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So last night I did something I didn't think I would do, I bought an downloadable album in MP3 format. Usually I prefer to buy lossless FLAC, but after a good show I tend to be in an acquisitive mood. The band was using isongcard.com. The gimick is you give your money to the band at the show and the give you a card with a code on it that allows you to download the album. I can see the attraction from the band's point of view: you actually make the sales, rather than a vague possibility that someone might go to your site later, and you don't have to carry crates of CDs around with you. From a consumer point of view, it is not quite as satisfying as carting off a CD, but maybe I am in the last generation that feels that way.
At first I thought this might have something to do with itunes, which discouraged me because I have to borrow a computer (ok, borrow it from my wife, downstairs, but still) in order to run Windows, to run itunes. But when I saw the self printed cards with hand-printed 16 digit pin numbers, I thought there might be hope. And indeed, it turns out to be quite any-browser/any-OS-friendly. I downloaded the songs using arora, and they are ready to go. I have only two complaints (aside from the FLAC thing).
I had to download each song individually. Some kind of archive (say zip) would have been preferable.
The songs didn't have any tags.
So overall, kudos to isongcard (and good luck fending off Apple's lawyers about your name).
Apparently a 90 m2 appartment in Ulaanbaatar goes for USD600 a month. No offence to the residents of Ulaanabaatar, but that seems pretty expensive to me. The things you learn from spam.