I love podcasts, audiobooks and world music. I could not survive the long drives and bushwork I do without something. Ok, I do frequently drop off into a meditative state whilst I’m driving along, but more often than not, I’ve got something on my MP3, usually an audiobook, as I’m going along. Currently, I’m listening to Bill Bryson’s Notes From a Big Country.
I guess I should state here: I AM NOT AN IPOD FAN. Unless they change those stupid wheels and crappy displays, I will never be converted from my Sony Walkman MP3. (Before you have a go at me, you try changing tracks on an Ipod when you’re bumping along a 4WD track in a Troop Carrier and you’ll understand why I HATE these overrated things!). The Sony has a very bright screen (you need one in sunny Central Australia) and buttons (instead of a stupid wheel) to select songs. Easy peezy when you’re lumbering in low range and trying to negotiate the steep bank of a dry creek, and wondering if you’re going to need a trip to the chiropractor!
Anyway, the limitation of the Sony is that it won’t play stuff from ITunes, because the files are DRM protected. Yes, I know this can be overcome with something like SoundTaxi, but it’s a pain. So last weekend when I was preparing the Sony for the trip, and downloading podcasts, I noticed that one of my fave podcasts (http://www.lifestylechill.com/) has lists of places where you can purchase music online which is not DRM protected.
The drawback is that many of these places are only available to US residents. However, I found one http://www.emusic.com/ that is open to everyone. And it has the most amazing selection of world music, Indian ragas, bhajans, Sufi music, gypsy music etc and also audiobooks – minus the pesky DRM.
The downside is, I have been so enthusiastic about this service that I’ve now downloaded not only my free trial tracks, but also my next month’s allowance (50 tracks) in a few hours.