I was reading the economist and ran across a mention of Magnatune, a record label that sells exclusively on-line. Although you can buy a CD from them they also sell all their music in a variety of formats without any DRM. This includes, btw, WAV and FLAC formats which are completely lossless. They also make all of their music available as MP3s for free so you can try before you buy, no strings attached, no memberships, no log-ins, nothing. Before finding Magnatune I had spent exactly $1.07 on music this year and that was for a song I downloaded from iTunes. The reason I don't buy much music is that I don't find much music to like. Maybe it's just me but radio is a waste land filed with the same music I've heard for years. What is great about Magnatune is that it allows me to try out lots of music and decide what I like. Although a lot of their music is 'out there' (they intentionally specialize in genres that they feel mainstream labels do a bad job with) I was generally impressed with both the quality of the talent as well as the production quality of the music. Magnatune seems to perform the job that I think a good label should do – quality control.

My favorite find on Magnatune is Dr. Kuch. They are a French techno dance music group and they are a lot of fun to listen to. I also really like Trevor Pinnock who specializes in baroque harpsichord, I adore harpsichord so his music is a real treat. Last but certainly not least is John Fleagle. I have to admit that Mr. Fleagle's music is probably not for everyone or even most folks. He sings Medieval songs in their original language with period instruments. I think the music is a bit of an acquired taste but his voice is just beautiful. For a relatively easy introduction you may want to try his song "George Collins" although I think "Twa Corbies" and "Death and the Lady" are more interesting.

In any case I'm extremely happy to support a company like Magnatune. They represent a reasonable approach to digital rights. The RIAA on the other hand makes me ill and I use the RIAA Radar to find out which albums are released by members of RIAA so I can avoid them.

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