Please note that Play.com has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of Play.com below, or check out the rest of the UK Music Download Websites we've reviewed.
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Play.com is an efficient website which primarily deals in electronics entertainment, be it music, blu-ray or gadgets. It’s known for its speed of delivery and low costs, so how does its MP3 downloads service compare?
One of the first things to note is that Play.com is a slick machine. You can quickly and simply reach their MP3 section or simply type the name of the song or album you want into their search bar and it will present you your options. And note optionS rather than option. Because Play.com sells hard copies (that is to say, DVDs and CDs as well as MP3s) it will show you the various forms in which your music can be bought. Sometimes it’s the case that it’s cheaper to buy the MP3, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy the CD and have it sent out to you: Play.com gives you the option of choosing the best route. But what about the MP3s? Well Play.com is a little on the expensive side at around £0.99 per track and albums ranging from around £5 to £9 (in some cases, usually compilations they cost roundabout £11.49). That said, a good number of the MP3s are of a very high standard and the site tells you how much you save by purchasing an album rather than paying for the songs individually. Users can also review their purchases, which gives a useful amount of feedback before you spend your hard earned money.
Play has missed a few opportunities, though. Too few of the tracks have an option to listen to a sample before paying out, meaning that you’re essentially making a deaf purchase. A little risky for some! The number of tracks available is not disclosed though Play does proudly declare it has “thousands”. In the world of MP3 downloads, this isn’t impressive. Play has some interesting choices available (such as “100 Unforgettable French Songs”) for a reasonable price and high quality, though much of its focus is on chart toppers. Its frequently asked questions department is handy, showing you the top questions and allowing you to filter through its various options within each to find what you’re after. They also offer a contact form and a telephone number should you need them. Searching is basic and could be elaborated on, though does offer a filter system which includes genre.
There are some treats to be found on Play.com, particularly if you manage to find them on sale, but the general price of your purchase is higher than elsewhere. It’s a site for people who want to make an occasional music download purchase because while the general cost is higher, the quality on certain tracks is also higher. Combined with its regular sales and promotions this means that you can buy the occasional album or track for a decent price. The option to buy the CD or the MP3 is a nice one, which they have incorporated well to give you a genuine choice, but their track catalogue is lacking. The Play.com credit card is an interesting and potentially beneficial addition to buying online because it gives bonus points to be spent on the site, so essentially the more you spend the more you earn. In short, Play.com is one to dip in and out of now and again, for the bargain hunters out there but perhaps not for the hard-up hard-core music fans.
Please note that Play.com has now been discontinued.