Over the last few years it has become a common thing for artists (or more precisely record labels on behalf of artists) to offer the advance purchase of CDs with the offer of download of the album in an electronic format (MP3 or FLAC typically).
I have to admit I’ve plumped for the additional cost of this option a couple of time recently, falling for e impatient view that the CD will take time in the post and the download on release date will allow me to hear the album at the 1st opportunity.
But present purchases have just shown me to be a bit of a mug, as the CD has arrived a day or two before the official release date, allowing me to rip the album for myself and loading it onto a USB stick so I can hear it in the car 1st thing Monday morning on my way to work.
So, what is the point of the additional premium? The CD arrives early, it is faster for me to rip the CD myself (in fact modern Blu Ray drives can spin the CD so fast that it takes longer to login to a website for the download than the rip process).
So why not allow advance order purchases to download the MP3 version immediately? The risk of leak – well better to allow the MP3 to be downloaded rather than ripped as it means you can trace the leak by ‘water marking’ the download to a transaction. It can’t be the chat scoring because you can count e physical media (unless the real value is for the record company to count such purchases as 2 copies of the album in the sales stats).
I think going forward I’m going to stick to just physical plus personal ripping.