Alternatives to iTunes for Purchasing Music?

What alternatives are there for purchasing music?

I already own more than 90% of the music I am ever likely to listen to, so a streaming music subscription isn't for me.

Most of my new music comes through Freegal, but there are many songs/labels that Freegal doesn't have access to. For those songs, I have previously used iTunes, purchasing maybe ten songs a year, but that is getting more and more difficult.

The reason that it is difficult is that I am primarily a Linux user, and there's no way to run iTunes on Linux. I keep an old Win7 machine just so I can run iTunes under windows, but that machine can't upgrade to Win10 (not enough hardware capability), and Win7 is now looking risky due to Microsoft's recent end-of-support for Win7.

I don't own any Apple devices either, and my phone is an Android.

So what alternatives are there for purchasing music?

I already know of these alternatives:
Google Play Music - appears to be the same price as Itunes.
Zdigital.com.au - looks like old music is $1.19-$1.69 per track, not sure if that includes GST. Flac also available but more expensive.
Amazon.com.au - do they sell songs? The US and UK sites used to, but I can't find any on the AU site.

I know there are other sites like BandCamp, but they don't seem to have the artists and songs I like.

Is that it for Australia? What other sites are available?

Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • +2 votes

    For the price of purchasing one album, a premium subscription to Spotify which houses 99% of music seems like a no-brainer and it's great to have it cross-platform. There's only so long you can resist and hold out for, times have changed and less offerings to purchase music nowadays.

    To answer your question though, Tidal is the only other major service you haven't mentioned already.

    Also, I presume you've already tried running iTunes through WINE.

    •  

      *price of purchasing one album every 1-2 months.

      For me I might only buy ~2 albums a year, so paying for Spotify is more expensive.

      The premium version also does not offer me anything more that I would actually use over the free version. I personally wouldn’t download to my devices (because I already own what I want on my devices).

      Also, when using it on the web version (which I only do) you can be specific with what you want to listen to and play albums and playlists in order. I don’t mind 1 min of ads every half hour.

      However, OP, if you can’t find your music elsewhere, it might be the only answer. Could you buy physical albums?

      • +1 vote

        Could you buy physical albums?

        I have lots of CDs, which is why I now mainly buy individual tracks - to get all the little bits that I haven't already purchased. Many of the songs I buy are one-hit wonders, so not worthwhile buying a whole CD for one track.

    •  

      To answer your question though, Tidal is the only other major service you haven't mentioned already.

      Thanks! I just had a quick browse, looking for some older music. Most artists are there, but nothing like their full catalog, and it looks like Tidal only sell full albums.

      Also, I presume you've already tried running iTunes through WINE.

      Long ago, I looked up instructions on how to do that, and found lots of posts saying people had no success. So I didn't bother trying, as I had the Win7 PC. Do you know if it works any better now? A quick search on google still finds lots of "failed" posts, but they could be old.

      I also considered VMWARE and similar, but I have old hardware and a minimalistic version of Linux (Puppy Linux), so apparently the only VM I can run is QEMU, which is reportedly painfully slow. But VMWARE or similar would still be running a version of windows, so I would have to leave it on for a few hours month, just to do windows updates. One of the reasons I switched to linux was to avoid the annoyance of windows updates.

  • +4 votes

    Look up the artists you like and go to their homepage, there are often options there to buy directly so they get most of the money and the corporatists don't. I think you can buy stuff through Pandora as well (Opera or VPN required).

    • +2 votes

      Direct from artists is the best way.

    •  

      Look up the artists you like and go to their homepage

      A good idea, but a lot of the music I like was from one-hit wonders, and a lot of the artists I like have died. I did look up a couple of still-living artists, and generally their websites only sell merchandise, and maybe one or two CDs.

      I think you can buy stuff through Pandora as well (Opera or VPN required).

      I'll look into that. Thanks!

  • +1 vote

    At the risk of sounding dumb, why not buy CDs? They are comparable in price to downloads in many cases.

    Though is it actually possibly to buy all new stuff on CDs?

    • +1 vote

      why not buy CDs?

      I do that too, I have about 200 CDs. But it's getting to the point where a new CD will usually only have one track that I haven't purchased before, that I like. For a lot of artists I only like one track of theirs, so buying a whole CD for one track is expensive.

      My general rule is "If I like four tracks on a new CD, I'll probably grow to like the others", so I buy it. But I have a lot of music already, so it's mostly odd little bits that I'm looking for, and I'm unlikely to find a CD that meets my criterion.

      Though is it actually possibly to buy all new stuff on CDs?

      I've always found it possible for new stuff. Old stuff is sometimes only available on vinyl or cassette, for example I'd love to get a good-quality digital copy of "Popcorn (and other switched-on smash hits) (1972/73) Axis Records". Unfortunately Axis Records went bust, so the copyrights are in limbo, and it's never going to be re-issued.

      • +1 vote

        Hi Russ,

        In case of some of the more obscure pop stuff, real-world search, including secondhand compilation CD's going back decades, still sometimes required.

