I like music, but getting it stresses me out. There are good pay services like Rhapsody with almost infinite catalogs, but they’re terrorists and don’t work in Sri Lanka. iTunes, also, doesn’t officially work in Sri Lanka and is way overpriced. That leaves internet radio and piracy. Pandora is supposed to be good Internet radio, but block Sri Lankans. Instead, I use last.fm and Hype Machine for internet radio. I’ve also started using SoulSeek for downloading individual tracks. None of these solutions are ideal, but I’ve listed some options below.
I think paying for music is good. However, one doesn’t really pay for the music per se. With LPs, CDs, etc you pay for the physical delivery mechanism. The distribution, essentially. I’m perfectly willing to pay for music online if they give me an enhanced experience. I mean, downloading and filing and organizing MP3s sucks. When I was in Canada I paid about $15 a month for Rhapsody. This let me stream infinite music to my computer. I could listen to Hindi music, B.B. King, The Killers, whatever, instantly.
Rhapsody now also syncs with handheld iPod type players like the Ibiza Rhapsody. I own one of these and it has WiFi built in, so I can download stuff anywhere with an internet connection. However, Rhapsody won’t accept my SL credit card and it’s a pain in the ass to get someone there to send me their credit card number. They also shipped me the hot pink instead of the white I ordered and it’s damn kindi to carry the thing around. I tried, but it’s essentially bricked.
This leaves me back on the shady side of things. Not out of choice, but because there are no legit options really available to me in Sri Lanka. I guess I could buy Rs. 2000 CDs from Odel or M-Entertainment, but I don’t like CDs. So there are a few options for downloading.
BitTorrent is a sexy little algorithm that’s good for downloading large things over a decentralized network. I’ve previously used Vuze to search and download stuff. It is, however, not ideally suited for downloading individual tracks. I’ve been able to download entire artist discographies of GBs each, but then I find a lot of stuff I don’t want to listen to and don’t have time to delete. Hence.
There are other options for old-school Napster style file-sharing. However, those things like BearShare and LimeWire are infested with spyware and STDs and are almost guaranteed to mess up your computer and give you unexplained rashes. I don’t recommend them at all. SoulSeek is a simple program I used to use in University which is actually a decent community centered around file-sharing. It’s working OK for me now. I basically listen to stuff on Hype Machine and last.fm and download a few tracks to carry around. Not ideal, but what it is.
What I’d Like
What I’d like is a celestial jukebox. A 3G, mobile device that can both download and stream tracks without ever connecting to a computer. I think the iPhone now does this and has apps for both last.fm and Rhapsody. I would do, but it costs like $700 and I don’t need the other functionalities. I just want a simple music device that works over the mobile networks. In time, inshallah. If it gets put together I’m willing to pay.