In June of 2006, MIO published an article detailing ten of our top mp3 download sites at the time. Most of the sites were global as opposed to local and since then a number of new South African based mp3 download sites have emerged. Because of this and the fact that the changes in downloading and consuming music are changing so rapidly, we thought it would be best to re-publish a new mp3 download list. This time we’ve focused on only 5 local sites that are riding the waves of change in South Africa’s music industry and providing a great service.
This site was number one on our list six months ago and it remains at the top. This is what we had to say about it back then:
“ SAmp3 is easy on the eyes and easy to use. Most of the music comes from SA’s rock-pop and alternative scene (think Arno Caarstens and Karen Zoid) with a couple of tunes from African Dope artists and the likes of 340mls, as well as some Afrikaans artists such as Steve Hofmeyr. Samp3 also provide music for MWeb’s entertainment section and by clicking on a clearly visible link on the site one can go right to MWeb’s music download page. (This has changed a little since June last year. Samp3 now contains links to Mweb’s 24.com where one can download other mp3s. Click here to check it out). Mweb’s download page contains even more SA music freely and easily downloadable. Between samp3.com and mweb.co.za one can legally download a massive SA music collection without even having to register.”
A while back I wrote a review of this site, giving it an overall rating of three out of five. I stated that I liked the site and the music on offer, but felt that it lacked focus. By that I meant that there didn’t seem to be a specific genre or style of music on offer and that it might confuse potential consumers. Since that time Rhythm Records have added a lot more music to their catalogue and I have to conclude that the site does have a focus as far as I can see: Providing alternative South African music for download at an affordable price (tracks are R7 a pop). From Afrikaans punk to old school rock to downtempo hip-hop, the music on offer steers left of the main stream, and I commend the boys at Rhythm Records for providing an outlet for South African music that might struggle to share a space with commercial international music on the shelves of local CD stores.
Of course there’s nothing wrong with commercial music local or international, and if you’re looking for local sites that have an extensive catalogue of music that one would normally buy retail, plus a whole lot more, Musica and Pick n Play are the best local sites. Both sites seem to be equally well developed and provide pretty much the same quality of service. Musica offers most tracks at R9.99, but there are some that are on offer at R8.33. Pick n Play can be more expensive with some tracks as high as R13.99, and some as low as R6.99. The idea is if you’re looking for a song use the search engines on both sites to see which of them actually have the song in the first place and if they both do then which has the better price.
This is a site which MIO will definitely have to keep tabs on this year, because it has a lot of potential. It’s a good looking South African site focused on selling, promoting and offering free mp3 downloads from all genres of local music, although it would seem that currently it’s dominated by electronic and rock music. The catch is artists must merely sign up for an artist account, which will allow them the option of selling their music on the site. In other words there is no quality control and anyone making music can make use of the site for potential business. It has the potential to work if those artists using it promote their music themselves and get potential buyers to check out what’s on offer. Tracks range from six R6.00 to R10.00 and there is a fair amount of freely downloadable music.