Rodney Gedda's piece of the Web

Optus Music Store – an open option


I’ve often wondered if there was a music store out there that fulfilled my (not unreasonable) needs.

A few years ago I tried eMusic when it first came onto the scene, but didn’t get into it much as I never really caught on to the subscription model. It wasn’t the cost, it was my infrequent – and often sporadic – music buying habits.

This is what I was looking for in a digital music store:

  • DRM free. Note to record companies – if people want to pirate music they will do it whether the content is DRM’d or not. If I pay for a song at the very least I expect to be able to play it on any device of my choosing. I’ve never shared music and never will. If a person buys a physical CD they can then play it anywhere so digital music should be no exception. People will happily pay for music if it is a “fair deal”.
  • A la carte. As mentioned, I’m not a regular music buyer so paying a monthly subscription to access a quota of songs is not ideal for me. For music buffs it’s great. Subscriptions can dramatically reduce the cost per song, but I’d rather pay a premium to get the music I want on a song-by-song basis.
  • MP3 format. Sure it would be great to have OGG format, but MP3 remains the de facto standard and will more or less work on any software player or device.
  • Open interface. To hell with being locked into a proprietary application to access a music store. I want it 100% Web-based and standard. Don’t care about API access.
  • Easy payment. The ability to pay via credit card or PayPal would be good.
  • Recent selection. While I like the classics, having the latest music in the store is really a must, particularly when buying music as a gift for someone else.
  • Local presence. With the globalisation of the music industry firmly established this may well be a moot point, but if there is a digital music store with a local presence it may be easier to get “support” if you ever need it.

I didn’t think such a service existed up until a few weeks ago when I was asked to purchase a few songs for a loved one. I did some searching and found the Optus Music store at:

Unless I’m missing something it meets all my humble requirements. The store is “open” as anyone can register and buy from it (I’m not an Optus mobile customer) and it sells ringtones as well (with mp3 ringtone support in today’s smarter phones this may become obsolete soon).

At a flat rate of $AU1.69 a track and $AU16.50 per album I can purchase what I want at a predictable cost. As I said, It’s not about the cost, it’s about the freedom. BTW, what’s the going rate for digital music these days? Is $1.69 expensive?

So there you have it, I’m happy to wave the flag for the Optus Music Store as it seems unique within the Australian market.

And don’t forget the music player to rule them all just hit version 2.3. Rock on!

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