Sure, it looks like everybody's doing it, but you've never downloaded music. I understand, downloads, be they iTunes or MP3s, even some of the DRM-free varieties sound awful and you're an audiophile, or just really care about sound quality. Downloads are "good enough" for most folks, but they're not good enough for you.
Enter HDtracks, a sound quality oriented download "store," where you can get 100 percent uncompressed, DRM-free, bona-fide CD quality downloads and burn them to CD. HDtracks also supplies each CD's full liner notes and cover art as a PDF.
I wrote about HDtracks before, but now that they're offering a free eight song sampler you don't have plunk down any dough to find out if their UNcompressed AIFF files, lossless FLAC files, or even 320kbps MP3 downloads would work for you. Burn the FLAC files to CD and play 'em in your car, or the boombox, or if you're hard-core, over your hi-fi. If you're so inclined you can put the music on your iPod as well.
To get the free tunes all you have to do is register your email address with HDtracks. After you download the eight track sampler you'll get a 20% discount off a HDtracks purchase.
CD quality isn't good enough for you? Think CDs are the work of the devil? Not so much better sounding than MP3s? HDtracks has another trick up its sleeve, they will in the coming months start offering 24 bit/96 kHz sampled, DVD-Audio quality files for selected titles.
In the interest of full disclosure: I have worked for Chesky Records as a producer and writer, and written for HDtracks.