Why CDs Are The Best Way Of Buying New Music In Australia

Fed up looking through the Australian iTunes store and wondering why albums still cost more than they do everywhere else in the world? Not down with forking out for a music subscription service that might see your fav tunes yanked from their library at anytime? It’s time to turn to an old, neglected friend. The CD.

That’s right. CDs — ‘compact discs’ in the old tongue — could now be your best bet for acquiring music in a more convenient, cheaper and, as an added bonus, totally legal fashion. We’re not talking about buying second-hand CDs on eBay. We’re talking brand-new music like, say, Taylor Swift’s recently released record 1989.

That’s what Gizmodo editor in chief Brian Barrett discovered when he went shopping for Swift’s 1989 on Amazon. The self-confessed cheapskate discovered that a physical copy of the album on CD was 25% cheaper than a digital download.

But wait, there’s more! “The weirdness really sets in, though, when you realize that Amazon’s AutoRip feature means that the 1989 CD tosses in that same MP3 album for free,” Barrett writes. “You can download it immediately.” What?!

As Barrett explains, given that Kindle eBooks are often more expensive than paperbacks, and digital prices are negotiated separately, it shouldn’t have come as a huge surprise.

At this point, some of you are going to point out that Amazon’s AutoRip isn’t technically available in Australia. But there’s stacks of evidence showing exactly the opposite.

For instance, last year PC World reported that an Australian billing address will still see the MP3 album reach your Cloud Player.

“We were able to purchase a CD using Australian billing details and had a copy of it sent to our Cloud Player immediately. We’re not sure if this is an oversight on Amazon’s part — even our receipt says that AutoRip is only for U.S. customers,” posted PC World.

Though exchange rates and shipping to Australia can add an extra cost, using the Taylor Swift example you’re still gonna come out ahead. The price of purchasing a digital copy of 1989 on Amazon or iTunes Australia is still more expensive than buying the CD, shipping it to Australia, and receiving the digital copy as a bonus. Send the CD to your US friends or family, if you want — there’s usually no shipping costs at all in that case.

Don’t forget all the other benefits of CDs, either. Packaging, cover art, liner notes and credits, and a kick-ass collection to show off. Not to mention other people can’t change the record at a party with a simple press of button. God, I hate that.

Barrett explains that this “inexplicable” economic instance of getting what you want but “less expensive and with a bonus” is most probably due to a loophole that Amazon takes advantage of to work around the set price of digital content.

“Amazon can work around that price if it knows you own a physical copy of the music, in which case it can essentially gift you the MP3 version without paying the artist and label extra money.”

Barrett concedes the ability to buy a CD and getting a free MP3 version via Amazon has been around for years, but that it’s probably been overlooked by those thinking the humble CD’s time had come and gone.

So what are you waiting for? Ignore the tech-heads, dust off the CD rack and get on back to 1989.

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