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why download? it's cheaper to buy a cd...

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Initial post: 16 Apr 2009 03:01:21 BDT
Qualtai says:
In some (most?) cases it's cheaper to buy a CD than dowload a complete album.

I don't understand why a downloadable version of a song costs £0.79 when the price of a CD is £4.99. That's on average a £0.40 per track.

Plus you have a hard copy of your songs that will not dissapear with the first crash of your computer system.

So what makes a CD, a hard piece of plastic (manufacturing costs), delivered to your door (delivery costs), cheaper than a download?

I just don't get all this download stuff.

Posted on 16 Apr 2009 07:02:32 BDT
Earwicker says:
There's still a long way to go isn't there? No notes and librettos either, which could easily be included as a PDF.

I've made the point several times here that it's only worth downloading classical if it's significantly cheaper than buying the CD, and as you say, it usually isn't! This daft track by track pricing and "album only" crap kills off the other potential advantage of downloading - being able to make a saving by only downloading the work one wants to hear.

Posted on 16 Apr 2009 10:44:54 BDT
R. Hobbs says:
Because some people won't be able to get the CD straight away and want the tracks straight away. I dont care about price, this is my favourite band. Why, I'll probably get the CD too!

In reply to an earlier post on 16 Apr 2009 19:36:06 BDT
I like downloads as they are immediately available to me. When I get a download album I also burn it to a blank CD for a back up and to play in the car. Most albums I've downloaded have been cheaper than in the stores but I always check first.

Posted on 16 Apr 2009 22:28:01 BDT
M. Gudgeon says:
When you're as short on space as I am, downloading is the way to go.

Buy a 250g hard drive for £60 quid and back it all up!

Posted on 17 Apr 2009 09:04:18 BDT
When I want to buy a song to add to my iPod* I buy it individually of Amazon since I usually want only that one song from that artist and it is therefore cheaper than the album. When I want to buy a whole album, I order the CD off of Amazon. It gets me the best balance of price and availability and it is a system I am happy with.

*(why buying off amazon when using an iPod you might say? Well, I'm running an Acer Aspire One and the only way to interface an iPod with it that works for me is Amarok (no luck running iTunes via WINE) so what with Amazon offering downloading software that runs on Linux and everything it's just easier)

Posted on 17 Apr 2009 16:27:27 BDT
BS on parade says:
Downloads are only worth buying if the CD version is either so obscure, or so expensive, that getting a CD copy just isn't worth it.

I use eMusic because its catalogue of music is so obscure that it really is about the one and only place you can get that music (and at 20p a track it's not badly priced either).

I've bought an Amazon download once for a £8 box set. On CD (80 tracks spread over four discs) it was about £40.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2009 14:06:48 BDT
you can always save your downloads on a usb drive;and i agree some of the tracks are pricey but it depends whether you like every track on a album then buy a cd.but amazon are also doing 3.00 an mp3 album.

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Apr 2009 17:49:04 BDT
E. R. Milner says:
In the US, the CD of Expresso Bongo (the musical version) is only intermittantly available. US Amazon was selling one for upwards of $100 USD.

Posted on 18 Apr 2009 23:11:50 BDT
GSV3MiaC says:
If the CD is not readily available then buying a download makes sense. However if the CD is cheaper, or even the same price, then the CD is preferable - you get cover notes, you get an item that you can resell if you want to (near as I can tell 'resale' of an Amazon download track is not legal, even if you delete the original).

Yes, the download track pricing is stupid .. about 10x what it should be. And don't even ask the artists what they get.

Posted on 19 Apr 2009 11:55:13 BDT
Miles Gallon says:
I still prefer CDs. They're good value, you get a physical product, and you get top quality format, which is not the case for an MP3, which is lossy, and not even the best lossy. So you've already lost some of the recording (technically, anyway) if you buy an MP3. And MP3 has really been superceded now by better lossy formats, anyway. From a CD I can rip to whatever format I prefer (which wouldn't be MP3 btw).

Posted on 19 Apr 2009 23:32:25 BDT
Pete says:
I'm with Miles. Downloads are okay but you lose so much. Plus, I like the physical nature of a CD and I love the liner notes, the artwork, etc. But you're right: the CD is often cheaper. I've just ordered a remastered collection of the Byrds greatest hits on CD. How much? £2.98p Bargain!

Posted on 21 Apr 2009 20:26:42 BDT
Mr. P. Osuh says:
''I still prefer CDs. They're good value, you get a physical product, and you get top quality format, which is not the case for an MP3, which is lossy, and not even the best lossy. So you've already lost some of the recording (technically, anyway) if you buy an MP3. And MP3 has really been superceded now by better lossy formats, anyway. From a CD I can rip to whatever format I prefer (which wouldn't be MP3 btw).''

CD is preferable when possible, but it seems no-one from what I've heard buys DVD audio/SACD (Super Audio CD) or superior physical alternatives to CD. CD isn't the best (for quality), but it's still very popular and easiest to mass produce and get hold off. Similarly Mp3 isn't the best quality compared to Ogg Vorbis, AAC(+), WMA and co, but it is the most popular and is guaranteed to be supported nowadays without fail. Some players and sites do offer alternatives inc. those mentioned but they tend to be pricier than their MP3 counterparts and offer less choice. Anyone see where I'm going with this?

