Friday, September 5, 2014

First look at GhostTunes

Much to my mom's lament, I spent most of my babysitting money buying music albums and books. She always wished I would spend money on clothes, and looking back at my junior high and high school pictures, she totally had a point. But there was something about browsing Sam Goody and buying a brand new cassette that was more gratifying than frosted jeans. One of my first cassette's was Garth Brooks' "Ropin' the Wind." I likely listened to the album in it's entirety about a million times and had spent many a night imagining myself singing backup or screaming from the front row of a concert. I would bellow songs like "Friends in Low Places" as if I actually had ever experienced whiskey drowning anything...I hadn't. But for a girl growing up in the middle of corn fields and the excitement of the year being the Plymouth County Fair, Garth Brooks' music was the soundtrack of my youth.

But when my disposable income was sufficient enough to actually include attending a concert, Garth announced his retirement to help raise his daughters. My hopes of every seeing him live were dashed. A dream deferred. That was until he announced his return tour would begin in Chicago. As luck or fate would have it, I was able to buy a few tickets when they went on sale in July. After 90 minutes of waiting and screaming at my computer, I was finally told I had secured two tickets but had only 3 minutes to complete the transaction. Should your life ever depend on me typing codes into a computer under such duress, I apologize ahead of time. I was instantly sweaty and shaky, worse than any first date jitters. But when that magic screen popped up to tell me I had in fact purchased two tickets to the Garth Brooks World Tour I let out a WHOOP that alerted the world...I WAS GOING TO SEE GARTH BROOKS.

Sadly, I lost much of his music in my move from cassette to CD to digital.Considering it was the music that was the soundtrack of my life, I had a limited supply of nostalgia. And you could not buy his music digitally anywhere (and heaven forbid I actually try to find an actual place that sold CD's.) Yesterday, that all changed. Garth and company launched GhostTunes, your one stop shop to buy all of Garth's music digitally. For the price of $29.95 I was able to get all eight studio albums plus a live concert (which confirmed my suspicion that I will in fact both cry and scream at the concert.). You can also buy music by other artists, but because Garth's music is literally not found anywhere else in electronic form, this was a big hairy deal.

Here are my thoughts on GhostTunes:

  • You can get all of Garth's And the concert (epic 90's clothes and hair included).
  • The visual layout of the site is appealing and somewhat easy to navigate.
  •  Did I mention you can finally buy all of Garth's music digitally? For the first time ever?

  • GhostTunes itself is not a media player. You buy the music and can then listen to it via the website or download it to the music player of your choice. For Garth's music it was a bit cumbersome, somewhat like the early days of physically downloading a CD onto your computer.  To download Garth's music I first had to open the album in the zip manager, then drag and drop the files into my music folder. From there I could download them into iTunes. Once I knew what I was doing, it didn't take long. 

There had been information that you should be able to download the music right into a media player like iTunes, so I had to buy just another song to try it out. That song did give me the option of opening it in iTunes.

  • The search function seems a bit wonky. For example. I was looking for Meghan Trainor's "All About That Base." When typing in the title of the song, her song didn't come up. But by typing in the artist's name, I was able to find the song. A few other songs/artists I tried didn't pop up at the top of the search like I thought they would. So if you're looking for anything beyond Garth, the search may not be as user friendly as you're used to with other music services.
  • I could not get the music to download from the browser on my iPhone. I had to download it into iTunes then sync it with my iPhone. I'm assuming the same will be the same for trying to download the video content to our TV or other media device.
  • The site doesn't seem to store your credit card/debit card data. The downside is I had to enter my information for each purchase. The upside is that I can't go on a music buying binge without a little thought. My finances thank GhostTunes. The part of my brain that is used to click and buy is a bit miffed.
I'll still use a variety of electronic media services to access music. I would definitely consider using GhostTunes for future music purchases. Artists are going to be able to create their own bundles and have more control over how their music is delivered. For example, some artists currently only have singles on GhostTunes, while others only allow you to buy entire albums. Remember listening to an album? Getting a wide range of an artist's work? You could appreciate the thought that had went into song selection along with the flow of the album.

So in this ONE WEEK leading up to my 25 year dream-come-true concert, it will be all Garth all the time thanks to GhostTunes. I will once again have visions of having a front row spot, although my actual seat is more nosebleed than "I can see nose hair." But you can bet your belt buckle I will enjoy Every. Single. Note.

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