As I mentioned earlier I was browsing HDtracks looking for some Jazz. The site has a great interface for discovering new music. It allows customers to browse several subcategories of each genre. If you've ever tried browsing or searching for new music on Amazon you understand how difficult some retailers make it to get what you want. So, I browsed Jazz for a little while, then another little while, and another, and another ... I loved the experience and couldn't stop listening to sample tracks, then clicking back to the main list and browsing more. Just because the interface is fabulous doesn't mean you will spend less time on the site!
I purchased Terell Stafford's Taking Chances Live At The Dakota for a couple reasons. The album is Jazz and has a lot of trumpet, but was also recorded at the Dakota Jazz Club and Restaurant which is literally four miles from my house. If you're ever around Minneapolis I highly recommend visiting the Dakota for a great evening of Jazz. The club is right in Downtown Minneapolis along the Nicollet Mall, a street closed to automobiles and frequented by pedestrians. For those Mary Tyler More fans you can have your picture taken next to a statue of her tossing her hat.
Once I added the album to my cart it took about three clicks and the music was downloading to my desktop in uncompressed AIFF format. The Mac OS X download manager is the most unobtrusive aplication I've used to download music. You download it right from the HDtracks site as part of the process. There is no hunting for a good app or reading through FAQs to find it.
Once the download manager is launched and you enter your username and password the music starts flowing! The first thing to download is the liner notes in PDF form. While the rest of the music comes down you can peruse the cover art just like you do when making a physical purchase.
Since I had already selected AIFF as my format of choice all my music was in this format when i arrived on my desktop. There was no converting or adding cover art to do. I opened iTunes and selected Add To Library and I was done. I was literally listening to Terell Stafford so fast I couldn't believe it and how easy the whole process was. I even emailed David Chesky to tell him what a great thing they have going.
I've said it before and I say it again, If you haven't downloaded music from HDtracks yet, what are you waiting for?
P.S. The album I downloaded sounds fantastic and the music is equally compelling.