Kevin C. Tofel of jkOnTheRun asks, Amazon opens beta of DRM-free music store. Are you buying?
Where else am I going to get MP3-pure jazz records by ECM (the name of Manfred Eicher's famous record label, his initials spelled backwards) for $5.99?
At Amazon.com's MP3 Downloads section, I searched for "ECM," then sorted the list from cheapest to most expensive. I picked out likely candidates, and then narrowed them down by listening to clips. This is what I got:
-- Gary Peacock: Tales of Another
-- Jan Garbarek Group: Photo with Blue Sky, White Cloud, Windows, and a Red Roof
-- John Ambercrombie: Current Events
Downloading was a bit of pain, and at times I was not sure if it was happening. First I had to download and install a special MP3 download applet. Another pain: I had to pay for each album individually. Then, after I paid for each album, Amazon queued one track a time for downloading, even when buying entire albums.
Amazingly, the purchase and download process worked with the Opera Web browser I use.
Eventually, all 19 tracks downloaded, but not to the folder I want; the Amazon MP3 downloader app creates its own folder, \(loginname)\Music\Amazon MP3.
Other annoyance: Amazon tries to be helpful and automatically add the track info to Apple's iTunes or Microsoft's MediaPlayer. I want neither, since I use the Quintessence Music Player, and so I don't even have MediaPlayer set up on my new HP TX1200 convertible notebook computer. But that didn't matter: each time a track was downloaded, the Media Player setup program appeared, and I had to cancel it. 19 times in a row.
So now I am listening to them at the best time to listen to jazz: in the late evening.
Which brings up another matter: Vista is cruddy for playing back music and movies. Frequently, there are audible "blips," the equivalent of a record player's clicks and pops. (Happens during DVDs, too.) "Cruddy" is the correct term. Shame on you, Microsoft, for creating the un-Wow.