Most everyone who’s been paying attention knows by now that Tzadik has put their entire discography, nearly 400 albums, online at eMusic.com. I think this is unbelievably awesome, and is going to result in Zorn’s label getting a lot of money out of me at least. However, I’m only using emusic for the unfortunately brief (30-second) free previews, figuring out what I like, and then going to a real record store to buy the actual CDs. I’ll probably sign up eventually for $10 a month just to download a full track from each album that sounds promising, and make more informed decisions based on that.
Call me old-fashioned, maybe, but the true reason behind this decision to buy actual CDs isn’t necessarily that I like having a real CD with real packaging — although that is also true. The real reason is that emusic is kind of behind the times and only offers downloads as lossy MP3s. If they offered FLACs, I might rethink. Still, this is extremely cool, and who knows — I might download full albums I might not like quite enough to buy the actual CD of.
Also, another eMusic flaw is that they seem to charge by track — you pay a certain amount to be able to download a specific number of tracks per month. They don’t seem to have a download-by-album option, so you pay a lot more for an album that has 20 short tracks as opposed to 3 long tracks. Maybe once you sign up a solution to this problem becomes apparent. It does seem like a pretty major issue.
You can browse Tzadik’s catalog at emusic from this starting point.