Sunday, January 28, 2007

a qualitative comparison of music websites

I have found 4 relatively new music sites. All offer free music listening, 3 offer music downloads, 1 for free and 2 for money. The sites are:
  1. Magnatune, a music store that offers free streaming as well as cheap ($5) album downloads, with no DRM (you can get a plain mp3).

  2. Mindawn, a music store that offers free demos that self-destruct after 3 plays, and not quite as cheap downloads ($6.99 for a lossy format, 8.99 for a lossless format, or pay by minute) without any DRM either.

  3. Jamendo, a free music site that offers streaming music and bittorrent downloads. It also has the prettiest website I've ever seen.

  4. iRateRadio, a java app that runs on all the major platforms and streams music from a variety of free sources, and tries to determine what you like from how you rate the music.

I liked Magnatune the most, the music is all very good, the interface is good, and the downloads are cheap. It seemed to be the most developed, having the largest number of download options. Oh, and it has Amarok integration. Jamendo is also good, the music is a little bit more iffy, and lots of the "albums" are very short, more properly EPs, but the interface is very nice and offering free bittorrent downloads (which are always well seeded) is very nice. Jamendo is a Luxembourger website, so the music is very Europe biased, whereas the others seemed more American biased, so it was a nice change. Mindawn seems to have a very large selection, but requires its own client to listen to music, and is more expensive than magnatune. One thing that is nice about it (for someone like me who is an amateur musician) is that all the artists get at least 55% of any profits, and 75% for Mindawn exclusive content. Magnatune splits all profits 50-50 with the artists. iRateRadio is a promising idea, but I found the client clumsy and slow (it is java, so these things are to be expected), and I listened to 3 songs that I didn't like before I gave up. It might be nice if you give it a chance, and maybe I will, but be prepared to listen to some stuff you don't like first.

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