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Who is top of the pops for music downloads?

  • By Paul Crichton
  • 23 Jan 07, 03:53 PM

So what is the most accessible website to download music from and help your favourite band scale the heights in the charts?

Downloading music hit the news again when Koopa, a three-piece from that well known bedrock of punk, Colchester, made chart history by being the first unsigned band to break into the official top 40. But if you have access issues, how easy is it for you to download from some of the websites that contribute to the charts?

The Green Day soundalikes single, “Blag, Steal & Borrow” is only available by download. So it’s not like you can pop out to the shops and buy it. Or even order the CD online.

Looking on the Radio 1 chart page, there are quite a few download websites that count towards the charts – 21 in fact. I couldn’t check them all out, but I thought I’d take a look at a few to see how easy it is to download from them.

First up, I thought I’d take a look at Tesco. I was a bit disappointed with accessibility on offer here. On the plus side, they had some skip links to help get through the huge numbers of links on the pages, and the text size could be increased. But when it came to adding a track to my shopping basket to download, nothing happened, and that stopped me dead in my tracks. So the Tesco site wasn’t much use to me when using my screen reader.

Next up, I thought I’d try HMV Music. That looks like a proper web 2.0 website, with its own player and a “tag cloud” of searches with popularity only shown in a visual way. I found it painfully slow, and difficult to use even when I could see what I was doing, so I wasn’t exactly full of expectation when I visited the HMV site with a screen reader.

Rightly so, as it turns out. I couldn’t get the main navigation to work with my screen reader to browse music genres. I could use the search function and follow some of the other links. Just like the Tesco site though, I wasn’t able to add a track to my basket for download here.

One last thing – there is an offer for a free download on a graphic button. The code needed for the download isn’t in the ALT text. That means screen reader users won’t be able to take advantage of the offer.

Lastly, I looked at Virgin Digital. This one looks promising. It too has a funky “web 2.0” element that allows users to drag and drop tracks into the shopping basket. This is not the only way to do it and it was still possible to add and remove tracks from the basket using my screen reader. It doesn’t offer perfect usability but it does at least look possible for screen reader users to find, download and buy tracks from Virgin.

It’s just a shame they haven’t got the Koopa single.

If you use other download websites to get your chart topping singles from, let us know. We’d love to know what’s out there and accessible.

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 02:49 PM on 03 Oct 2007,
  • ellie wrote:

hiya ppl is evry1 ok???? luv ellie xxxxxxxxxx

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