You can buy music on the internet now!

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Who would have thought of such a thing? Its true, like so many others these days, I’ve been known to partake in the culture of ‘peer to peer’ file sharing for much of my music consumption. Not to mention PEER to PEER in the first person file sharing. There is nothing like taking a portable drive over to friends house and returning with 4 G of new music to listen too. That said, I’d say at LEAST 75% of my music listening is done on anyway, since I mostly listen at home or at work. is a service that I am more than happy to pay for. I have been for some time now. The only reason I really need an mp3 library at all is to put music on my shuffle, or to make mixtapes for friends. (I still have to call them mix’tapes’ even though they are cd’s) More often than not if I am actually spending money on music its a special event, most likely a concert where I always try to support the artist by picking up some of their material at the show, or, a once a year trip to A&B to spend 100$ or so on whatever artists I have not been able to find elsewhere or want to give my money too. Except for instances of spontaneity like I just blogged, very little of the new music economy has affected my habits. That is until now.

Recently I have tried experimenting with “buying music online” , something that at first seems against every principle the web holds dear, but in fact it is quite gratifying. What follows is an account of three different services I have used recently for new music purchases, each experience was quite different and reminded me how each service is actually filling quite a distinct market. I actually NEEDED to go to these three different sources for each item I wanted to get.

Lets start with what might still be the most common way to buy music online, picking up a CD at amazon. This disk by Handsome Boy Modeling School has been on my ‘to get‘ list for some time now, and I have just not been able to download the bitch. What finally sent me over the edge to send away for it was a track featuring my new love Cat Power that is so going on a mixtape. I knew this was gonna cost me at least 20$ if I could even find it in a local shop, and since I got a free delivery deal by buying a book at the same time….

Next, was an artist I had the pleasure of seeing last year at the shamballah music festival. The
Seedling Escape recently released a refined set
that I’m pretty sure they played at the Shambles. It was a fantastic way to greet the day, but such is the case with electronic, dance type music, its not as conducive to the format most of us think of as the ‘album’. Thankfully the Seedlings, remixed and released the entire mix (45 min, one file) on Fake Science, a site that claims to be …

… a digital music store that works directly with independent artists and labels with the intention of building a closer relationship between the people who love the music and the people who make it.

Regardless, although the lads have a mySpace, they are distributing their music on yet another third party site, (no NOT iTunes) and only as a single 45 min download. which, for 5$ is a pretty saweet deal.

Lastly, a project that is a little closer to home. A local company, Project Opus, with whom I am fortunate to be affiliated, offers quite a unique service that once I spent some time exploring, indeed did entice me to spend my money. Opus goes a step beyond merely providing titles in album and track formats to be downloaded at a buck per. (although that is their rate). Nay, Opus has much higher ideals, to build on the relationships between artists and audience. In fact, the devoted audience and fans can in this case end up being the artists best friend and contribute to their success in a very real way. I started my exploration by browsing some of the tracks that were listed in their music library under Rap/Urban/Hip Hop. Opus targets independent and local artists and I was pleasantly surprised that I had never heard any of it before. Great! Before you know it, I had discovered many new tracks that I wanted to have handy for potential mixtapes and mobile travel, and was able to add them to my own playlist which I called
dope jams
. In fact, it was this customizable playlist that became my purchasable item. Not only do I get to buy it, but others that are browsing my profile page may also listen to the mix and decide to buy the whole thing themselves. Will I get a cut if that happens?