Where can we buy and download DRM-free (not app-locked) music files these days?

Seems like every topic about music sources devolves into yet another discussion about streaming platforms, but I think any audiophile forum should have a topic about downloadable music that you can listen to with any player you want. Didn’t think to create the topic myself until now because I was all set with the sources I had: between Bandcamp and Google Play Music I could buy 99.9% of everything I wanted in 320 kbps MP3 or better.

But now that GPM is gone I’m only left with Bandcamp, and most artists still aren’t on there.

  • I think Apple still sells music, but I’m not sure if it’s still DRM-free, and anyway I hate Apple with a passion and would not want them getting any of my money whatsoever.
  • Next big option would be Amazon… if I was in a country with its own Amazon website or had a credit card with a billing address in such a country. But I don’t. And Revolut also doesn’t work for this. So Amazon is also out.

What else is there?
HDTracks? Says it has DRM-free files and accepts PayPal, and not all are in the stupidest storage-devouring “hi-res” formats (just looked at one album that’s in 24/44.1, I could live with that).

Anything else?

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7 Digital is one other to try. They’re not hi res snobs so most of the content is available in 16/44 and it’s cheaper.

Bandcamp is by far my favorite though because the artists make the bulk of the purchase price because the artist owns the production company not a record company. That’s usually how it goes there.


Qobuz has a decent selection.

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With Qobuz you can choose in the app whether you want to import (only playable via the Qobuz app) or download (playable with all apps). You can also download the tracks directly via the browser and save them on your smartphone / computer. To play the tracks I use USB Audio Player Pro.

In addition, when downloading you can choose the quality in which you want to download the album and if there is a Hi-Res album for sale, it is also a little cheaper in CD quality to buy.

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“Not available in your country”, too bad they don’t want my money.

Also got that country exclusivity BS going on, no bueno. (Though TBH HDTracks also say in their FAQ that some releases might not be available everywhere because of licensing BS. At least they don’t close down their whole service by country, and the first album I was looking for actually is available to me.)

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Then go the pirate route! I mean seriously, if they won’t sell it to you, what are the options? lol


then take a look at the website at this link. I don’t know it yourself, but you might have one available.

I have bought some things from hdtracks.com before started using Tidal. Seems the page is still up and running

He got a point there. Honestly, that is the reason why I took that route. I live in Indonesia and my options are very limited. Qobuz and Tidal are not available in my country and my local CD stores had ran out of business. So, my option is pretty much to go to public or private trackers.

Can you VPN into a country that does sell what you’re looking for? That is, use a VPN to get an exit IP that allows you to buy from Qobuz or wherever?

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I use either HDTracks or Super Hirez (USA/CAN only)

Edit: Apperantly they just went down at the end of the year. Welp, time to find a new one.

Hmm, apparently some blockchain-based solutions are in the works hoping to revolutionize the music distribution industry.

Opus seems to be a smaller one of the names they mention, but they promise 90+% of the money going to the artists, even more than Bandcamp. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Need to look into these more (probably starting with one of the larger ones like emusic.com).

Don’t know how it didn’t cross my mind to look for it there, but ofc the Free Software Foundation also maintains a list of DRM-free music sources: Guide to DRM-Free Living: Audio | Defective by Design

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Oh FFS, they’re ruining Bandcamp now too. :frowning:

Had to dig around a bit to find a place to buy Yosi Horikawa’s recent-ish album/OST he made with Daisuke Tanabe, and the one place where it was available in FLAC was this Japanese store called OTOTOY: Daisuke Tanabe & Yosi Horikawa / A TROUT IN THE MILK Original Motion Picture SoundTrack - OTOTOY

Works with PayPal, has enough English text to be usable - goes on my list of viable stores.

Just stumbled on this and read up on what transpired, love Bandcamp. So sad when greed squeezes out people that actually care about the artists and build a platform for them to help promote their craft. I am glad they were able to form a union to show solidarity and get something out of the deal. :fist:

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MP3 is highly compressed & really sounds horrible. I know that now. I didn’t know that when I bought an iPod Classic 256 many many years ago. I bought all of the albums I liked & I picked mp3 instead of other options of much higher resolution at the time. It came out to 2290 songs. I also bought 14 movies. Still had 60% free storage space. That’s what is dumb. All the albums I bought could have sounded great instead of horrible.

320kbps Mp3 is fine. If you got stuff in the 100-200kbps range then yeah those are bad.

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Yeah, I was happy as a clam with my iPod Photo 60GB that I got on release and ripped everything to MP3 at the time (320kbps, VBR). After ripping my old CD’s into FLAC (still ongoing…) I can say that I haven’t touched my MP3 library since. Lots of subtle nuances being picked up as I am listening to my old (CD) music collection again. :headphones: