This was, simply put, the best experience I have had buying music. To iTunes, Amazon, and all the other music peddlers, this is how to do it:
I heard a song on KUOI - how I find a lot of my new music - and decided that it was a truly splendid song - familiar yet edgy, allows the lyrics to take a place at the forefront of the song. Fantastic stuff really, and the only problem was that I had no idea who it was. This happens a lot on KUOI. I knew I had heard the rapper before, but couldn't place it. I started playing the .m3u stream off KUOI hoping it would come up again and tell me who it was. Well, two and a half months later, it did: "cars & trains ft. sole - rusty strings - the sky is clear." At least I now had an answer to who the rapper was, the fantastic Sole, but this song was a damn good Google stumper. First off, which was the band name and which was the song? I started by searching "Rusty Strings" - both Youtube and Google fail me as Rusty Strings is the name of a few songs and a band from Tahoe. Okay, I move on to attempt number two: neither "The Sky is Clear" nor "The Sky is Clear song" bring up anything of interest - well, except for George Straight and Explosions in the Sky (Guess which one I like more). Try number three, "cars & trains" nets me nothing either. Finally I try all of these with "music" at the end of them and end up here. Finally, three months later, I had found the song I was looking for. Now, onto buying the album.
Cars & Trains is a guy named Tom Filepp in a room in Portland who makes music as awesome as this stuff (look on the left of the page) and that page doesn't even have "The Sky is Clear" on it, the song I wanted to buy the album because. His "STORE" link took me to the market of Circle Into Square. I'm already thinking to myself, alright, let's see if we can get out of here for under $15 without any DRM ruined music. You know the type of small label I am afraid of. These are the best in the business though. Prices? $7 for an instant, DRM-free download. $10 for the same download and they'll mail you a hard copy CD too. $16 for the download and a AA T-Shirt by Tom Filepp. Did I mention this was Rusty Strings Deluxe, which had all the songs and remixes for every one? I got my DRM free, 320kbps .mp3 download immediately and chose the CD option so I could convert it to FLAC. They sent out the original CD, the deluxe CD, and a free download code for Consumer Confidence Volume 2, a CD which came out just the week before Rusty Strings. I must say, the next few albums I buy will be through them. I love their sound, I love the way they do business, and this was EXACTLY what buying online should be right now. My only beef was that I still had to provide the typical personal information to verify the Card and all, but that's a problem with the credit card companies, not Circle Into Squarea. Honestly I assume that people this cool to deal with will eat their own genitals before giving up my info. If they prove me wrong I'll pass that news along.
What it comes down to is that Circle Into Square is a label that knows how to make damn good music and knows how to sell it properly. This was, simply put, the best music buying experience I have ever had, as well as the best online purchasing experience I have had yet. Thank you.
Oh, and a little tip? Free music from Sole's new album is right here.
And here's a link to Fake Four, Inc.