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12 February 2012
I first came across fairsharemusic.com some time ago, but dismissed it at the time as the downloads were all DRM Locked. DRM locks you into a specific player and can prevent you from using digital files that you purchase (why DRM in music, video and ebooks is bad for everyone). DRM has all but disappeared from music downloads, but I'd all but forgotten about Fairsharemusic.com until I saw it linked from the Virgin Unite web site.
The help page still mentions that some files may be DRM encoded, but all the ones I tried are now DRM free. Hopefully this is just a case of not fully updating the help pages since the collection has been changed to MP3s.
The special thing about fairsharemusic.com is that for every purchase they make a donation to charity. In addition the purchaser gets to choose which charity the donation goes to. There are several different charities including Virgin Unite; British Heart Foundation; NSPCC and other worthwhile causes.
MP3s can be downloaded individually or in the case of albums as a zip file with the songs. You can then store these into any andirectory and
load into whatever mp3 player that you normally use (eg. iTunes, Banshee, Rhythmbox, Windows Media Player etc.).
Downloads were straightforward, cost is about the same as other music retailers (some were slightly more than elsewhere), and most albums / songs are available. Also unlike some other retailers the downloads are added to your account so that they can be downloaded again in future.
This site is not in anyway associated with fairsharemusic.com.