SoundsBox is a relatively new Russian online music store launched barely a year ago that does the same ol’ things as all the other online music stores out there: they sell music from a vast catalog of artists. One major difference though, SoundsBox sells tunes for only 14 cents offering the most competitive prices you’ll find on the net. I had fun searching for some jazz rock albums just to see if they had them in stock and was pleasantly surprised by what they had to offer, especially when I see that most of these albums, hardly ever containing more than 4 to 7 songs, are sold for less than a buck. In addition, when you buy a whole album you get 20% off.
The price is low but so is the quality of the music as SoundsBox only sells mp3s with bit-rates ranging from 192 to 320 kbps, but nowadays compressed music isn’t an issue anymore. And no, the service is not illegal as all the material is licensed under of the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society (ROMS).
This site is different from others on a couple of other aspects. For instance you must use their Java based app to download the songs you purchased. This essentially makes it easier to follow-up on your past purchases and have everything managed in a centralized window.
Another interesting feature is SoundsBox’s customer support. Not only are they rumored to answer your questions and take care of all your problems in very short delays, but you can also request artists you haven’t found in their database.
While the music industry is trying new methods like MySpace Music to bring free music to consumers thanks to ad revenue, a site like SoundsBox clings to the old model by making song pricing too damn interesting to be true. With their catalog growing everyday, it’s just a couple of months before iTune’s 99 cent model will be considered too expensive just like the average $20 price tag of physical CDs are to the eyes of music lovers.
Here’s a comment from SoundsBox I found on a Edible Apple’s article on the new MySpace Music service:
“Services like SoundsBox are going to be filling the void in music downloads. There’s lots of people out there who won’t use torrents and free downloads, who believe in paying for music, but who DON’T want to fork out for corporations and industry promotions, who want the tracks they love from past artists, albums they own on cassettes that have gone bad, but also want to sample new artists and the hottest new tracks. With a price tag of 14 cents a track, with no international limitations, this kind of service is banking on the waves of customer dissatisfaction. They’re gonna rock”.