Downloads & Availability: A Public Service Announcement

When looking for music downloads to purchase, I search the following sites 1:

Reissues and new popular music in HD

Acoustic Sounds

Reissues, new popular music in HD, CD-quality albums of all types

Pono (when they come back online)
Pop music and non-pop in CD quality
New music, not pop
Bleep (includes 24-bit releases)
Classical in HD and CD-quality
Folk, Blues, World
Smithsonian Folkways
These are the main sources of the music I buy. I also buy directly from record labels.

What To Do When a Download You Want is Not Available In Your Region or You Think It Costs Too Much

Buy the CD and rip it (see Computer Audio 101: Ripping and File Conversation Software). If there is no CD available, I recommend buying the LP ;-)

I mainly use Amazon and eBay for buying CDs (used & new) and on occasion Discogs and Squidco for harder to find jazz and avant-garde stuff. Some people have had good luck buying used CDs for good prices from Murphie Music.

1 Most of the sites listed above have geographical restrictions based on where you live (determined by your IP address). These restrictions may be label-based or site-based.

I've read that some people use tools like SurfEasy for online privacy which allow users to change their IP address. Note: AudioStream does not endorse the use of tools like SurfEasy to change your IP address to that of another country in order to purchase geographically restricted downloads.

CarterB's picture

They search most of the sites you mention

brucew268's picture

Don't forget CD Baby for CD quality from a lot of indie musicians. Some overlap with Bandcamp but a bigger pool over all.

bmoura's picture

Don't forget Native DSD Music. They have over 1,000 Stereo and Multichannel DSD Downloads. Primarily Classical and Jazz with some titles in Acoustic, Pop, Rock, Big Band and other musical genres.

There is a 1,000 titles sale through September 16th where the entire catalog at Native DSD Music is on sale at a 15% discount. Use the code THOUSAND to get the savings if you're shopping there soon.

ednaz's picture

I've probably got a conference room at HDTracks named after me... that's where I get most of my music, and their line of jazz remasters and Chesky Records recordings (like the current Macy Gray album... holy tomole...) sound amazing. The music at Qobuz that I've downloaded has been wonderful, but the selection tends into a lot of music and musicians I don't know. Thankfully some reviewers out there DO review music there, and that's led to Qobuz expanding my music world from time to time.

But if the choice is downloading 16/44 or buying a CD, I almost always buy the CD. After a lot of comparison pricing over the last year, the CD is almost always cheaper, and comes with much, much better liner notes and pictures. I rip the CD, scan the info, and put it in the pile of "road trip" CDs, since my car's system does DVD audio, but not Blueray audio, and nothing above compressed in digital files.

Thanks so much for the classical sites. I'm a fan of concert band music - having played in orchestras and concert bands for years and years - and that's a genre that is generally ignored. Maybe there's something out on those sites.

2_channel_ears's picture

I have all manners of resolution/format/media except perhaps DSD downloads. And I do have DSD CDs but no SACD cable player.

When I want to make a purchase it's often new (to me at least) and/or obscure artists. I look on their website for a download or LP, or I look in local independent shops, or I grab something at a show. I figure that way my bucks get the most mileage in supporting new music.

ASoundUpgrade's picture

There are a lot of Hi-Res selections from Japanese site Ototoy (including new and remastered DSD selections):

Plus, you can use your non-Japanese debit or credit card, worked for me so far!

There is also Sony's mora site that has an even wider selection of HiRes titles:

The drawback is that you cannot use a non-Japanese issued card, but there is a workaround (a guide I made):

There are other sites like e-onkyo, Victor's HD-Music, and Groovers (Japanese and Korean), but it seems like they are strict region locked, even when using a VPN. (E-onkyo used to be able to bypass via a VPN, but seems like they tightened security).

I picked a super niche of HiRes Music for Anime, Video Games, and Vocaloid music, and made a site to try to help those who also want HiRes music in those genres.

WilliamKelly1962's picture

That's a nice collection of websites! Thank you guys for sharing. I knew only Tidal and CD Baby. Let's start downloading! :D


JohnKing's picture

Just a typo alert, although you have the correct URL. I use as a full-res CD download site since I don't ever have them ship CD's to me. Prices aren't as exciting as they used to be but there are lots and lots of excellent titles for $3.00 each in every category.

monetschemist's picture

7digital is getting better and better. The Canadian site is; they will probably prompt US users to some other site. They:

  • have quite a few FLACs now (both 16 and 24 bit);
  • price pretty decently;
  • don't require installation of download crapware;

I understand 7digital is also going to be behind the resurrected Pono Music site. They are also behind Technics Tracks if I am not wrong.

Speaking of Technics Tracks, is another nice place to buy music. Also download crapware free.

For Canadians who run into territory restrictions on HDTracks, it's worth looking at although they do require the use of an Adobe Air crapware downloader.

And for Linux users, I recently discovered that there is now a Linux version of HDTracks' / JRiver's downloader available at the JRiver site. I deplore the use of this kind of stuff but at least now I don't have to borrow a windows machine just to fetch the music I bought fom them...

lbkwhitney's picture

I have found that Qobuz has, in any of the mentioned categories, an incredibly deep catalogue. I have found things there that I have not been able to find anywhere else. It is also a very intuitive website to maneuver. Qobuz is a treasure for music lovers.