’t get 5 stars.

Musicgiants.comgold-stargold-star

This is an interesting site. I first of all took 1 star off it straight away, as I was greeted with the horrible words “This website currently only supports Internet Explorer.” But, I was not put off. I quickly installed the user agent switcher for firefox to see if it was any good.

The Website is not too bad. It is reasonably well laid out, but the problem is, it hardly useable on firefox or chromium. It clearly is only geared towards Internet Explorer, and this is rubbish. It basically just doesn’t work in anything other than IE.

Apart from that, from what I can see, the selection of music on it looks really good, but, as far as I can tell, it sells the music in DRMd WMA files…so it only gets 2 stars.

7Digital.com -gold-stargold-stargold-star

7digital-GBI’m sure most of you will have heard of 7Digital. It is well known for its high quality (320 Kb/s) mp3 downloads, its integration with Songbird and Spotify, and its lack of drm.

Recently, 7Digital announced the release of some of it’s downloads in FLAC format. This is fantastic, as it means you can get lossless music from Spotify and Songbird. However, it is only available on a few artists just now. I found that you can only get it on a few specific ones, which really needs to improve. I don’t like Oasis or Radiohead, so I can’t get lossless music from 7Digital.

7Digital’s website, however, is fantastic. It just works, and it is really easy to navigate. I’m giving it 3 stars, beacuse only has a few artists available in lossless format and on the artists that do have lossless formats, you have to buy the mp3 AND FLAC, and that makes it more expensive.

If they were to get more artists on there, it could possibly give them the extra 2 stars, trumping the more expensive FLAC options, because a wee price increase is worth the increased quality.

Zunior.comgold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star

I wasn’t sure about Zunior when I first saw it. It didn’t seem very good, and seemed like another Magnatune. I’m still not sure about how much music it has that you will already know, but apart from that, everything is really good. The website is nice and clean, the prices are reasonably cheap, and almost everything is available in FLAC.

You will have to go to the site yourself to see whether or not they have what you are looking for, but it looks really good apart from that. I had a mind blank when looking for music, so couldn’t really tell what was there, but it mostly seems to be indie stuff. The fact I can’t find a huge amount of stuff there it why it only gets 4 stars.

Linnrecords.comgold-stargold-stargold-star

Another 4 star site. I was tempted to actually give this one 4.5 stars, but I don’t have a graphic for that, and I don’t think it would be fair on Magnatune. Linnrecords seems to have more popular artists than Zunior or Magnatune, but it seems to be more expensive.

I also think a lot of the stuff on here is more older stuff, so it might not be as good, and as I look more and more at it, I’m thinking of getting rid of a star because of the price. It is certanarily the most expensive I’ve looked at.

Ok, I have decided that Linnrecords only gets 3 stars, as it is very expensive.

dominorecordco.comgold-stargold-stargold-stargold-star

I was actually quite pleased with domino record company. It is a nice site, very well laid out, and easy to search and navigate. Their prices are quite nice, although if you want lossless music, you have to pay an extra amount of money, which differs. For example, I have 1 album (at 7.99) and 1 song (at1.58) in my cart just now, both are in WAV. I then have an extra charge of £7 just because they are WAVs. I think this is quite a lot more, and don’t know quite why it is this much more expensive.

Their music collection is quite good. I didn’t spend a lot of time on here, but found a decent number of popular artists. The only other problem is that you can only download in WAV or mp3, which is a problem if you don’t have a lot of space on your harddrive. But, I do, and its nice and easy to convert WAV to FLAC, so it doesn’t lose a star for this, as harddrive space is so cheap nowadays. It loses a star because of the £7 on 1 album and 1 song surcharge, just because it is WAV.

CONCLUSION:

Basically, if you want music you already know who they are, you are stuck with dominorecordco, linnrecords or zunior. If your artist isn’t in there, then tough. Otherwise, if you are looking for new stuff, then go to Magnatune or Zunior. They are both fantastic for new stuff. Keep your eye on 7Digital…it is fantastic with mp3s, but it is rubbish with FLAC just now. It’ll take some time, but eventually they will have FLAC on most things. I have another list of a few other websites that specialice in specific things, but weren’t good enough, in my opinion, to get into the list, so feel free to go look at them. If you know of a lossless music store that I have missed, please tell me, because I’m sure I have scoured the far corners of the web with this blog post.

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