        That said, Popcorn

        The original vinyl compilation containing the song -
        https://www.musicstack.com/album/electric+coconut/popcorn

        The album is now available free to download -
        https://archive.org/details/ElectricCoconutPopcorn
        That's the cover of the S/H vinyl copy I have somewhere, still in a crate, but which crate..? :)

        A good read - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_Archive

        https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/aw/d/B00008GELN/
        That compilation contains Popcorn, and in good mix did take some finding. 'Only 1 left in stock', if keen from there. Indication of not actually scarce, though :)

        Relative to downloads, current bang-for-buck One-Hit-Wonder comps exist, but you will need to sift. You may well find most of the tracks you are looking for, buying just a few.

        I'm amused by first comment suggesting 99% of music on Spotify. Of music variously sought, more akin 79% and with plenty missing from very recent, too. I would liken it to an audio version of Netflix search, although that is being a bit unkind, I suppose…

        Some, Space Penguins?

        This really is devotion to the Popcorn song…
        https://www.youtube.com/user/popcornsongcom
        https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC0p8cyQRhY5QsLneBMSXBEg/vid... !!!

        :-)

        • +1 vote

          ThankYouThankYouThankYou!!!!!

          I have been trying for years to get a good copy. I have two of the original albums, purchased new in the 70's by my parents, sadly one has a huge crack from poor handling long ago, and the other is very worn (and has lots of scratches and embedded dust).

          I found the first side of the album on YouTube, and I found many of the original versions of the songs (with singers), but it isn't quite the same.

          I haven't previously seen the cover of the album shown on MusicStack. Interesting! It was also released under at least one other cover and title as well: https://www.musicstack.com/album/electric+coconut/go+moog!

          I had hoped for a long time that the album would be re-issued on CD, as Tubular Bells (same era) was. That's when I learned about "orphaned copyright", and that this was one such album.

          Thanks again!

          • +1 vote

            @Russ: Happy to help :)

            The Go Moog upload on 'tube, pretty flat and scratchy.
            Just like music is in general sense, the quest to find older vinyl in good nick - is endless!

            Though Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass got more of a run on the turntable at the time, there definitely was a Switched-on Bach/Moog album in family record-collection when I was little.
            Less fun than Popcorn!!

            • +1 vote

              @Dne:

              upload on 'tube, pretty flat and scratchy

              I agree entirely. I borrowed a turntable and tried to digitize my LP, the result was similar. I found I could improve it a little by using the "denoise" function in Audacity, but I couldn't find any free audio editing tools with a scratch/pop filter. This was about a decade ago, it may be different now.

              The copy on Archive.org is good enough that I don't feel I need to post-process it.

              there definitely was a Switched-on Bach/Moog album in family record-collection when I was little.

              I've got the switched-on Bach CD, it was re-released. Another moog album of the era was "Switched on Beatles", another album that hasn't made it to CD. https://www.musicstack.com/show.cgi?search_type=title&find=s...

              It appears that one has been ripped and made available on the internet.

              • +1 vote

                @Russ: I did have a listen to some of the Moog Bach stuff the other day. Good fun and would have come with great feeling of being very innovative at the time. There would have been at least some consternation in certain circles with the advent of it, though, no doubt!

                I don't recall ever hearing any of the Switched on Beatles. I would if had, I think.
                I do have a strong recollection of a 'Stars on 45' medley butchering of The Beatles. Even worse than I remember, that god-awful terrible backbeat :$

                Some difficulty in finding more often than not, but an improving rate of great vinyl uploads on Youtube. Aside scratches and worn, is possible to overdo processing to detriment of the sound.
                Best of the uploads are good indeed. Happens occasionally, always good fun to discover the vinyl uploads that not only sound better in youtube realm than the older cd-rips, but also the more recent ones. Comparisons certainly interesting there.

                Other side of the coin can be a bit disappointing. I recently discovered a channel with one user very busily and enthusiastically uploading his collection. Plenty of worse audio to be heard on Youtube, but still over-processed and flat for that reason.

                That, along with either intentionally for reason of a poor internet connection - or unwittingly by way of resolution of images attached, every single upload missing the audio bitrate encoding bump that Youtube delivers at 720p.
                Something detailing all of that, here.

                Bloke in question has already uploaded hundreds of tracks and has a nice and enthusiastic following for his considerable efforts, so an instant decision there not to burst his bubble. Lest he feel any need to start over!!

                Anyway, allowing for internet arguments on subject, 192Kbps AAC is decent, although anything below that bitrate is noticeable.
                Here's a page on general AAC v MP3, with link to more on that topic. If keen on reading about one of the many exciting Codec Wars… https://www.diffen.com/difference/AAC_vs_MP3

                Link in comment here, possibly of interest.
                + bonus, linked once before on here. Popcorn looking quite remarkably like ice cream…
                Don't blame me if you now find yourself watching an hour of slo-mo videos :)

                YouTube does have one thing in common with OzBargain. Lots of good fun, but too much to keep up with… unless you possess The *Mystical Powers* of jv!

                :-)

  • +1 vote

    Google Play Music allows you to upload your own music (50,000 songs from memory) .
    As a result you can house all of your old stuff that streaming services may not carry and upload any future music bought from third parties as well.

    •  

      Just wish you could organise libraries and playlists better on Google music. i uploaded my entire itunes library but for some reason i have the same playlists uploaded multiple times, its so hard to sort and search.

      • +1 vote

        Yeah, I have the same issue, but luckily Google are replacing it with Youtube Music which is far worse at everything… /sarcasm

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