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ARTISTdirect is a fun site to zip around. You’ll discover high quality videos such as interviews with bands and artists, artists singing at live concerts and music reviews. There are also a lot of bonuses worth checking out such as written reviews of music in movies and live shows, which are updated regularly in their “news” section. The problem is that ARTISTdirect is trying to do too much, it’s actually quite difficult to navigate around to find music and when you finally do you have to buy it through iTunes. There are song samples which, when they work, seem to be of a pretty high quality, but sometimes they just don’t respond. The site is also littered with annoying ads for “mother’s top secrets for reducing wrinkles” and “how to give up smoking”. This gives the site an unprofessional feel, as though it’s been pieced together by a couple of guys in their bedroom. The content is good when it works, but this is more a site for learning about music and the music world than actually listening to music. Think of it, perhaps, as an interactive music magazine. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, though, if you learn about your music then you can always take its links to iTunes to purchase the songs.
One interesting feature of ARTISTdirect is its merchandise section, which is linked in well to your browsing of artists. Say, for example, you see that Eminem has released a new track, you can watch the video and whilst you do so ARTISTdirect will show you some of the merchandise they have on offer which is related to Eminem. Perhaps unsurprisingly it’s very expensive (music merchandise often is), but it is something a bit different, at least, and it can be fun to look through the sorts of things on offer. In particular the sale of musical notation / sheet music adds another level to the site because it means (if you can play an instrument) that you can play your favourite tunes for yourself.
But this is a music downloads review. Essentially ARTISTdirect is an interesting conduit between musical knowledge and getting your hands on the actual music. The free music videos are a pleasant bonus worth your attention but the persistent adverts and desire to link you to iTunes can become annoying. Have a walk around ARTISTdirect, watch a couple of videos, read a few reviews, and see where it takes you.
Click on the button below to check out ArtistDirect.com for yourself...