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FINALLY: Insound Will Start Selling MP3 Downloads!


By: Spacelab Research Staff
To be filed in the "It's about time" category. Indie web store Insound is announcing that they will finally jump into the 21st century with digital downloads, straight from the site to you. No more waiting, no more checking your mailbox. Unless you want to. Otherwise, now it's MP3 for you!

It's the age of instant gratification, and with that in mind, Insound has decided to also offer albums for purchase in MP3 format. They'll still sell CD's and vinyl, but now you can get the goods right at the time of purchase. They've decided to completely ignore any sort of digital rights management, or any crazy proprietary formats, and just give you the straight-up, MP3 file. It works on any MP3 player. Any computer. Plays for sure, indeed.

In a principled stand, Insound has decided to forego the individual single download in favor of the full album purchase — that means you buy all of the tracks. They've framed this up as a Save The Album campaign, but maybe it's better named save the band. And the retailer. iTunes and Microsoft don't make any money on their downloads, they break even on them and use their stores to sell the players, like the iPod and Zune. Insound will offer the full album only, which ain't entirely a bad thing.

“While the sale of individual tracks certainly makes sense technologically for pop music, it is fully not in the best interest of the independent music community. It hurts not only artists, but also labels, retailers, and distributors,” said Matt Wishnow, President of Insound.

“If I love Spoon, I love them for Series of Sneaks, Kill the Moonlight and Gimme Fiction and not for particular songs on those albums. We want to continue to nourish fans who feel this way about the album while allowing those fans to get their music in whatever format they prefer – CD, LP or MP3.”

The Save The Album campaign has a mini-site at savethealbum.com, which features videos of Devendra Banhart, John Darnielle (Mountain Goats), Tim Harrington (Les Savy Fav), The Walkmen, Colin Meloy (Decemberists), and Bloc Party (of recent Bloc Party fame); they all talk about their favorite albums.

“You want to shop at Insound? You want to call yourself an indie truist? Well, put up or shut up. We'll still have free sample MP3s. But we're not selling anybody anything for ninety nine cents. And we're not breaking up the album. Go somewhere else for that. We're here to sell you what the artists and labels want you to hear,” said a message on the Save The Album site.

The MP3 part of Insound is set to go live later this month. Arts & Crafts, Constellation, Vice, French Kiss and Polyvinyl are all in as of right now, with more labels on the way.


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