Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Where to buy mp3s for your SA iTunes collection

Written for South African iTunes users struggling to buy music online.

By 2013, South African iTunes users can mark a whole decade of music NOT being sold through their digital music player of choice. Clearly, banking on a 21st century service for Mzansi music fans was utopian, so here's an update on earlier advice for local iTunes users on the best legal alternatives:

With its combined local and international offerings DSTV's Omusic is probably the closest one gets to the iTunes US store's range. Unlike other stores, you must pay upfront into a digital wallet. Choosing a song adds it to your download list and subtracts from your wallet. Music can be downloaded from the site directly or downloaded from an emailed link. Just be careful, there is a three day time limit to download the music straight after you have paid for it, so be careful if ordering many songs by different artists.

Rhythm Music is the self-described "South African Music Portal" and offers a wide range of local music. Mostly priced at R7 a song, the store offers a nifty browser-based music player which scrolls through an album giving 30 seconds playtime to each song. This is a nifty way to tell whether one should buy a select songs or an entire album. The purchasing process is smooth, one only pays on checkout and there appears to be no time limit for downloading the music one has paid for.

Music Overtone promises "High Quality South African Music" and its catalogue seems mostly Cape-based. One can easily preview an album selection with the site's music player. Clicking on the album's artwork allows one to view a track- listing to play individual tracks. For fans of, there are also eight albums that offer free downloads. However, as one can only select singles as there are no separate prices for albums one cannot "save" while bulk-buying.

If these three sites don't satisfy you, then it's time to get an US iTunes Store account by following the steps at MP3SA or MediaWob. After doing that, you can buy your iTunes vouchers locally and redeem them through the US-store.

If you've got any other sites you like or suggestions, please add them as a comment. Thanks!

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