sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

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sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by sl1ck on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:21 pm

Some of you may remember this thread from H3F, I have made a few additions to it since then.

DRM- Free Music Services:

Ok, just to start off with those who are unaware of what DRM entails, let me provide you will a brief definition in my owns words: DRM stands from Digital Rights Management, and in the context of music it basic means music that is is copy protected. For example, and .mp4 from iTunes is an example of a DRM enforced file. An .mp3 that you can do anything with, i.e. put on an Ipod, send to someone else, import into windows movie make, ad all other sorts of things. .mp3's are unrestricted, DRM enforced files have limited capabilities.
So some examples of DRM-Free Services are listed below:

eMusic: www.emusic.com

This is my personal favorite. eMusic is one of the top music services online along with iTunes and Amazon.com. eMusic specializes in independent music, so if you are looking for releases from major record labels, eMusic is probably not the right site for you. However, there is music from big artists, and there is an extremely wide variety of music that is well known and sometimes relatively obscure. Some artists you can find on eMusic: The White Stripes, Pavement, The Arcade Fire, Bob Marley, and many, many more. The eMusic service uses LAME compression to produce variable bit rate MP3 files with an average bitrate of 192 kbit/s and the songs are about .30 cents a piece. Payment is on a subscription basis. You do get at least 25 free downloads upon signing up for the service (but you must have a credit card to sign up).

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/MP3-Music-Download/b/ref=sa_menu_dmusic2?ie=UTF8&node=163856011&pf_rd_p=328655101&pf_rd_s=left-nav-1&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=507846&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=14KBZMP36QTYWVHXBENK

Amazon.com's music service has become iTunes chief rival. They offer .mp3's from prices of .89 to .99 cents a song. It's a pretty simple concept, not much to explain. They have just as good of a selection as iTunes does, so check it out.

Amie Street: http://amiestreet.com/
Amie Street is an indie online music store, which has an interesting method of pricing songs.
Amie Street uses an algorithm to determine song prices based on demand. The price for a track starts at zero when a song is uploaded onto the site. It then rises according to the increased demand and purchase of the song. The maximum price any song will rise to is 98. A pricing calculator is available and it shows the simple model used to determine pricing. The price curve changes based on the overall volume of songs purchased on the site. As of August 5, 2007 15 buys yields a price of 1, 25 buys yields 15, 50 buys yields 50, and 84 buys yields 98.

Audio Lunchbox: www.audiolunchbox.com
Looks to have a pretty good selection of indie bands. Plus some not-so-indie artists like Bob Marley, Sloan, Hot Hot Heat... Only mp3 192kbps VBR format.

Livedownloads: http://www.livedownloads.com/
Professionally mastered recordings of live performances from a number of bands. Also some studio recordings for some bands. Primarily jambands like Widespread Panic and The String Cheese Incident but also a growing number of bands not traditionally associated with the jamband scene such as Gomez, The Go! Team, Iron & Wine (to name a few). Both mp3 and FLAC format - although you must understandably pay more for FLAC.

Live Phish: http://www.livephish.com/
Similar to the above but only for the now-defunct band Phish as well as current projects of former members - for example Vida Blue. Trey Anastasio studio albums are also available. mp3 and FLAC format.

Magnatune: http://magnatune.com/
.mp3 format only. A number of relatively obscure bands in a wide number of genre's, with some very liberal licensing policies.

Free Legal Music

There is actually a surprising number of free and legal .mp3's floating around out there. Some sites to check out to find some of these .mp3's:

Music.Download.Com: http://music.download.com/

You can find some really good stuff here, I have found .mp3's from artists such as Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Badly Drawn Boy, Jens Lekman, and many more.

Archive.org: http://www.archive.org/index.php

Archive.org has tons of legal live shows, and if you like The Grateful Dead, Phish, The String Cheese Incident, or bands like that you will love this site. Some other notable artists are Ryan Adams, Elliot Smith, Dispatch, Jack Johnson, etc.

Stereogum: http://stereogum.com/mp3/

Sterogum is a music site that often times posts .mp3's to accompany posts about certain artists. I have gotten tunes from a variety of artists there including Nick Drake, Black Lips, Stephen Malkmus (from Pavement), and Sufjan Stevens.

Epitonic: http://www.epitonic.com/

Lots of .mp3's from popular artists such as Cat Power, Belle & Sebastian, Elliot Smith, Bright Eyes, etc.

Some sites that offer legal downloads of more obscure music:

Purevolume: http://www.purevolume.com/
More than 100,000 songs available for free download. Run by self-proclaimed indie fans to fill the hole left by mp3.com. Nice design, nice selection, nice site all round.

