Late last year Ellen Foley released three new songs. It’s the first new material released under her own name since 1983’s Another Breath. If there would have been a physical release (even if it’s just a burned CD), I would have been the first in line to pick up a copy, but alas, it’s downloads all the way. So I’ll have to make do with the mp3s I pried from MySpace.

(By the way: when will artists understand that a MySpace profile is a marketing tool only, and should never be your primary web presence? You can only control it as much as the MySpace people allow you to. And it’s fugly.)

It’s not that I’m fundamentally opposed to purchasing downloads. It’s just that I’m picky. There are four things a download store must offer before I consider grabbing my wallet:

  1. No DRM. Ever.
  2. I will not install any software in order to download some music. Just give me a link to a file.
  3. I strongly prefer lossless audio files (FLAC). If that’s not an option, I’ll settle for high quality MP3 or Ogg Vorbis.
  4. No funny shit like ‘album only’ tracks and pre-order exclusives. Either all tracks (including bonus tracks of the various physical formats) are individually available, or you sell full albums that aren’t physically available at all.

As examples, I’d like to name and Burning Shed’s Porcupine Tree store. Both offer downloads as FLAC and a lossy format. It looks as if the Amazon MP3 Store would fit my criteria, but it is unavailable in The Netherlands.

I don’t think I’m asking too much. What I’m describing here is a store where you can click and buy high quality, DRM-free files without much fuss. I’m all for supporting the artists, but if they insist on only using iTunes, well, tough luck for them.