The Times writes about the music labels toying with the idea of selling products without poison oops I meant DRM. Chris Anderson takes it further, arguing that the economics of music favor performance over recording. (I’m not sure about that, I still think selling recordings is a good business). Andrew Orlowski over at the Reg has a lengthy and instructive interview with music management maven Keith Harris covering related territory. But the future is already here.

James Governor sent me a link to Tim Anderson writing about Linn Records, who are an interesting outfit. The other half of the company is Linn Audio, a successful and long-lived Scottish manufacturer of high-end audio equipment, generally regarded as very good by those who care about such things. I have a Linn pre-amp and CD player and am very fond of them. All the high-end audio makers say the (lavish, expensive) technology is just a footnote to the music, but Linn really means it, they’re actually in the business of producing and selling music not just hardware. I have Shostakovich’s Symphony #5 on Linn with Dmitriev and the Leningrad Symphony; both the performance and sound are lovely.

Anyhow, you can go to that Linn Records site and buy the music for download, poison-free, encoded either in the usual MP3, or in uncompressed CD-quality WMA or, for some of the music, “studio master” quality, at a higher bit-rate than native CD. The higher the quality, the more you pay. The prices are higher than the iTunes music store, but then you’re getting more and you’re not getting poisoned.

They can’t offer Apple Lossless Encoding because Apple won’t let them.


Comment feed for ongoing:Comments feed

From: David Glasser (Jan 29 2007, at 23:07)

See also the Philadelphia Orchestra, selling recordings of classic concerts and the current season as unencumbered MP3 and FLAC at


From: MilesZS (Jan 30 2007, at 05:54)

I recommend It's a young venture, but I love the model. Artists/Bands can upload their music (DRM-free!) and fans can purchase it. A song starts off as free, but as it gets popular, its price rises. The price is capped at 98 cents per song. After the first $5 (for bandwidth, space, etc.), the artist/band keeps 70% of the songs revenue. They also provide some tools to help artists/bands promote themselves, among other social features. Check it out yourself, there's more to know.


From: Michael MacLeod (Jan 30 2007, at 09:57)

Warp Records, who are in the business of selling mostly electronica records to folk have been doing this since January of 2004. Only, they do it even better, offering their wares in LAME encoded mp3's using the '--alt-preset standard' switch (regarded as being the best audio quality to file size ratio available in an mp3), as well as constant 320k/bit mp3, and also in lossless FLAC. All of these are 'open standards'. No DRM, no Apple Lossless Encoder that can't be played anywhere, just goodness all around.

In addition to the Warp Records fare, they also offer music from Domino, One Little Indian, Ninja Tune and Twisted Nerve. And according to the Wikipedia entry: "On its website, Bleep explicitly claims “after the bandwidth charges and Bleep running costs are subtracted, the artist gets half the album or track price.”" Which sounds reasonable to me.


From: Seth W. Klein (Jan 30 2007, at 12:46)

And see also which encourages "open source" music and sells DRM free tracks as well as CDs.

The CD part is good as far as I'm concerned because I generally refuse to pay for something I could download once and upload twice for no cost beyond what I already pay. Now if you offered to release a track/art/story for unlimited distribution if I (together with others) payed once, that would be a different matter.


From: dr2chase (Jan 30 2007, at 17:08)

Linn looks pretty cool; I found some Handel recorder sonatas right away that would be fun to have. I might as well give a plug to eMusic (which I do as often as I can, since I like their product and want them to stay in business). DRM-free MP3's, encoded with LAME at some variable bit rate that seems to usually land between 160 and 200 kb/s, and a good price per song if you buy all your monthly quota (30 for $10 is the most expensive plan, and that's $.33/song).

I've also had better luck, don't know why, with their browsing/suggesting facilities than what comes with iTunes. No idea why, but it's good when it works.


From: Pat (Feb 02 2007, at 16:43)

Heh - I've been enjoying for a few days now. Mostly indie stuff (which suits me fine) all in unencumbered MP3. Fewer tracks than, but no nagging feeling that you're funding the Russian mafia and the RIAA are about to smash through your door...


From: Kevin Marks (Feb 04 2007, at 13:05)

I'm a little puzzled by Apple 'not letting' them use their lossless codec, as anyone with iTunes or QuickTime can create the files. That said, they'd be better off skipping the lossless codecs and just using uncompressed files in AIFF or WAV, as they are far more resilient to bit errors, only about twice as big, and easy to play on any platform. I wrote on compression becomoing redundant 3 years ago:


author · Dad · software · colophon · rights
picture of the day
January 29, 2007
· Arts (11 fragments)
· · Music (90 fragments)
· · · Recordings (70 more)
· Business (106 fragments)
· · Intellectual Property (48 more)
· · Internet (99 more)

By .

I am an employee
of, but
the opinions expressed here
are my own, and no other party
necessarily agrees with them.

A full disclosure of my
professional interests is
on the author page.