Altsounds: http://www.altsounds.com/
Community site that hosts alternative (or independent) artist content. Tracks provided free streams and/or downloads.

redferret wrote:
Review Sites (More Obscure Music- This was taken from another site, so I will quote it)

3hive.com
Six different authors scour the web for the best free and legal music and write a brief review. A new band is posted every day. [Update: Nice design, nice selection of songs, blog format. Well worth a look! Red.]
Gigatracks.com
Review site that hand picks each of the songs that are posted and offers them for free download. The idea is to focus on only posting the best music that the reviewers encounter.
Zerophase.net (forever down)
A well designed, independent music site featuring audio reviews (they let you stream/download a high quality track from the album being reviewed while you read) and mp3 downloads from a variety of genres.
warr.org
Wilson and Alroy's Record Reviews. Don't let the site's simple appearance fool you. This site is a wealth of thousands of album reviews encompassing popular music from today back to the 1950s. Wilson & Alroy, a pair of self proclaimed "rock 'n' roll super dweebs" go into a huge amount of depth and precision in picking apart some of the best (and worst) albums, and best of all, back up their opinions. An excellent and engrossing site.
godsofmusic.com
A nicely presented and detailed review site. No downloads, just direct links to the artist sites with mp3's to offer. Nice.
garageband.com
Again focus is on being a peer review site, which makes it more difficult to find tracks to download, as you're reliant on the views of a community to 'bubble' stuff to the surface of the charts. 'Update:' OK, on review I'm probably being a little unfair here. There's certainly a goodly selection of music (100,000 tracks) to stream and download, and the quality is definitely better than random download sites. Well worth a visit! Also see above!
pitchforkmedia.com
Not brilliant. Site mostly full of reviews. Looks good and may be useful to find new stuff, but the downloads are kind of poor and placements are paid ads.
betterPropaganda.com
This is a good indie music review site. They have well-written reviews and interviews with various artists. There is a free mp3 download for just about every band that they profile. Oh, and the music they choose is, IMHO, very good.
75orless.com
New music reviews in 75 words of less. Mostly indie rock but hip hop and electronic are also common.
splendidezine.com
Online music zine for people with a voracious appetite for new music.
ethnotronics.com/Radio1
A high quality selection of the most musical and creative electronic artists from around the globe. A fully skipable 192 kbps mp3 stream, allowing quick access to the music. Updated daily with an rss feed of the "Artist of the Day".
unsignedbandweb.com
A music community site featuring artists from all genres and nations. Hifi and Lofi streams and downloads from a very large number of genres.
SignHereOnline.net
Music resource provides unsigned artists and independent bands with an opportunity to promote original MP3? music and solicit recording contract offers. [Update: Clearly a new site (basic design and not much material) which offers a subscription service for unsigned bands - one track is free, extra tracks uploaded cost money. Best thing about the service currently is the voting section which gives listeners a chance to say which artists deserve a record contract. Needs much more material. Red]
Killed By A Crescendo
MP3

A blog featuring the newest tracks and reviews in a large variety of genres.
Muzikvoice.com
Free Online Music Promotion and reviews for unsigned bands. [Nice clean design! Red.]
Great Songs Free
Some excellent tunes from indie artists for free and legal download. [Be prepared to navigate around a large amount of Google adverts in order to get access to the tunes, but nice selection nevertheless. Red].
MP3 Thursday at LeliaThomas.Com
Weekly feature of an unknown musician or band that offers free and legal MP3? downloads. Multiple genres; everything from Americana and blues to ambient chillout.

DRM-Restricted Free Music:
Ruckus: ruckus.com
Are you a college student? If you are, head over to ruckus.com. This service was created to combat piracy that is rampant among college students. You get to listen to all the music on the site for free that you want, the only downside is that the songs are in ruckus format, so you can't transfer them to your Ipod or share them or anything else. Still a nice service for previewing music though.


Want to be sure you buy music from a legal source? The RIAA's list is as follows:

Amazon.com
AOL Music
Apple's iTunes Music Store
Artist Direct
AudioCandy
BestBuy
BET
BuyMusic.com
Catsmusic
CD Baby
Circuit City
College Concerts
Compact Disc World
Corner CD
Dimples Music
Electric Fetus
Emusic
Exitos Musical
French Pro-Music
Full Audio's MusicNOW
FYE
Gallery of Sound
German Pro-Music
iMesh
Independent Record
Instavid
Latin Noise
Lifeway
LiquidAudio
Mainstreet
Millennium Music
MIRA Coalition
MP3.com
Musicmatch
Music Millennium
MusicNet@AOL
Music Rebellion
Napster
Netscape Music
New World Record
Passalong
Peer Impact
Pro-Music
Quonset Hut
RasputinMusic
RealNetworks' Rhapsody
Record and Tape Trader
Rolling Stone
Ruckus
Sam Goody
Sony Connect
Spinner
Streamwaves
Top Hits Music
Tower Records
Wal-Mart
Windows Media
Yahoo Music Unlimited
sl1ck
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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by Garheardt on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:25 pm

Best thread this site has seen yet.

Great job Sl1ck.

Edit: Sl1ck, keep this updated and I'll keep it stickied. Deal?


Last edited by Garheardt on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:26 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by Mutiny on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:25 pm

Soulseek: www.slsknet.org
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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by Admin on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:26 pm

Try to keep this updated and continue to add on, this is an amazing thread.

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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by ViceR on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:27 pm

Great thread, Sl1ck.

I haven't bought music in ages.
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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by sl1ck on Sun Mar 23, 2008 6:31 pm

Garheardt wrote:Best thread this site has seen yet.

Great job Sl1ck.

Edit: Sl1ck, keep this updated and I'll keep it stickied. Deal?

Will do.

Mutiny wrote:Soulseek: www.slsknet.org

This thread is for legally acquiring music.
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Re: sl1ck's Guide to Online Music Services

Post by Brian_F on Sun Mar 23, 2008 9:50 pm

Why haven't I tried any of these yet? I need more motivation to acquire new music. When did I first read this, almost six months ago? And all my threads from H3F have to many images and embedded links to copy/paste them here. Poo. I should stop ranting now...
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