So I got gift cards over the holidays for both Amazon and iTunes.
I find using the Amazon MP3 store easy, enjoyable and quick to load. There are also tons of sales all the time and lots of free stuff.
I find the iTunes store loads very slow, the search function is slow (really awful on iTunes too) and the prices are absurdly high.
It’s kind of like it eBooks where Apple tried to push the price up. They like charging a lot for things (and I think take a bigger cut).
So I thought I would check out some albums and see the price between each. Will do Amazon CD, Amazon MP3, and the iTunes store.
First is Janet Jackson’s “Design of a Decade 1986-1996” is $13.99 on both, and on CD for Amazon costs $8.80.
Next is a feature on iTunes. I did see it was on sale on Amazon earlier so this could be a cheat. The new Les Miserables movie soundtrack. $5.00 on Amazon vs. $15.99 on iTunes. I could see some change but it’s radical it’s that much.
For comparison wanted to check the Les Miserables 10th Anniversary Concert. It’s $17.99 on Amazon MP3 vs. $19.99 on iTunes. Closer in price. Amazon CD at $14.93 wins.
One of my favorite albums, “American IV: The Man Comes Around” is $8.49 on Audio CD, $9.49 on Amazon MP3, and slow to load the search on the iTunes store and not coming up on initial search. Nor is there anything else I might be interested in finding that could be more money for Apple. It’s actually not available in the iTunes store. That’s pretty bad.
Checked on one song on American IV by Johnny Cash to see where available and it’s only in the “Unearthed” box set. It’s $44.99 on iTunes, unavailable on Amazon CD (new $235, used $129 but not through Amazon that’s 3rd party), and $40.64 on Amazon MP3.
Now I am curious about one of the big albums of the 1980s and my favorite U2 album “The Joshua Tree”. Similar pricing on this one. iTunes is $9.99, Amazon MP3 is $9.49, and Amazon CD is $10.99.
One of my dad’s favorite records which is just a phenomenal jazz session is Duke Ellington’s “The Great Paris Concert.” Just had my brother in law digitize it for me. It’s $14.99 on Amazon MP3, $14.91 on Amazon CD (current unavailable) and
Then I noticed through Amazon Mp3 that Duke Ellington’s “Ellington at Newport” was only $1.78 on Amazon MP3, which is a steal. And reasonable at $4.99 on iTunes, and $3.98 on Amazon CD.
The more complete “Duke Ellington 1956” because the original recording was lost and the “Ellington at Newport” was a studio recreation is $13.09 on Amazon CD and not available on iTunes or Amazon MP3.
Really I love to have a lot of this stuff on vinyl and need to set that up. Ok so breaking for Dominion: Dark Ages and going to pick out 10 random albums not through searching Amazon and see what happens.
Then I wrote in some LPs and CDs to check on.
From my record collection: (ACD = Amazon CD; AMP3 = Amazon; iTunes = Apple iTunes Store; n/a = not available)
Donovan’s Greatest Hits: $5.99; $9.99; $9.99
Sweet Charity: Original Broadway Soundtrack $7.99; $9.99; $9.99 – Decided to buy “Big Spender” on iTunes for 99 cents.
Bob Dylan – Street Legal $4.99; $7.99 ; $7.99 Price fixing in the MP3 world on catalog stuff?
Apocalypse Now Original Soundtrack $17.09 on Amazon CD not available on iTunes or Amazon MP3
The Greatest of Nat King Cole — Found the “Very Best of Nat King Cole” but not this record. On Amazon $9.99 for CD and MP3; $12.99 iTunes
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band Live 1975-1985 $26.86; n/a; n/a
and records I just thought of
Bitches Brew – Miles Davis – $14.73; $14.99; $14.99 Basically a tie.
Blonde on Blonde – Bob Dylan – $9.75; $9.99; $9.99
Thriller – Michael Jackson – $6.99; $9.99; $9.99
Thriller 25th Anniversary Edition – Michael Jackson – $13.27 on Amazon CD no MP3 and there is a “Deluxe Casebook Edition” for $21.59. Sometimes you just want the record.
ITunes has a 35 track version of the Deluxe 25th Anniversary Edition for $19.99 and a 16 track deluxe edition for $11.99. There is also a Zombie Edition for $13.99 with 21 tracks. Sometimes it gets silly. Might look into the 16 track version. I do need this album on CD.
Kind of Blue – Miles Davis – For iTunes have a regular version for $9.99 and a “Legacy Edition” for $16.99 with a bunch of Bonus Tracks. For Amazon there is a $6.99 CD and a $5 MP3. If you don’t own this it’s worth getting on MP3 at least. One of the greatest records of all time.
Blue Train – John Coltrane – $6.99; $5; $9.99 — Easy win for Amazon MP3. Excellent record.
Document – REM – $9.49; $9.99; $9.99 – iTunes also also a 25th Anniversary Edition for $14.99 which is $13.55 on MP3 for Amazon and $25.23 on CD.
Nevermind – Nirvana – $14.64; $9.49; $7.99. iTunes with a rare victory.
Ten – Pearl Jam – $6.99; $11.99; $9.99/$11.99/$16.99 ITunes has 3 versions available. Audio CD wins again.
Best of the Songbooks – Ella Fitzgerald – $9.49; $9.49; $9.99
In general getting the CD was the cheapest. And on these CDs in general the price was the same for Amazon MP3 and iTunes. Also much easier to search the store when you type in something else and copy the text to iTunes, which is kind of insane.
Then you get something like MP3Splash.com that just looks odd to me but prices are much lower. Not sure how well these are authorized. Looked at a comparison site called MP3 Obsession, haven’t tried the sites they mention, seem very odd let me know if you have heard of sites like MP3 Million
And of course I look at something different completely and get Duke Ellington And The Buck Clayton All-Stars At Newport for $1.78 on Amazon MP3. Not on Amazon CD, or iTunes.
Then I bought “Satch Plays Fats” ie Louie Armstrong plays Fats Domino on Amazon CD for $4.99. Was $9.99 on iTunes and $8.99 on Amazon MP3.
I like Amazon MP3, and am skeptical but curious of these alternate sites, let me know if you know anything about them or have used them. I do believe in paying for music and artists making money. If these alternate sites don’t do that I will just stick with Amazon’s MP3 store.
iTunes made 99 cents while writing this, Amazon MP3 got $1.78 and Amazon CD got $4.99. So that says something too. Especially because I still have $12.51 left on my iTunes gift card, but my Amazon gift card is long gone. I love doing these long and bizarre blogs. My brain really does work this way. And at thousand plus words, it’s time for me to stop.