Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Tue 10th Oct, 2006

The Great Audio Temptation

I've just discovered another source of music: Audiolunchbox. It's going to severely tax my desire to use Magnatune, because Audiolunchbox has one big thing that Magnatune doesn't: all my favourite Trance artists and labels. Most of Platipus Records and Dragonfly Records seems to be there, as well as such acts as Shpongle, Infected Mushroom and other pretty big names in Trance and Psy. I'm surprised Astral Projection isn't on it, but OTOH it's probably something Audiolunchbox are arranging with labels as they go.

The prices are very reasonable: tracks are 0.99c US each, and come in 192kbit VBR MP3 format with no DRM. Albums are $9.90, which includes cover art - but you can still just buy all the tracks separately. Unfortunately their comments system doesn't have any spam prevention, so it's pretty useless, but the rest of the site is very smooth: links to labels, artists, what other people have purchased, all the things that make buying music online good. The site also works on a subscription / credits system, so (as I understand it) you buy a subscription which gives you a number of subscription credits each month - one credit is equal to one track, albums are usually ten credits - which work out much cheaper than buying 'a la carte', which is still offered. Signing up is easy and doesn't seem to have any hidden costs. The site, unlike some of the artists' sites, is completely flash-free and designed to be cross-platform.

Sure, the terms of use still don't allow you to mix the files, upload them anywhere, or give or sell them to anyone. No surprises there. You can back them up as many times as you like, put them on as many machines as you like, and burn them to CD as many times as you like. All they're basically asking is that you be reasonable. You can download the tracks individually or as a group together in a zip file; download speed will be fast enough for most people in Australia (I averaged about 400KB/sec). I saw some files that you could preview, but didn't see any previews of albums, so I don't know yet how this is arranged. That's be my only criticism - I don't mind streaming a low-quality file down to preview new artists and new tracks.

So, with a new album freshly purchased and in my hot little hands, I can see that I'll be looking at buying more from Audiolunchbox in the future. Of course, I still have to buy a bunch of stuff from Magnatune for the LCA 2007 Rave Night, or whatever it gets called.

(Speaking of which, I'd really like to hear feedback from people that have heard my other sets and mixes, particularly at the last two LCAs. What styles do you like? What would you like to see and hear from me? Do you want me to mix at all? Talk to me...)

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