Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Amazon MP3 Downloads

I just successfully purchased an MP3 from Amazon's recently launched MP3 download service, still in beta. Being the cautious type, I bought just one track: a solo piano arrangement of Rhapsody in Blue, performed by George Gershwin himself (or so they claim -- I read all about Joyce Hatto in last month's New Yorker, so I don't know what to believe anymore). It was 99 cents, though most of the tracks are for 89 cents. At 15 minutes, this is an extra-long track, so I think it was a bargain anyway. I didn't download the MP3 installer, but once I verified payment, it was just like downloading any file from the Web. The big deal here is no DRM! I copied it immediately to iTunes, then onto my iPod Nano, & I'm listening to it on my stereo now. It sounds pretty good. Plus it's been encoded at 217kbps (VBR) which is a much higher rate than iTunes at 128kbps.

I know that others have had problems, but this simple transaction worked out for me. I guess next time I should try getting a whole album, which does require using their downloader app. I'm a Mac OS X user, by the way.

What's really funny is that Richard Wagner is the top music artist bestseller at the moment. Yesterday I'm pretty sure I saw the Clemens Krauss Ring selling for around $13, but today it's listed at $126.42. A pricing error in the database?

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