1 Sept 2012

ITunes coming to South Africa and the alternatives

Pockets of the South African cyber community were metaphorically punching the air with jubilation as it was announced that the local itunes store is poised to be launched within weeks.  If you want to watch US TV shows that have yet to be licensed to be screened here and a wider selection of apps, I can understand why you'd be delighted by the news but for music there's a multitude of alternatives.

Unless you are one of the committed Apple fanboys/girls whose devotion to the brand is unwavering that is.  You dare not criticise the company's practices or products in their presence.  You'd be much safer denying the holocaust in Tel Aviv.  I guess I'm just not comfortable handing my money over to a company that wants treats me like a thief and would only patronise those who sell MP3s that are DRM free, but each to their own.

If you can't wait to posthumously fill Steve Jobs' pockets with your money, there are instructions on this website on how to set up a US itunes account.  If not, here a few websites that will sell you DRM free MP3s and accept your debit/credit card no matter where it was issued:

  • Simfy Africa - Launched this week, it's a good place to explore and stream music.  Althought it's not strictly a downloading to keep service, you can use it to listen to music while you decide if you want to buy.
  • Soundcloud - Also known as twitter for sound, it houses a lot of music and podcasts and artists even post links to where you can download their music. 
  • ex.fm - It pulls music and podcasts from anywhere on the web. Some downloadable.
  • Doubletwist - Not only does it mimic itunes, it's also useful for syncing sounds from itunes to any non Apple device.
That should be enough to keep you busy for now.  I'll update this list as and when I find more products.  The web should be open and people should have a freedom of choice as to which products they use and how they use them and should not be tied to one company.

UPDATE 04/09/2012:  According to this cnet piece, performers get paid under 1cent (US) whenever one of their tunes gets played by one of the popular streaming service.  So nothing has changed there then, record companies continue to rob the artists blind.  If you really want to support your favourite band so that they can make more music, it looks like you'll have to go and see them play live.

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