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iTunes, Amazon Cloud, CD, or direct from the artist?

AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened OptimistRegistered User regular
edited January 2012 in Help / Advice Forum
I like owning stuff. In general, I like having physical copies of things, because I know that they are in my care. The problem is that I don't have a ton of room these days, and I'm trying to purge things.

I find myself listening to a lot of music on Pandora these days, and I've fallen in love with a few bands lately that I really want to pick up the albums for.... But I really don't know if I want to go out of my way to get physical media for them. Oh, sure, if it is something close to me or an impulse purchase, I'll gladly pick up the album. Everything else? Not so much.

I own an 8GB iPod Nano that pretty much hasn't been touched in quite a few months, a Galaxy Nexus, and an Amazon Kindle. These devices + my PC are the main conduits of my music-going experience. I do not have an Amazon Prime account, YET, but that might change next month depending on budget.


My question is this: Should I buy things on iTunes or Amazon MP3? Which has better quality? Also, which one gets more money to the artist, or should I not even care about that?

Subquestion: I want to buy The Glitch Mob's album, which they sell on their site for $7.99. Amazon also sells it for 7.99. The website version appears to also include an iTunes offer. Which conduit should I pay for the album through?

Official member of the Grilling Gentry
"Brevity is the soul of getting your shit read." - Tube
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Posts

  • GaslightGaslight Registered User regular
    As much trouble as I and people in my family have had with iTunes authorization bullshit when migrating our libraries to new PC's and such, I would never consider buying media from them again.

    Amazon MP3 is my usual choice.

    bowen wrote: »
    The bacteria in your poop exist everywhere.
  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    iTunes audio files are drm free and have been for awhile. You will have no problems moving them to other iOS devices in the future.

  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    iTunes still does that silly thing where you can't re-download an audio file though, right? What about sound quality?

    Official member of the Grilling Gentry
    "Brevity is the soul of getting your shit read." - Tube
    Rarely-updated Collecting blog
    He/Him
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Anything from iTunes and Amazon is going to be lacking in quality. Best bet for that is to buy the CD, then rip it to Apple Lossless or FLAC depending on what player you use.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • useless4useless4 Registered User regular
    No you can redownload music, tv shows, apps and books from apple - just not movies at this time.

  • HadjiQuestHadjiQuest Registered User regular
    I really like amazon's cloud player. Like, a lot. I buy music almost exclusively through amazon digital now. Before that, I used emusic for a long time, but because of their changes in the last 2 or 3 years to me more commercially oriented, I've put my account on hold.

    I've never really cared for itunes, but I haven't used it since the DRM days.

    All that said, I do often buy directly from the artist or label still, when there's any kind of incentive to. I'm not sure how much they get from any of the three options, though.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    edited January 2012
    I prefer Amazon MP3, as they backup to their cloud system automatically, and they're often cheaper compared to iTunes. iTunes does have longer previews, though, so I still use it to preview some songs.

    I've never noticed any difference in quality for the music I've downloaded from Amazon or iTunes compared to CDs I own, and I'm listening on studio monitors with good clarity and solid frequency response. About 5 years ago, I had some MP3s I had ripped myself with lots of crash cymbals at 128 kbps, and I noticed on playback that, sure enough, the cymbals had some aliasing that was noticeable -- when I played it loud enough or really listened to it. Still, it was obvious to me, so I re-ripped using AAC at 256. Sounds just like the CD now. Amazon and Apple both use pretty high bitrate nowadays -- I think they both use 256 -- and I've been very happy with both stores for the past 3 years, in terms of quality.

    As far as buying from the artist directly, if it's an option, then definitely. There's no reason not to, and they get the greatest amount from the sale.

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  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    EggyToast wrote:
    I prefer Amazon MP3, as they backup to their cloud system automatically, and they're often cheaper compared to iTunes. iTunes does have longer previews, though, so I still use it to preview some songs.

    I've never noticed any difference in quality for the music I've downloaded from Amazon or iTunes compared to CDs I own, and I'm listening on studio monitors with good clarity and solid frequency response. About 5 years ago, I had some MP3s I had ripped myself with lots of crash cymbals at 128 kbps, and I noticed on playback that, sure enough, the cymbals had some aliasing that was noticeable -- when I played it loud enough or really listened to it. Still, it was obvious to me, so I re-ripped using AAC at 256. Sounds just like the CD now. Amazon and Apple both use pretty high bitrate nowadays -- I think they both use 256 -- and I've been very happy with both stores for the past 3 years, in terms of quality.

    As far as buying from the artist directly, if it's an option, then definitely. There's no reason not to, and they get the greatest amount from the sale.

