Apple's iTunes may have a serious challenger in the UK and Europe* with the launch of 7digital's new MP3 download store. It claims it is "the first digital music store in Europe to offer downloads from all four major labels, Sony BMG, Universal Music, Warner Music and EMI Records, in the MP3 format." The selection includes Universal acts such as Amy Winehouse, U2, Guns'N'Roses and The Cure. Pm3 music download.
Many but not all downloads are available as 320kbps MP3s, and some in the FLAC lossless format. Also, if you have already bought tracks in protected WMA (Windows Media Audio) format, or any Sony BMG tracks, you can have the MP3 versions free. Unlike iTunes tracks, 7digital's MP3s should be playable forever on almost any device.
Although the four million tracks are mostly pop, there's a reasonable selection of jazz, including 112 Miles Davis albums, 60 from Keith Jarrett, 21 by Cannonball Adderley and eight from John Surman. It's a bit weak on IDM (Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada etc).
Free song downloader
The site also offers videos and tracks from the 7digital Indiestore: there are tabs for both on the search box. Search is generally excellent, and provides progressive suggestions. Typing [mitch], for example, brings up a dozen possible selections including Joni Mitchell, Mitchell & Webb, and Tenebrous Mitchell. You can also browse by artist, click a tag (Pop, Rock, Dance etc) or visit a featured section such as Mercury Music Prize, Music from TV Ads, or Best of 2008 (so far).
But as with Passionato, the new classical download store I reviewed in yesterday's Netbytes, price may still be a stumbling block for many people. If you happen to want, say, Radiohead's In Rainbows, do you want to pay £7.99 for the 320kbps MP3 version or £9.99 for FLAC's superior quality? Do you want to pay 99p or £1.49 for the individual tracks? You could buy the CD from for £7.98 and rip it yourself.
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