I’m pleased that many independent labels have been offering digital download (MP3 or FLAC) coupons with their LPs, for those of us who like to listen to vinyl at home as well as on the go, but don’t always have a setup to rip records. More often than not, a larger independent release you purchase today comes with such a coupon.
However, I have yet to order from a label/distro that allowed you to download the digital version as soon as you purchase the albums online. Why exactly is this? I suspect that these coupons are usually handled by the pressing plant, and the label itself has little to do with the process other than deliver audio files. For instance, United is always upselling their digital download offering.
Is it too much to ask that someone like Amazon/iTunes/a third party distributor partners with labels for instant download pass generation after my credit card gets billed? This is even more painful when the labels already sell digital downloads on their site. Having instant access while the LP makes its way through the mail would be a great feature. The whole idea of ordering a record online NOW, waiting two weeks for it to arrive to retrieve a small piece of paper with some hard to type, randomly generated string that has been shoved inside a sleeve, going back to my computer, typing said code in, and then trying not to lose that small slip in case I need it down the line may be a novel concept that has only recently reached widespread adoption, but already the process feels rather archaic.
(And before one of you says it: yes, as archaic as buying records in 2009.)