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Tiscali Launches Cheapest MP3 Download Service to Date

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Here's something a little different...

Much has been made of 2009's rash of streaming music sites (Spotify, a rejuvenated Napster and Sky Songs) which follows 2008's obsession with streaming 'radio' like Pandora and Last.fm, but what about good, old fashioned downloads done right?

Tiscali may be very late to the party, but this week it has launched 'Music for Life' which is a major step in the right direction. Made in partnership with E-Music, like most services, Music for Life has deals with all the major recording studios and launches with a healthy catalogue of over 6.5m tracks including the likes of the White Stripes, Vampire Weekend, Paul Weller and Johnny Cash.

What is most interesting however is the business model. Four monthly packages are offered:

  • eMusic Basic 24 downloads for £9.99 per month (£0.42 per song)
  • eMusic Plus 35 downloads for £13.99 per month (£0.40 per song)
  • eMusic Premium 50 downloads for £17.99 per month (£0.36 per song)
  • eMusic Connoisseur 75 downloads for £24.99 per month (£0.33 per song)
All tracks are in MP3 (therefore DRM free) and encoded at 256Kbps VBR with some older tracks in 192Kbps. Users will find a "few legacy files encoded at 128kps, {but} these tracks are clearly marked". In sum, these prices significantly undercut iTunes and even usual cost king Amazon MP3. Then again it does require a monthly commitment, but Tiscali sweetens the pie by giving all users 50 free MP3s of their choice when they sign up for a 14 day free trial of the service.

Tiscali you may have been late to the party, but given the light caress to our wallets you are very welcome.

Update: I'm chasing a couple of queries that have just occurred to me: Does any unused track allocation carry over to the next month and is there a minimum term of contract? Hopefully I'll have the answers shortly.

Update 2: That didn't take long and we have good and bad news. Most importantly, the good news is there's no fixed 12 month term just a monthly rolling contract that can be cancelled at any point with 30 days notice. The bad is that unused track allocation can't be carried over to the following month, so be sure to gobble up your allowance each time (tip: I'd set a calendar reminder).

Tiscali Music for Life

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