"You Want How Much?"

I made the decision recently that I was going to stop buying physical media and make digital purchases where possible. By where possible I mean that I will buy the digital media under the following circumstances:

  • when I can not buy a physical CD for a reasonable price;
  • when I can get the digital media in a lossless format1.

The new album from Vince Clarke and Martin Gore (collectively known as VCMG) was released today. I figured this was a good opportunity to try the new purchasing strategy and I decided to hop over to the artist’s page on mute.com to see about where to grab some digital goodness.

Step 1
The obvious place to look is the mute.com store. A quick search for VCMG reveals that they have a “Digital Album” for sale. And only £6.99. I click the link, and see that the format is 320kbps MP3s. That’s not what I’m looking for. Back to the artist page to try again.

Step 2
While on the artist page, I notice a mention of VCMG’s previous EP being available on Beatport. Beatport is a site I’ve used before and has a good range of electronic and dance music. I head over there and search for VCMG. Result. It says £7.65 for the whole album so I add it to my basket. Hmmm, now there’s VAT added. £8.80. Not so good. And it’s only MP3. There is an option to upgrade to WAV but at a cost of £1 per track! THis brings the total cost to £20.30. I’ll try elsewhere.

Step 3
I head to Google and search for vcmg ssss wav and find the second result is Juno Download. They’re upfront about pricing and show the options: 192kbps MP3, 320kbps MP3 and WAV. Their prices are fairly competitive for MP3s, but they still attract a £5.00 premium for WAV bringing the total price to £10.99. At nearly half the price of Beatport it is certainly an improvement, but it’s not what I’d hoped for.

I do some more googling around using search terms such as “vcmg ssss wav”, “vcmg ssss lossless”, “vcmg ssss flac”. Much of what comes back is in the form of illegal torrents, so I decide to throw in the search modifier “-torrent”. Still I get mostly illegal download sources.

This dancing around the web has become boring now so I go old-school on the problem. I hit up Amazon and bought the physical CD from there. For £8.99 I get the physical media and the ability to make FLAC and MP3 files from it. It’s annoying, but it’s still the best value out there.

  1. For now my preferred formats are WAV or FLAC. WAV files will be converted to FLAC for long term storage and the WAV files subsequently discarded.