I think I’ve glimpsed the future, and it’s available now at Audio Lunchbox!
Chris Anderson pointed me to Audio Lunchbox in his Long Tail Blog posting on niche aggregators.
AL offers downloadable music for the same 99 cents a song as the other downloading services, but the songs are available in regular mp3 or ogg vorbis formats.
While there isn’t the same breadth of major label coverage as at iTunes or Napster, it’s not just totally obscure artists either. Names I recognize from an initial perusing range from Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros, Doc Watson, and Steve Earle to Al Jarreau, Albert Ayler and the Rebirth Brass Band. Not to mention my childhood neighbor Stu Goldberg.
That’s right – legal, downloadable music from real record labels in open, non-copy-protected digital formats.
I know that Audio Lunchbox will be the first place I stop when looking for new music online.