MP3 Players

Ditch the disc: A guide to online music in Australia

CDs are like so 1990s, man. If you're ready to ditch the disc, check out CNET.com.au's list of on-line music stores in Australia.

Ditch the disc: Guide to on-line music in Australia

CDs are like so 1990s, man. If you're ready to ditch the disc and want to disco over to digital, then check out CNET.com.au's list of the major on-line music stores in Australia.

First and foremost, iIf you're an iPod owner, you've really only got one port of call for licensed music -- the official iTunes Music Store (which can be accessed through the iTunes software). The vast majority of Australian music download sites cater exclusively for players that support Windows Media Audio (WMA) music files - Apple's little silver and white boxes can only play songs bought from the official iTunes store, which was recently launched after much delay.

And if this is your first time buying music on-line, be aware that each song or album you buy will have some sort of digital rights management (DRM) encoded onto it that determines the ways you can use it (such as how many times you can burn it to CD, what types of portable players you can play it on, etc). Be sure to read the fine print for each site. The only exceptions are MP3.com.au and Sound Foundation, which have no real restrictions on usage.

Last updated: 1st November, 2005

Australia's on-line music stores
Apple iTunes Music Store | Creative Music Store | DestraMusic.com | MP3.com.au | MTV Music | Mulemusic | nineMSN Music | Soundbuzz | Sound Foundation | Telstra BigPond Music

 
Apple iTunes
MP3.com.au


Features

Creative Music Store
Creative Music Store


Features

DestraMusic.com
destramusic.com


Features

MP3.com.au
MP3.com.au


Features

MTV Music
MTV Music (powered by Optus Zoo)


Features
No. of songs 1,000,000 300,000 500,000 70,000 150,000
Average price AU$1.69/song, AU$16.99 AU$1.49/song, AU$15/album AU$1.89/song, AU$18.95/album Free AU$2/song, AU$18.50/album
File format Fairplay protected AAC WMA WMA MP3 WMA
Requirements iTunes software, Windows 2000 or XP for PC, or Mac OS X v10.2.8 or later for Mac Windows 98 and above, Windows Media Player 7.1 and above Windows 2000/XP/ME, Internet Explorer 6 or above, Windows Media Player 9 or above. Any program that can play MP3 music files Windows 98 SE or above, Internet Explorer 4 or above, Windows Media Player 7.1 or above, Optus Mobile account (with compatible Optus Zoo mobile)
Restrictions
  • Music purchased can be played on up to five PCs
  • Single songs can be burnt to CD an unlimited number of times
  • Playlists can be burned up to seven times
  • Music purchased can be transferred on an unlimited number of iPods
  • You can burn the song up to three times onto a CD.
  • You can copy the song to up to three compatible portable music players.
  • Up to two reinstalls in the first year after purchase.
  • You can burn the song up to three times onto CD.
  • You can transfer it an unlimited number of times to three portable music players that can play licensed WMA files.
  • Up to four re-installs per year allowed.
  • None
  • You can burn the song up to two times onto a CD.
  • You can copy the song to up to two compatible portable music players.
  • Up to two reinstalls in the first year after purchase.
  • Compatible players Any Apple iPods or Motorola's Rokr phone. Creative portable music players. Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list. Any that can play MP3 music files. Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list.

