Sunday, 20 July 2008

Where to buy legal DRM-free music in the UK?

During an in-depth discussion with a work colleague last week (basically he was trolling the "Linux users want everything for free" point of view) the discussion moved round to digital music downloads, and how people should support ITunes (he's a Mac user).

My point was that the DRM used for ITunes rules it out for me (the DRM isn't supported on Linux). Even for Apple's DRM free stuff the necessity to run the ITunes player to access the ITunes shop rules Linux out unless you are willing to try and run it through Wine.

The main alternative if you are running Linux is to buy the CD and rip it to MP3 or OGG yourself. Amazon was suggested as an alternative source of legal MP3s.

So I checked. Amazon do sell DRM free MP3s which is great. . . . . . if you live in America. That's right - they don't sell to Europe yet.

So what other options do we have in the UK for this?

HMV also sell regular MP3s, alongside the DRM'd WMA files, but as their site says if you try and access it from FireFox:

Unfortunately at the moment, hmv downloads is not compatible with Firefox, Safari or Opera browsers.
If you can see this message, please access the service using Internet Explorer.

Bugger. Another route blocked.

That leaves us with Their service supports MP3s, and works through any browser. They've also got a fairly decent range of music to choose from, and they are cheaper than the competition.

To quote the site:

Works with all MP3 players, including IPods. DRM free MP3s. No software to install.

Nice one! Track prices range from around 60p to 70p each (this varies from album to album but appears to be cheaper than the competition) and are encoded as 192khz and 320khz MP3s, again this varies from album to album, but most new ones seem to be 320khz.

So for commercial DRM free music downloads on Linux it looks like it is a one horse race at the moment, with being the only runner.

So do any of you know of any legal DRM free download services that run on native Linux and are available to those of us in the UK?

1 comment:

We7Steve said...

At We7, All the content we sell is DRM free and will work on linux. Unfortunately thats not the front line content at the moment but that will change in the coming months. The streaming will work on any computer with flash installed.

hope this helps,

Steve Purdham
CEO - We7