    I can tell a very real difference from Lossless to VBR or 256 when I have my headphones on.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • EsseeEssee The pinkest of hair. Victoria, BCRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Yeah, if you're going to buy it digitally and the artists offer it directly, I can't see any reason not to buy straight from the artists. Then all of the money should go straight to them, and it's even possible that the song quality could be higher than Amazon/iTunes puts the album out as if they feel like it (I mean, that's up to their discretion, but they're the ones with the original recordings that get burned to CDs after all). I mean, I guess one reason not to do it would be if you anticipate having to redownload the song much, much later because you lost track of it and are worried you wouldn't be able to do that, that's true (but presumably if you have proof that you bought it or something and the band's site still exists and all, that shouldn't be a problem). But you said buying it directly from them gives you some sort of iTunes offer as well, so maybe even that wouldn't be a problem, depending on what the offer is?

    Essee on
  • admanbadmanb the bored genie Seattle, WARegistered User regular
    Esh wrote:
    I can tell a very real difference from Lossless to VBR or 256 when I have my headphones on.

    While I have no doubt that's true, unless you have a full-stack of high quality audio delivery from top-to-bottom I doubt you'll notice a difference, and I suspect if the OP was concerned with such a thing they would be asking much more complicated questions...

    Anyways, I use pretty much all of them. I use iTunes to store and organize my music, which means that no matter what I download and from where I can import it into my library or export it out. Amazon MP3, iTMS, and any individual band all sells DRM-free music, so there's not really much hassle left.

  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    admanb wrote:
    Esh wrote:
    I can tell a very real difference from Lossless to VBR or 256 when I have my headphones on.

    While I have no doubt that's true, unless you have a full-stack of high quality audio delivery from top-to-bottom I doubt you'll notice a difference, and I suspect if the OP was concerned with such a thing they would be asking much more complicated questions...

    Anyways, I use pretty much all of them. I use iTunes to store and organize my music, which means that no matter what I download and from where I can import it into my library or export it out. Amazon MP3, iTMS, and any individual band all sells DRM-free music, so there's not really much hassle left.

    This is iPhone 4 -> $200 Shure sound isolating headphones. When at home, using Airplay from my MacBook Pro to an Airport Extreme hooked up to a nice refurbished mid 70s Marantz system hooked up to a pair of $300 bookshelves there's a very obvious difference as well. That's definitely not any sort of crazy hi-fidelity system. That and he did ask what the best quality was.

    Most artists who sell digital downloads directly will have a FLAC option. I'd imagine that's the best way to get your best quality and the money directly to them. Just make sure you've got a backup stored somewhere.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    I'm still reading, I swear! Sounds like things are kind of a wash in general when it comes to digital, but CDs are still the best way to go. 320kbps MP3s are gonna eat a ton of room, though. :(

    Official member of the Grilling Gentry
    "Brevity is the soul of getting your shit read." - Tube
    Rarely-updated Collecting blog
    He/Him
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    Athenor wrote:
    I'm still reading, I swear! Sounds like things are kind of a wash in general when it comes to digital, but CDs are still the best way to go. 320kbps MP3s are gonna eat a ton of room, though. :(

    Barely any more than most MP3s. An album in FLAC or Apple Lossless takes up anywhere from 200megs to 350megs. They average around 275megs. So, if you're concerned about room, stick with MP3.

    I've got 1238 albums, all in Apple Lossless, and they take up 370gigs.

    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • AthenorAthenor Battle Hardened Optimist Registered User regular
    How does one get so many albums? Bargain bin hunting at second hand stores?

    No, really, I've never understood how someone could own so much music unless they are in the industry somehow -- like my mom cuts music for her job (figure skating coach/choreographer), and one of my mentors is a composer and so I understand his collection.. but damn.

    Official member of the Grilling Gentry
    "Brevity is the soul of getting your shit read." - Tube
    Rarely-updated Collecting blog
    He/Him
  • EshEsh Tending bar. FFXIV. Motorcycles. Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited January 2012
    Athenor wrote:
    How does one get so many albums? Bargain bin hunting at second hand stores?

    No, really, I've never understood how someone could own so much music unless they are in the industry somehow -- like my mom cuts music for her job (figure skating coach/choreographer), and one of my mentors is a composer and so I understand his collection.. but damn.

    Work in record stores for 7 years.

    Esh on
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."

    Final Fantasy XIV:Lilja Sunblade
  • TavTav Registered User regular
    You should definitely care about how much money the artist makes. The best way is obviously going to be ordering directly from them, but if you don't really care about that, try to see if they offer paid downloads through Bandcamp or something. If not, iTunes is the next best option.

    Although, seriously, chances are that the OP isn't listening to his music through an audiophile setup so just go for whatever is most convenient for you. 320kb/s MP3s sound just fine

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