Purist won't probably bother with cheap cds and loseless quality under 256KB/sec anyway, so they'll opt for higher priced alternatives on Bang & Olufsen speakers and such, while we lesser mortals can manage with cd quality music at the fraction of the cost that's most convenient to us.

Different strokes for different folks.

Posted on 22 Apr 2009 14:56:36 BDT
Halo572 says:
I will add my vote to 'I usually only want one track'.

Whilst I like a nice piece of plastic that has no DRM and cannot be erased/corrupted/deleted I would rather pay 79p for one track than £4.99 for one track I wanted and an album I didn't.

I am very discerning and like all sorts of artists, but it doesn't meant to say I want their whole work, just what I have heard and like.

Posted on 22 Apr 2009 17:35:30 BDT
L. A. Prince says:
Vinyl is the way forward..

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Apr 2009 18:56:30 BDT
Mr. P. Osuh says:
A purist I see. :P I like Vinyl's unique sound and character. It's difficult for CD to copy and it's worth a lot more these days.

Posted on 22 Apr 2009 19:55:12 BDT
James1991 says:
Some songs at the moment are only 29p, including classics like "I don't wanna miss a thing" (Aerosmith) and new popular tracks like "Run" by Leona Lewis. That is why.

Posted on 23 Apr 2009 13:25:04 BDT
TJ Smith says:
I would add two points against downloading (even the 'I only want one track' brigade):

Firstly, the poor audio response

Secondly, and most importantly for me, if you buy a hard copy album (choose whatever format you like)
- either the original album or a compilation (artist or genre/label) - you get to hear other tracks and discover wonderful surprises.
Often, the most popular or famous track by an artist isn't their best! Imagine The Beatles purely from "Yesterday" (their most covered song).
Hardly representative (and not their best by a long shot!). I have discovered so many brilliant artists or songs or albums this way.
To think I would be ignorant of them if I hadn't taken a chance saddens me, and knowing there are other beautiful surprises out there to discover
is one of the great joys of life (and a brilliant antidote to our overhyped media-saturated world!)

In reply to an earlier post on 23 Apr 2009 18:23:55 BDT
Yeah, your right

In reply to an earlier post on 25 Apr 2009 19:23:12 BDT
Kay says:
I download for the convenience in that I get them there and then and I don't have to either wait for them to be delivered or go to a shops... I can just lie in bed, in my PJs and download what I want, whenever I want.

Posted on 26 Apr 2009 12:02:13 BDT
D. Smith says:
I love downloading - I've got 2 bookcases full of CDs and an attic with 300 vinyl LPs, yet I like being able to listen to the music instantly. I bought a £49 500gig hard drive to back them up on. Also, as proved on channel 5's gadget show - downloads offer a superior listening experience to either CDs or vinyl so you can all stop the elitist "sound quality " arguments! Link

Posted on 28 Apr 2009 14:59:38 BDT
DT says:
I prefer to have a physical object for my money than something I can't pick up and gaze lovingly at!
So I often buy the CD ... if I believe it has more than one good track on it. Sadly, I now have hundreds of CD's that don't!
The big problem I have is how to find the track I'm looking for ... even if I'm sure that I have it (which often I'm not!).
If I could resolve the variously incompatible format issues and find a system that really really worked with all downloads/mp3 players/PC's etc. (including Mac), then I would probably load everything onto a computery type format. Then I could search my entire collection at will. But that's such a huge task, and I really don't want to do that twice!
Most of the downloads I have (mainly iTunes) didn't come with any 'data tags' that work on a CD copy. So to get a CD copy with titles/CD text on it, I have to burn to CD (without text), then re-load as .wav files. Rename all the files manually. Then convert to mp3 (if desired) ... and re-tag/enter all the info there too. Then burn another CD with CD text on it. Finally I have a CD copy that is of some use to me. What a performance! Perhaps it would be easier to just go and re-record all the songs myself. If only I could sing!

Posted on 7 May 2009 10:22:47 BDT
Bahtat says:
an Interesting debate which I can add little to except I recently queried an Amazon download price which was 3 times the hard copy. I recieved the expected " our prices our competitive with other down load proveders etc" but a few days later they slashed the price. I dont know that they did this because of me but just maybe they did, so if you have a bad example maybe its worth asking the question

Posted on 8 May 2009 01:06:57 BDT
Andrew says:
Well downloading is better in my opinion. Most songs on an album you probably don't want anyway so why fork out the extra? Also downloading is instant and a includes album cover picture and correct song name & artist name. Whereas a CD may not.

Posted on 12 May 2009 07:37:37 BDT
Strider says:
mp3 is lossy, I don't think anyone with a decent music player would ever buy mp3s. If the tracks were offered in FLAC or similar then that would be OK. And then there's the artwork and so on...
I always buy the CD and convert it to FLAC for my home music players (sound's great through my monitor speakers) and mp3 for the car stereo. It takes a few minutes and still have the music in all my players available at any time (plus all the artwork and the CD itself). Now if only we had an option for larger artwork as in vinyl or, perhaps, available to download in high quality then THAT would be even nicer.
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Discussion in:  mp3 discussion forum
Participants:  227
Total posts:  330
Initial post:  16 Apr 2009
Latest post:  2 Dec 2011

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