This is so cool:
BLEEP – Digital Downloads from Warp Records
Warp’s been one of my favourite record labels for a really long time – the home of such greats as Autechre, LFO, Aphex Twin, and Sabres of Paradise, and now they’re offering mp3 downloads! They’re using LAME with ‘–alt-preset standard’ (which is good – I use ‘–preset extreme’, but I’m not feeding my mp3 collection across the web to the rest of the world) to encode their stuff too, which is just grand. And how’s this for a progressive attitude – they’re using mp3 because “We believe that most people like to be treated as customers and not potential criminals – DRM is easily circumvented and just puts obstacles in the way of enjoying music.” How cool is that? Looks like I’ve found another shelter from the storm of idiocy that is DRM. I’ll take this moment to plug EMusic too. Even though they were just bought out, and their download policy has changed (it used to be $15USD/month for unlimited downloads, and now it’s $10USD/month for 40 downloads with $15 and $20 plans at 65 and 90 downloads, respectively) they still are my number one choice for purchasing digital music. Their selection is excellent (no major labels, but I really couldn’t care less) and they use high quality VBR mp3s.

All this readily available (and inexpensive) downloadable music doesn’t stop me from buying music on physical media, but it does give me a way to try out new music without having to risk the $20-$40 bucks (imports are bloody expensive) on a CD, unheard.