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Warp Records is selling MP3s of

posted by Jason Kottke   Jan 14, 2004

Warp Records is selling MP3s of their catalog direct to consumers.

Reader comments

CoryJan 14, 2004 at 1:28PM

$1.35 is pretty steep. For an 11 track album (in this case, LFO’s Sheath), the total comes to $14.85. You can buy the same CD on Amazon for $14.99, but that includes insert and an actual CD. If you burn said mp3s, your cost likely goes above the retail of the retail CD.

Am I wrong in thinking that the cost of the mp3s should be less than the cost of the physical product?

Wow. Too much time today.

jkottkeJan 14, 2004 at 1:32PM

Looks like they are selling entire albums for $9.99.

KeithJan 14, 2004 at 1:46PM

I think this is a great idea. Hopefully more lables will look to get their music online like this.

Maybe we’ll get to a point where we can buy directly from an artist. Now that would be great.

GregJan 14, 2004 at 1:47PM

It is becoming increasingly clear that the universe wishes for me to attain bankrupcy.

rbJan 14, 2004 at 2:55PM

the interface is soooo bad. Tiny album covers with alt tags to identify them, no cross-referencing or linking from artist to artist. Other than that, they’ll get my money.

LukasJan 14, 2004 at 4:46PM

Someone needs to put together a list of “Great Warp Tracks You’ve Never Heard”.

LukasJan 14, 2004 at 4:50PM

OK, fine, I’ll start:

The Black Dog - Chesh
Gescom - Keynell
Wagon Christ - Spotlight (AFX remix)

Alex ReynoldsJan 14, 2004 at 8:43PM

Gescom’s Keynell is a Skam single.

LukasJan 14, 2004 at 8:46PM

True. OK, “Great Tracks Available on the Warp mp3 site You’ve Probably Never Heard Unless You’re a Sad Trainspotter”

JoshJan 15, 2004 at 12:16PM

Wow, I’d been a little skeptical of the ‘iTunes music store interface: a great achievment” idea — until I saw this site. I love Warp records, but jeez.

My recommendation is to get Autechre’s Envane EP, which is out of print and hard to find (until now).

TannerJan 15, 2004 at 5:18PM

The best thing that could happen with the Warp/mp3 sales would be for them to convince Boards of Canada to open up their golden vaults. *sigh* If only …

I too have issues with paying o’er $1.00 for an mp3, but if this trend helps to make out-of-print music accessible again, then it is what it is. Granted they said that about compact discs years ago, and there’s still a lot left undigitized.

And maybe I’m old school, but I’ll prolly forever be skeptical about mp3-only releases (talk about planned obsolescence), but that’s another thread for another time.

Natural TeeJan 16, 2004 at 11:26AM

Purchased one of my favorites just to test the system. Was deeply disappointed with the sound clarity (pun intended - the bass was awful). Love Warp, but please work on the quality. I’ll gladly pay a small amount more for the artifact and the ability to product my own high-quality mp3s.

samJan 16, 2004 at 11:44AM

I just bought AFX ‘Hangable Auto Bulb’, which came out *ages* ago on vinyl only; I heard about it when it came out but could never get it (uh, I don’t do vinyl).

I think the prices are pretty good, here in the UK. Yeah, it’s £1 per track (which by the way will probably be the same as the big evil DRM services when those launch, as they’re $1/track and we generally get £=$ pricing), which is not an unbelievable deal, but you get a proper, decent quality mp3 for that… and bear in mind that you don’t have to buy individual tracks.

Hangable Auto Bulb I presume counts as a single; it’s six tracks (well, one of them is a 6 second burst of silly noise, so call it five tracks - I really doubt anyone will be paying £1 to get *that* one), and it costs £3. That’s significantly under what the 12” would have cost when it came out, even ignoring the fact that it’s not available at all. Similarly, full albums are £7 - here in the UK, albums in the stores typically cost £13, and you normally end up paying £10-£11 online unless you make a big effort. So it’s significantly cheaper.

By the way, you pay slightly less in the US because they don’t charge VAT (our prices include that at 17.5%)… however the prices probably look less good both because CDs are significantly cheaper there, and because the dollar is rather low in value.

I definitely think they have a kind of triple-punch here:

a) no DRM (for me that is a required, necessary factor)
b) out-of-print back catalogue
c) prices significantly lower than real CDs

By the way, their interface is obviously tiny and silly but it does look cool (designers’ republic) - and actually the usability is better than you’d expect, considering. Ordering some tracks was pretty easy. They have put some effort into it.

(There were a couple glitches when I tried to download stuff - zip file didn’t work, individual track downloads worked but didn’t default to right names - which I’ve reported. Nothing major, basically it’s all good.)

This thread is closed to new comments. Thanks to everyone who responded.

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