     
    Mulemusic
    mulemusic


    Features

    nineMSN HMV
    nineMSN HMV


    Features

    Soundbuzz
    SOUNDBUZZ


    Features

    Sound Foundation
    SOUNDBUZZ

    Features

    Telstra BigPond Music

    Telstra BigPond Music


    Features
    No. of songs 200,000 780,000 300,000 1000 500,000
    Average price AU$1.69/song, AU$16.60/album (Prices will vary depending on when the song was released.) AU$1.49/song (Listening to a live stream of a song costs 5c) AU$1.49/song, AU$15/album AU$1.20/song AU$1.49 for BigPond internet customers. For non-BigPond customers it's AU$1.89. Albums are average AU$18.50 for non members.
    File format WMA WMA WMA MP3 WMA
    Requirements Windows 98 SE and above, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 and above or Netscape Navigator 7.0 and above, Windows Media Player 9.0 recommended. Windows 98 or above, Windows Media Player 7.0 or above, Internet Explorer 5.0 or above. Windows 98 and above, Windows Media Player 7.1 and above. Windows 98 and above, Windows Media Player 7.1 and above. Mac compatible Windows 98 or above, Windows Media Player 9.0 or above, either Internet Explorer 4 and above or Netscape 6 and above.
    Restrictions
  • You can burn the song up to three times onto a CD.
  • You can copy the song an unlimited number of times to up to two portable music players.
  • Up to two reinstalls in the first year after purchase.
  • Varies from record label to record label. Check Rights Information link beside each song/album for details.
  • You can burn the song up to three times onto a CD.
  • You can copy the song to up to three compatible portable music players.
  • Up to two reinstalls in the first year after purchase.
  • None
  • The computer you download the song licence to is the only one that can play the track.
  • You can burn the song up to three times onto CD.
  • You can copy the song an unlimited number of times to up to two portable music players.
  • Up to two reinstalls in the first year after purchase.
  • Compatible players Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list. Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list. Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list. Any that can play MP3 files. Any that can play licensed WMA files. Click here for the full list.

    Apple iTunes Music Store
    iTunes is finally up and running in Australia, and features an impressive number of tracks from both local and international artists. The iTunes Music Store also sells music videos and short films from Pixar for AU$3.39, which can be used exclusively on video-capable iPods.

    Creative Music Store
    Creative's Music Store works in the same way as iTunes', in which it's a program that has been customised to be an on-line store. You can download the MediaSource software from Creative's site, or if you're buying a new player from Creative it should be bundled in. The Media Source software, which is basically a re-tooled Windows Media Player but with the Music Store and Creative Soundblaster compatibility built-in, is only compatible with Creative players.

    DestraMusic.com
    Destra Music's site, one of the first in Australia to offer paid music downloads, also powers the on-line music stores of several leading Australian retailers, including Leading Edge, JB Hi Fi, Sanity and more. For a full list of retailers, visit Destra's website. Destra is also the company behind the free site MP3.com.au. destramusic.com (another fully owned subsidiary of destra) was the first company in Australia to launch a legal digital music service in December 2003

    MP3.com.au
    Before you rush off to MP3.com.au thinking that you'll be able to download Britney's best for free, be aware that the site is a forum for mainly unsigned artists to have their music heard. Artists from around Australia (and some internationally) upload their songs as MP3 files on the site, which means that there are no digital rights management issues to get your head around. If you're on the look-out for new music and want to sample some new sounds, MP3.com.au is the site for you.

    MTV Music (powered by Optus Zoo)
    MTV Music is an unusual beast in that it allows you to purchase songs either through your PC or through your mobile (providing you're an Optus customer), with the bill being charged to your monthly Optus mobile account. The service also allows you to download true tones for your mobile.

    Mulemusic
    Mulemusic has been up and running since February last year, and has a stronger focus on alternative and indie artists than some of the other music download sites - although you can still find your Delta's and George Michael's there.

    nineMSN Music
    nineMSN's music download store (which is officially co-branded the nineMSN HMV store) doesn't have a blanket DRM policy, with a spokesperson saying the rights vary from label to label. Users can check what a particular song/album's DRM is by clicking on the Rights Information link which should be present beside each song listed at nineMSN.

    Soundbuzz
    Soundbuzz was founded in Singapore and has an Asia-wide focus, which means as well as all the usual Western artists you'll find a great selection of Cantonese, Mandarin and Indian music. Soundbuzz is also the tech powering other local music sites such as Telstra BigPond, Creative' Music Store and Optus' MTV Music.

    Sound Foundation
    Sound Foundation was launched in May this year as a showcase for independent artists. Unlike the other online music stores, Sound Foundation tracks all of your purchases and allows you to download your songs as many times as needed

    Telstra BigPond Music
    It pays to have a BigPond internet account if you're planning to use BigPond Music, as you get a substantial discount from what Joe Public has to pay. At 500,000 songs it's one of the most exhaustive song list in the country, and a BigPond spokesman says they're adding roughly 1000 new songs a week to the site.

    What do you think of Australia's on-line music stores? Are the DRM limitations too restrictive? Let us know about your on-line music experiences by e-mailing cnet@cnet.com.au.