Recently, there has been a boom in music stores. There are also an increasing amount of new services popping up that enable musicians to sell their music directly to fans without the need for a 3rd party. These type of services usually use e-commerce enabled web widgets that embed into many types of web pages. This turns each web page into the musician’s own online music store.
A more recent development allows the instant downloading of radio-songs, as they are broadcast, straight to a mobile phone in less than 60 seconds.
But what are the advantages of major online music stores? It is a system that follows copyright laws, and centralized repository of music makes it easier to find the songs you want.
While the disadvantages are: many major stores only offer music in one audio format. Most labels will not allow their music to be sold in the common MP3 format that music players use. For the most part music that is sold in MP3 format is not sold at higher bit rate encoding.
Geographical restrictions rule most of the stores at the request of record labels. Many online music stores sell music encoded in a lossy format, compared to an audio CD. Users do not have a “hard copy” of purchased music, such as a CD, for archiving (although music can usually be backed up to a CD or portable music player). Some stores do not provide artwork or liner notes. Stores have limited catalogs, because of copyright concerns.
So what is our advice? Having a real CD is the best a real music enthusiast can have, it’s like having the real book compared to a digital copy. So buy the CDs for your preferred music artists, but browse digital catalogs to find new unique music and independent musicians. It’s always good to listen to something new and help independent music world.