With all the talk of Apple and EMI and iPod and ACC and MP3, I realized something yesterday: I don't download songs. I wondered, "Why don't I?" Here's some of the reasons:
1. Downloading is a hassle. The sites want all kinds of information, including credit card info -- even when I have a free download credit. And before that, there's the difficult methods of trying to find artists and albums. Too often, albums are the Greatest Hits variety, not the originals. Too often, multiple versions get in the way: extended, dance, new mix, greatest hit...
2. Downloading is song-oriented, not album-oriented. I'm an album kind of guy, who thinks that the band created a concept by selecting songs and placing them in specific order. Even when I download an album's worth of songs, they are treated by the music site as a group of individual songs.
3. What happens to downloaded songs? Generally, they are on my computer, but in which folder? And they might be downloaded to one of the other six computers in this house. I recently came across a folder named "Track" in my computer that had a bunch of songs I got from eMusic a year or two ago. Surprise! So that's where they ended up.
4. Mis-organizing the songs. Then there is the problem of naming downloaded songs. I have a track downloaded from eMusic named:
 (The Temptations) The Ultimate Collection  Treat Her Like A Lady Album Version (1).mp3
That makes little organizational sense to me. And doesn't sort well. Who is the culprit: did eMusic name the track that way? Or my downloading software?I dunno, and I don't want the hassle of trying to figure it out. Nor do I want the hassle of renaming each track sensibly.
5. Previewing tracks never seems to work. Some sites let you listen to the first 30 seconds of each song, but either the Web browser locks up or the track is "unavailable." Another lost sale.
6. Downloaded songs can be much more expensive than CDs. While the prices of some CDs have zoomed into LaLa Land of $20+, many are now reduced to $10 or less, and can cost something like 40 cents a track -- way less than the 99 cent standard of download sites.
In summary, I no longer download tracks -- even with free coupons. Instead, I listen to streamed Internet radio stations, like Radio Paradise, or buy CDs.
With the CD, I can listen to the CD at the store before purchasing, I get a physical copy, I get the album art and lyrics, and I can (legally) make a copy for my MP3 player as a backup. The only downfall to this is that stores are stocking fewer CDs as sales fall. Oh well, I have an 800+ collection of records and CDs, and buying fewer CDs saves me $$$.