Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Wippit

Wippit is one of the less known, but arguably one of the most promising legal download services currently available in the UK. It has its own catalogue rather than relying on a service like OD2, which has both its advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages

  • Quite a lot of the music is available in the MP3 format with no DRM whatsoever, so you’re not restricted as to what you can do with the files once you have bought them. It also means that non-Windows users get a look in too.
  • The site doesn’t insist on Interner Explorer in Windows. It works fine in Firefox, even if it does look like the site was designed in FrontPage (although that said the site design isn’t too bad). Accessability is still a bit of an issue but it could be much worse.
  • Tracks are typically 99p, but some are as cheap as 29p. That’s got to be the cheapest you can get, although I can’t say I’d heard of any of the artists whose music was on offer for that price.
  • Wippit practically bends over backwards for your money. If the file is an MP3 you don’t have to create a user account (WMA files need it, presumably to generate the DRM), and it accepts all major UK credit cards including Switch and Solo. You can also pay by SMS message. Compare this to Oxfam’s Big Noise Music site, powered by OD2, which alienates anyone without a piece of Visa or Mastercard plastic.

Disadvantages

  • Update: At the time of the writing Wippit did not have secure ordering of songs, but this has been changed and all orders are now encrypted, as they should be. Yay!
    Insecure ordering. It says the ordering is secure but the connection was not encrypted (URL didn’t start with https: and there was no padlock in the status bar). Personally I find that unacceptable.
  • It’s a bit empty. The major labels have largely ignored Wippit, meaning that almost all of the music available is from independent label artists. On the other hand, this does mean that the vast majority of music available is good music, from the likes of Fatboy Slim, Franz Ferdinand, Faithless and others that don’t begin with the letter F.
  • Minimum purchase is £1, and there’s a 4% surcharge for paying by credit card.
  • I randomly hit server problems, which caused my shopping cart to magically empty itself.

Still, I really hope Wippit prospers as it actually has the right attitude when it comes to music downloads.

4 Comments

  1. Thanks for pointing this out, I’ll have a look tomorrow (time to go to bed now I think!)

  2. Have you emailed them about it? It seems like it’s something that would be easily fixed.

  3. They should try using BitPass for the ordering. It’s the kind of thing that it was made for.

  4. Be careful if you subscribe to Wippit (as I did)as the so called unlimited download they offer isn’t quite that. You find that a lot of the better known stuff (and some of the lesser known) they show isn’t available to subscribers. I managed to download a couple of tracks when I first signed up but when I went back a few days later to download some more from the same album, the tracks (including those I had previously downloaded) were no longer available to subscribers, but I could download them for 79p each (so you don’t save a lot on the price of some CD’s). So what is the point of subscribing? Although 50 quid a year seems good value initially, it isn’t. The site seems to be a bit flaky (logging on takes ages and servers are frequently unavailable) and their support is non exsistant. I’ve tried e-mailing ,phoning and faxing with no reply at all in about 4 weeks. I’ve been trying to get my money back as I think their service stinks. Seems as though once they’ve got your money they don’t care. I think there are better alternatives out there