Last week, I wondered about signing up for the DRM-free, legit-in-Russian online music service AllofMP3.com. I was a little worried about sending my credit card details to, well, Russia (their PayPal option is down at the moment). After reading some other users’ experiences (thanks to those who commented), I decided I couldn’t resist the US $0.01/MB price tag and signed up.
I’m glad I did. In the first few days, I spent US $8.20 on 7 complete albums at a very high fidelity–320 Kbps. A quick check of Amazon shows that those albums would have cost about US $100, plus shipping and handling. Importantly, though, I probably wouldn’t have bought most of these albums at full price. Why? My increasing loathing of the RIAA and because I wasn’t that interested in the artists. Incidentally, the standout album of the lot was definitely Wilco’s Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.
It’s legal, but is it ethical? I’m not sure. In the past, I’ve justified my downloading of music with my 150+ CD collection and frequent concert attendance. CDs have inflated prices, and the recording industry has received enough of my money. In the short term this model still applies to AllofMP3.com.
Additionally, I want the RIAA (and related on- and off-line retailers) to re-examine their pricing model. They’re as subject to globalization as car or electronics companies–they just haven’t realized it yet. I’d happily pay twice or four times what I paid at AllofMP3.com for those albums, but I definitely wouldn’t pay the iTunes retail price. Especially for files equipped with DRM.
Jacob wrote with a very handy tip on using AllofMP3.com:
During peak hours, the site can be insanely slow. Use a download managager that allows you to queue up a bunch of downloads, then let it run overnight; trying to download all the music in your browser is an exercise in futility.
I downloaded most of my albums over one night, as the site totally crawls during the day.