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CDs to downloads: the noose tightens

I’ve just received my copy of David Bowie’s A Reality Tour, a double CD for which I paid £11.98 from Amazon.co.uk – though if I’d waited a few days, I would have been able to buy a US import for £8.59 including shipping, at today’s prices.

For my money I get a tri-fold package with photos from the tour, and a 12-page booklet with more photos and credits.

The CDs between them have 33 tracks – not bad value.

Still, I could have downloaded from Apple iTunes for £9.99 – which is a little less, or a little more, than the CD price depending whether you compare with what I paid or the best current deal.

What is annoying though is that the iTunes download has two additional tracks:

  • 5.15 the Angels Have Gone
  • Days

They are probably nothing special; but it is irritating.

On the other hand, iTunes has its annoyances too. The tracks are lossy-compressed; and even if you don’t think the difference is audible, that is still a disadvantage if you want to convert to some other format, as generational loss creeps in. I miss out on the packaging (though there may be some digital booklet, I’m not sure). In addition, the rights I purchase are non-transferable, so if I decide I don’t like the album, I can’t stick it on eBay to reduce my loss.

The end result of each purchase is similar, as I rip the CD for streaming anyway.

On balance, I think the CD is a better buy; but I can see where this is going.

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