4 February 2013

Where to buy music in lossless formats

The last CD has been ripped. I now face the problem of finding out where to buy lossless audio files.

Criteria for stores:

  • Must sell something I’m interested in listening to, i.e. not just folk and jazz.
  • Must sell to the US.
  • Must have more than a token number of releases available in lossless format.
  • Must sell music by someone I’ve heard of already. I know there are lots of talented unsigned artists out there, but I’m viewing that as a separate problem.

Before checking the stores on this list:

  • Try the artist’s official site.
  • Also, try the record label site.

Stores I’ve found:

  • Bleep, the Warp Records online store. First port of call for anything electronic, they carry music from many labels, including Mute, !K7, R&S, Planet Mu.
  • HDtracks. Very little electronic music, but some pop and rock—Björk, Kate Bush, Velvet Underground, Tubeway Army, the Kinks, U2, Rolling Stones, Beck, and so on. Often they only have one or two albums by any given artist.
  • Linn Records. Offshoot of the hi-fi hardware vendor. Slim pickings in the rock, pop and electronica, but a good selection of classical from Deutsche Grammophon.
  • Boomkat. Things that bleep and make noise. Of note, they have the Touch Records catalog in FLAC, which Bleep does not.
  • Beatport. Aimed at DJs, with a selection to match. They also remove tracks when they’re no longer in demand by DJs, so don’t wait around to buy.
  • Junodownload. DJ focused, but it’s the only place I’ve found that has most of the remastered ZTT back catalog in lossless.
  • Qobuz. French download store. Fancy some Jean-Michel Jarre 24 bit / 96kHz remasters? (If you get them, tell me if they’re worth the upgrade.)

© mathew 2017