BLEEP is the new online store from warp records where you can purchase stuff and download it straight from the store. Like the whole iTunes idea, it costs 99p a track or you can buy a whole album for £6.99. They seem to have some backcatalogue as well as new releases too. You can also listen to the whole track – but it’s a little sneaky – after selecting a portion of a track, it plays for about 20 seconds then fades out. Good luck to them anyway – if you can’t beat em, join em and make some money out of it; unfortunately I feel most larger record companies would rather we all still used cassette tapes.

Update: So I purchased my first online album from Bleep! It was a completely painless process. I decided to get Boards of Canada first album, Music has the Right to Children. I selected the album, checked out using Paypal to charge my credit card for the £6.99 and then I had the option of downloading a ZIP file with the album or the individual tracks. I opted for the zip and it took about 20 minutes. The files are well encoded high quality MP3’s and they have no copy protection, so in essence I could give them to whoever I want – in reality I’m not sure I would.

My argument against downloading off the net is that I thought you wouldn’t feel like you “owned” the music like you do when you own a physical CD, but I think maybe we are just kidding ourselves. A CD is no more than bits and bytes with a shiny colour brochure attached. Amazingly, once I had purchased the album and started listening to it, I knew that I had bought it and it somehow felt different than ripping from a CD or downloading from a more unreliable source. Another thing is that the artist gets 50% of the cost of the sale (Although this was always the case with Warp’s CD sales too). The problem is that the music industry per se is stuck in it’s old ways – album sale profits goes back to their marketing department and breaking some manufactured band. People go to a ‘real’ music shop to browse and maybe they will find something but generally it is expensive, you go to buy what you went there for and there is no easy way of finding similar styles/bands/genres for that impulse buy.

Now for those people who only buy music a couple of times a year after the Brit Awards or for Christmas, this may be ok, but I would argue that the computing and the net has change the face of music forvever. Apart from the obvious creation of electronica and computer based beats which have driven our generation’s musical tastes as well as mp3s, ipods and the like. The net has allowed us to find music that we never knew we liked. Listen to one artist and or will tell you what else you should be listening to, their influences and album reviews. Online radio stations allow you to listen to the world’s radio (My current favourites have to be KEXP Seattle and, and you can watch and listen to club nights streamed after the event (DrumNBass Arena TV)…

I’m not saying I won’t be stopping going into FOPP to buy a 5 quid bargain CD anytime in the near future, but I think the shakeout for the music industry can only be good for music in the future.

One thought on “Bleep”

  1. I’ve only ever tried downloading through Napster and Kazaa before and always found it a bit of a nightmare experience. It wasn’t recently mind, so maybe things have been improving.
    The tracks I did manage to get were often poor in quality – freezing up or with breaks and bits missing.
    I suppose some quota of quality has to be guaranteed
    when you are paying.
    Maybe this will re-affirm my faith.

    Take it easy my friends.

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