Thursday, April 29, 2004

A short review (very short) of the AllOfMp3.com service
There are a few things about this service that make it novel and excellent, and only a few minor drawbacks. Let me first say they have some of the artists you won't find at any of the other music stores (ahem... The Beatles.... how can one have a music store without the most influential pop band of all time). That alone might make it superior, but what truly makes the service is the cost. As I referred to below, you pay by the size of the songs that you download. Bandwidth must be cheap or stolen in Russia (where the service is based), because it's only a single cent for each megabyte of song size (2 cents if you require it to be reencoded to your specifications).

That segues into the next great feature of the service, choice of format. Most of the services available here in the US use Digital Rights Management (DRM) to restrict how and where you play the files. There is no DRM in the files from AllOfMp3.com! That is something many of us have been waiting for. The option to chose the format of the file is also huge. I prefer my music to come in a Variable Bitrate (VBR) format, so I get great quality in the parts of the song that need it (higher bitrate=better quality and higher size) but low bitrate in the areas that don't require it (like times of silence in a song).

The drawbacks:
-It's in Russia, where I'd be most concerned about pilfering of credit card numbers (I got around this by using a "Virtual Account Number" from my credit card provider that I can close after it has been used)
-The site keeps timing out (must be very busy), so it can be a nusiance to try to navigate it
-Song don't have any ID3 information, which MP3 players read to display the Song Name, Artist, Album, and other characteristics. You can enter it by hand, but it's a nusiance.

All in all, I dig it and plan to use it. The price is great, the format is great, and I can deal with the negatives.

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