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I copied this article on Monday April 27 1998
Reviews
SHOPPING

Buying Music Online
Shopping for music online is one of the great Net-commerce success stories. The competition is accordingly fierce. Whether you're seeking the latest thing or something entirely obscure, we'll take these shops over the mall experience any day.



CDNow
4 Stars
CDnow claims to stock almost every album currently in print in the U.S., as well as more than 20,000 imports, T-shirts, music videos, and books, and the price is usually right. It even has vinyl. When you search on an artist, every piece of merchandise associated with that artist will pop up for your perusal, along with a photo and a list of compilation albums on which the artist has performed. You can advance-order albums up to four weeks before they are released and find them in your mailbox the same day the album hits the stores in your town (provided you order overnight delivery). And CDnow's overnight-delivery charges are the lowest of any store we reviewed.-- Theresa Riley
reviewed: 3/31/98
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Tower Records
4 Stars
There's nothing worse than buying a CD, taking it home, and then realizing that the only song you like on it is the one you heard on the radio. The listening station at Tower Records lets you sample 30 seconds from every track on about 100 CDs before you buy. Tower usually also offers sound clips from at least five tracks of most in-stock CDs. It gets top honors for this practice, in addition to its competitive prices and the broad spectrum of its offerings:It was the only store with all of our test titles in stock. Its recently renovated site is better than ever. Best is the archive of back issues of Tower's own Pulse! magazine. Overnight delivery is available, though it's not cheap.-- Theresa Riley
reviewed: 4/2/98
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Music Boulevard
4 Stars
MUSIC BOULEVARD not only had all of our test selections except for the independent music choice, but it was the cheapest overall, and its search engine was the easiest to use. You can search here by artist name, album name, or song title. Entries tend to include album cover art, sound samples, and lists of similar artists. You also will find related articles and reviews culled from music magazines. Music Boulevard claims to have more than 150,000 titles available on CD and cassette.
reviewed: 3/9/97
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Tunes.com
3.5 Stars
If you suffer from amnesia every time you enter a record store or you're lost as far as new music is concerned, here's a tip. Go to Tunes.com and search on an album that you know you like. You'll get a helpful list of suggestions next to your search album, along with a thorough description of each artist and album, and sound clips (though the collection is sparse). Overnight delivery, sadly, is not available.-- Theresa Riley
reviewed: 4/2/98
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CD Universe
3 Stars
CD Universe has more than 200,000 records to choose from, divided into specialty areas such as Christian, Square Dancing, and Dulcimer. If you're looking for an album such as Picture Yourself Belly Dancing, take a spin around the Universe. There's less flash and fewer conveniences here than you'll find at the other stores, though, and CD Universe's overnight-delivery charges are the highest of any store we reviewed. -- Theresa Riley
reviewed: 4/2/98
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Blockbuster: Music
3 Stars
Sure, you can order videos at Blockbuster, but you can also get music, CD-ROM games, and books. Music lovers should make a visit to the Launching Pad for clips of up-and-coming artists before they hit the charts. The clip collection isn't nearly as large as those of the other stores, and you sometimes miss out on cover art here, but there are exclusive special offers (such as T-shirts and bonus-track CDs).-- Theresa Riley
reviewed: 4/2/98
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Sound Wire's Home Page
3 Stars
SOUND WIRE'S HOME PAGE is for the alternative set. Fittingly, it carried only the independent selection of our test set. If a title is new or independent, you probably will find it here (vinyl too!). You can search the whole catalog or narrow down to the underground, seven-inch, or psychedelic garage catalogs. The listings only have one-sentence reviews, but they are refreshingly free of hype.
reviewed: 3/9/97
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Compact Disc Connection
3 Stars
COMPACT DISC CONNECTION is a CD-only store carrying more than 140,000 releases. It had all of our selections except for the classical choice -- it seemed generally deficient in the classical department. Prices were almost as cheap as Music Boulevard's. The search engine was quirky but usable (you have to enter the last name, a comma, and the first name when searching by artist), and the listings include brief reviews.
reviewed: 3/9/97
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Tape Trader Network
2 Stars
The TAPE TRADER NETWORK covers that gray area inhabited by aficionados of live or rare performances, usually of classic rock bands. This site is aimed at the tape-trading enthusiast more than the newbie, with organized lists of traders and a bulletin board. Not for the uninitiated.
reviewed: 3/9/97
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Global Electronic Music Marketplace Home Page
2 Stars
GLOBAL ELECTRONIC MUSIC MARKETPLACE HOME PAGE is the index site for music buying, cataloging 950,000 other retailers (such as Compact Disc Connection), but also smaller outlets down to individual collectors. If you are looking for something obscure in just about any genre, try here.
reviewed: 3/9/97
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CDNow

Tower Records

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Blockbuster: Music

Sound Wire's Home Page

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