(A Million Flowers post)

Magnatune: To be honest, Magnatune probably should have been my first example, but I think I had Amie Street on the brain the other day. (that’s not a crack against Amie Street, though…heck, I think I’ll just shut up about this now. I like ’em both).

Magnatune is pretty much the poster child for doing EVERYTHING right in the music space…it’s really an amazing label. Magnatune has from day 1 sold all music with no DRM, and they make every format imaginable available; MP3s of various qualities, FLAC, up to raw WAV duplicates of the master CD. You can choose and all of them. You can also re-download anything from your catalog if you need to (computer crash, etc.)…just make sure to give them your email address when purchasing, and they’ll re-send you the download link at any time. It’s like they trust you or something…

In fact, they do more than trust you. They ask a favor of you; they ask you to share your purchases with your buddies. Yep…Magnatune explicitly asks you to forward along your download email to 3 friends you think will like it! Crazy like a fox…I’ve had friends make purchases there based on my share, which is of course the point.

Magnatune certainly isn’t a mainstream label, but I find that an advantage, to be honest. The founder (John Buckman) sells music he likes…classical, world, ambient, electronica, rock…there’s a little bit for just about everyone, though you certainly won’t find Britney Spears or The Beatles. (Which is good, imo.) And since you can stream every single song for free, you know what you’re getting. Many people just use Magnatune’s streams to find new artists and enjoy great background music. Find something there you like, click over to the artist’s page, listen to your heart’s content, then make the purchase!

Oh, that’s right; I haven’t even yet mentioned the payment model. For any album, you choose your own price! The range is (US) $5-18…and 50% of whatever you pay goes directly to the artist. You lose nothing by paying less other than karma…you gain nothing by paying more other than knowing that you’re supporting a great label and an artist you like. I usually pay $8-10, depending on the length of the album, and how much I like it.

Give Magnatune a try…it’s listings encourage exploration and discovery. I predict you’ll find something you like.

There’s a reason Magnatune is so cool…the founder, John Buckman is a really, really smart guy, with ethics to boot. Buckman sold Lyris (mailing list/email marketing software) several years back, and made his Internet fortune. Like many entrepreneurs, he couldn’t stay out of the ring for long, but his ideas about the music industry and experiences with his wife releasing her own CD inspired him to start Magnatune. He hasn’t stopped there, though…I also use his crazy-cool book swapping service Bookmooch, I read both his and his wife’s blog (she’s also awesome, and a very talented musician), and generally think the world of the guy. People like John Buckman inspire me to try great things. Thanks, John.

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