Technology Tales

Adventures & experiences in contemporary technology

It isn’t all iTunes in the UK

8th December 2007

The iTunes store was a breath of fresh air following an experience of several OD2 offerings; broken downloads were a regular nuisance but that may have been down to my not having a broadband connection at the time. Its seamless mix of purchasing, downloading and playing impressed me so much that I used no other media player for my music in the days when I almost exclusively used Windows.

Now that i have jumped ship to Linux, having to fire up a Windows VM to hear my music is starting to feel a little over the top. The result is that I am keen to use DRM-free digital music when I can. Because I like to stay legal, it means that I would like to buy DRM-free files on the web. Here, iTunes leaves me down a little since most of what they offer is locked down and I have to burn a CD and extract from it to release music from its iTunes-only shackles.

So when I saw on an article on that made mention of 7Digital and that they purveyed unlocked music, my interest perked up. The file formats on offer are WMA, MP3 and AAC and there are high quality 320K variants of the latter two of these about too. Only the WMA files have any DRM associated with them. Previewing whole albums is a simple matter of clicking on a single button, a trick that iTunes would do well to learn. Payment using PayPal augments the usual credit card options and any purchases seem to be available for download more than once; pottering over to the My Locker part of your account gives you access to your purchases, another of its trump cards over iTunes. Downloading is on a file by file basis though and it is here that I notice an area usually addressed by a player like iTunes: the ability to download whole albums at once and background directory creation. Not having to have player has one advantage though: platform independence. Anyway, spot of shell scripting would resolve any file management gaps. Overall, there’s a lot to commend 7Digital and I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to return some time again. it might even usurp iTunes as my digital music store of choice…

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