I'm looking for an online music store that is not iTunes. The Ubuntu One store only offers indie stuff to Australia but my taste is quite eclectic and my dietary requirements mean that I need more than it could offer. What are some alternatives that are in/for Australia? Everything that I find is region locked to the US. Any news from our friends/saviours at Google about when they are opening their store? I'm not a Big Pond customer either. Cheers, Need New Notes
Dear Need New Notes,
As we established earlier this week, iTunes does a pretty good but not comprehensive job of covering the mainstream music market. Its dominance in the music space also means that it's the venue of choice for many independent artists. That said, there are plenty of reasons not to want to use iTunes, its unstable software and terrible update system amongst them.
As you've already discovered with Ubuntu One, many of the alternative online music stores have various regional restrictions. The Internet might be global, but many music contracts remain depressingly local in their scope, and the range of alternatives isn't particularly wide. There's been no word locally on moves by Google into the music space, and it's worth remembering that not every market Google enters actually ends up being successful for it.
So what are the options? You don't have to be a Telstra customer to take advantage of Big Pond Music, and its entry price of $1.60 for a single MP3 is a better offer than iTunes (though both do have higher prices on some tracks). There are also occasional specials on gift cards for the site, which makes for an even better deal. The other major local online music store I'm aware of are Bandit FM (a Sony-owned site, but with material from other labels as well) and the Optus Music Store (which, like Telstra, doesn't require you to be a phone service customer to purchase music).
Beyond that, I'm sure readers will be happy to share other music-buying sites that are good for Australians in the comments.