What is the best online music source?
September 12, 2008 10:19 PM   Subscribe

What is the best online music source?

I've been a member of Yahoo Musicmatch (previously Dell musicmatch)
and now it has turned to Rhapsody. The price for the same service has gone up about $50, and I don't think it's worth it. I use music sites like this to listen to full albums before i buy them, not to torrent them. Is there any reasonably priced sites to listen to entire albums before buying them?
posted by sharkhunt to Media & Arts (11 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Spiral Frog is free. It doesn't have all labels, and it comes with a very limiting DRM, but is fine for previewing before purchase.
posted by sageleaf at 10:45 PM on September 12, 2008

I'm partial to amazonmp3, it has ok preview.
posted by iamabot at 10:49 PM on September 12, 2008

napster is probably still the best as far as selection, prices are 99c a song , special album rates
posted by docmccoy at 10:49 PM on September 12, 2008

eMusic has 30 second or so previews of songs, not a full preview as I believe you prefer. The advantage perhaps is that eMusic charges between 33 and 45 cents per tune, no DRM, and "eMusic’s label roster includes top sellers like Concord Music Group, Koch, Naxos and Beggars Group, and other well-known independents such as Touch and Go, Merge, Sun, Cooking Vinyl, Fantasy, Bloodshot, Blood and Fire, TVT, Nettwerk, Thrill Jockey, Fat Possum, Razor & Tie, Six Degrees, SST, Smithsonian Folkways, Stones Throw and more." (from their site--I am not associated with eMusic other than as a subscriber). They also sell audio books in the same mp3 format.

So, if best means you have to be able preview the entire song, eMusic is not the best. But if you value independent artists and labels, and at a price less than half of iTunes or others, eMusic may work for you as it has for me.
posted by beelzbubba at 11:40 PM on September 12, 2008

You might like to check out jamendo.com.
Jamendo is a community of free, legal and unlimited music published under Creative Commons licenses.
They have over 11,000 albums on the site. All are downloadable in mp3 or ogg format. Some of it is quite good. An example of an album I like on the site is Pièces by French band Lonah.
posted by Sitegeist at 12:54 AM on September 13, 2008

Sorry, I think I responded to your question above the line without paying too much attention to the specifics below the line.

Jamendo won't have copies of mainstream music. It's for small bands and artists who want to release their music for free and unencumbered by any DRM. So it's a place of discovery and not a place to listen to new albums by bands you already like.
posted by Sitegeist at 1:37 AM on September 13, 2008

alloffmp3.org is a (I believe) Russian site that, surprisingly, has most mainstream stuff and a lot of completely out there stuff as well. I like some obscure stuff and it always has it. You can search for stuff without signing up to see if it has things you'd want. It almost always does, so it's the first place I check before pricier options.

I've used it for a couple of years and it's legit. Er, legit as in they don't steal your money, anyway, and I think international laws or some such are what allows it to keep running. Songs are usually $0.15 USD but some are slightly more.

The thing is, you can't exactly just sit and listen to the stuff first. Not straight through, anyway. You can play pretty long samples of each track, though. It will play a section for a bit, do a scratching noise, and zip along to another section of the track, and so on. I've found this to be enough to know that I'm either getting the specific track I've looked for, or if I haven't heard it before, that it would be something I'd like or not.
posted by Nattie at 3:17 AM on September 13, 2008

Oh, I should add: needless to say, if you're concerned with the artists actually receiving your money when you purchase the tracks, then you don't wanna go with the site I linked. It is, however, likely to have whatever you want and the downloads are reliable.
posted by Nattie at 3:20 AM on September 13, 2008

Lala will let you do this with both single tracks and albums, though the listen is limited to just once. They have decent pricing on their digital downloads, and you can also upload an mp3 collection to listen to from any computer. Not everything is available, but they they are adding more all the time. Note: lala started primarily as a CD trading site, and you can still trade through them, though that info is a bit more buried in their "new" interface.
posted by vers at 4:00 AM on September 13, 2008

the itunes music store lets you listen (just like amazon) to about twenty seconds of pretty much any track before purchasing it. I only mention this because that preview is free - it just pesters you to register every five or so tracks. obviously you can get most files off itunes with or without drm.
posted by krautland at 10:55 AM on September 13, 2008

Magnatune lets you preview whole albums, pay what you want, and gives artists a very generous 50% royalty. Plus, they're pretty selective in their catalog while still distributing many genres.
posted by GPF at 5:16 PM on September 13, 2008

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