Is DRM dead? As more and more music sites sell unrestricted tracks, PC Advisor investigates the best places to download your favourite tunes.
Established in 2004, 7Digital is a DRM-free music store that started in the UK but now has online stores in Ireland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Austria and Portugal.
Having completed deals with the four major UK record labels - Sony BMG, Warner Music Group, Universal and EMI - 7Digital's store offers more than four million audio tracks and video downloads in DRM-free MP3 format. Some DRM-free AAC and FLAC files are also available for download, all at 320Kbps quality. Prices start from 50p for individual tracks, £1.79 for videos and from £5 for albums.
The company also runs indiestore.com, a service that allows anyone to create their own download store through which they can sell their own records. It's a great idea, since iTunes, Amazon and other big-name stores won't deal with unsigned acts or labels.
If you want to sell your own music, it must be in MP3, AAC or WMA format. Artists can set the price of their tracks, specify release dates and view up-to-date sales data. It's possible to sell music in a number of European countries, set up your own blog and make use of the site's widgets.
Two different IndieStore accounts are available. The Starter account is a free service for those fairly new to selling their own music. It allows up to four tracks to be uploaded, but 7Digital will take a 30 percent slice of your profits. The Pro account requires an annual fee of £75 but allows artists to upload up to 20 tracks; it also offers promotion across the 7Digital network and an 80 percent cut of sales.
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