“It's all so clear, We can see the madness perfectly from here...”Asylum Satellite #1
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Shopping at Racket Records - Downloads Help

Software Support

Due to the thousands of programs available for accessing
the various aspects of our downloads (such as
un-compressing, playing, and viewing artwork) Racket
Records does not officially recommend specific software.

Every computer system is different and we will do our
best to assist you with your download, but for
software-specific issues you will need to consult the documentation that was provided with your software
and/or hardware.

We are therefore unable to provide detailed technical
support for specific software- and/or operating
system-related issues.

Racket Records Downloads

Below is complete information on Racket Records Downloads. If you have any questions that aren't answered, just contact us and we'll be happy to help!

How do I order Racket Records Downloads?

How do I download and play the music? Do I need special software?

Time Limits and Download Counts

Getting Technical: File Formats, Quality, and DRM

General Ordering and Contact Information

How do I order Racket Records DOwnloads?

Ordering a download album from Racket Records is no different than ordering any other product - you will see an 'ADD TO BASKET' button next to available download albums. Click this to add the download to your shopping basket, and complete your order and payment as usual.

For complete ordering details, payment instructions, and other general Racket Records shop issues, check out the General Ordering and Contact Information page on this website.

Once your payment has been accepted, your download will be instantly activated and ready to download. To access your downloads, click on the 'MY ACCOUNT' button on any page on this website and log in (if you are not already). On your account page you will find links to your Order History, Membership Details, and Downloads - just click the 'VIEW DETAILS' button next to Downloads.

This page will list all your purchased downloads, their availability, and your current 'Downloads Left' count. PLEASE NOTE: Purchases for Racket Records Downloads via PayPal may not be accessible for up to 30 minutes after your payment has been processed

How do I download and play the music?

When you click the 'DOWNLOAD' button next to your chosen release, a final window will appear asking you to confirm your download. Once you click 'OK' your download will begin. Depending on your operating system and internet browser software, you will usually be provided with some options - we recommend that you save the download file to your 'desktop' or somewhere you can locate it easily.

The master ZIP download file is BIG. This means it will take quite some time to download - compared to a program such as iTunes (which downloads tracks individually) this may seem a lot longer; but this is because our files are better quality (see below)

Please be patient and let the download complete fully - most browsers should provide an estimated download time for your reference. If you cancel the download before it is complete, this will remove one of your 'Downloads Left' (see below)

It is important to note that any "Download Manager" or "Download Accelerator" software will not work with Racket Records Downloads, and will cause your 'Downloads Left' to run to 0.

The ZIP file

Our download albums are packaged into a single 'ZIP' file containing individual MP3 files (or FLAC files for titles available as FLAC) for each track, and a PDF file of artwork (more on those below). Most modern operating systems (Windows XP and Vista & 7, Mac OSX) will be able to open this file automatically.

Older operating systems (Windows 98, Max OS 9) will require an additional program to un-compress the ZIP file.

Once you open the master ZIP file, you will need to copy the individual files to the same place as the rest of your music files, or other convenient location.

For specifics about opening ZIP files and 'extracting' or 'copying' the files contained therein, you will need to refer to the specific documentation provided with your chosen software.

The MP3 Audio Tracks

Once you have copied the individual MP3 files from within the master ZIP file, you will need to open up your MP3 player software and 'import' or 'add' them to your library. This functionality is available on almost all common MP3 player software such as iTunes (www.itunes.com), Real Player (www.real.com) and Windows Media Player (www.microsoft.com/windows/windowsmedia) which are all available for free download. Many other software packages that play MP3 files are also available for free download.

There is 'Metadata' included in all the files that most MP3 software will recognise, which will import the track names, album title, artist name, and so on - however, depending on your software, you may need to enter this information yourself. The files themselves will be named as such: "1-01 Man Of A Thousand Faces.mp3". The first number "1" means that this is "CD 1" if the download album was previously in print. If there is no initial number, this constitutes a single-CD release, or a download exclusive. The second number "01" will be the track number. This is finally followed by the name of the song - in some cases, special characters such as "/", "&", or "?" will be replaced with "_" for compatibility with the operating system.

For specifics about adding MP3 files to your MP3 player software or transferring them to a portable device, you will need to refer to the specific documentation provided with your chosen software and/or hardware.

FLAC Audio

Several titles have also been made available as FLAC files... In short, if you have chosen to purchase the FLAC version of a download we expect you know how to handle it! We hope you enjoy - should this prove more popular than MP3 files, we will certianly consider making more releases available as FLAC.

For specifics about adding FLAC files to your media player software or transferring them to a portable device or CD, you will need to refer to the specific documentation provided with your chosen software and/or hardware.

The PDF Artwork File

Also contained in the master ZIP file is a PDF file of digital album artwork. The PDF file can be opened with the popular Adobe Reader (version 5 or higher), available free at www.adobe.com/products/reader. Many other software packages that read PDF files are also available for free download.

The PDF Artwork file will always feature the original front cover of a previously-released title, or brand new artwork for a download exclusive. The file is not copy-protected, so can be printed, or imported into several popular editing programs if you want to make a physical CD copy of your download. Several MP3 software and hardware packages will allow you to import the album artwork into your library.

For specifics about printing PDF files or including album artwork in your MP3 software/hardware, you will need to refer to the specific documentation provided with your chosen software.

The JPEG Artwork File

Finally contained in the master ZIP file is a JPEG file of the album cover. The JPEG file can be opened with most operating systems and web browsers, and can also be used by MP3 software and hardware players as detailed above.

Time Limits and Download Counts

Each download your purchase from Racket Records will be available to download immediately from the point of purchase confirmation.

We have, however, restricted the number of times you may download the file, as well as restricted its availability to 1 month from the purchase date.

We have set a limit of 3 download attempts on each purchase in the event that something would go wrong during your download - such as a loss of power or internet connection - or if there would be a problem with the file once it was downloaded. Should a situation arise where you reach your download limit and still have not successfully received the master ZIP file, please contact cs immediately on sales@racketrecords.com with your full name, postal address, and order number (or use the 'CONTACT US' button in your Order History)

The time limit of 1 month should allow you time enough to download the master ZIP file and correct any problems or issues that may arise. By putting a time limit on downloads, we are freeing up any potential "traffic jams" on our server, ensuring continued speedy downloads for everyone.

It is important to note that any "Download Manager" or "Download Accelerator" software will not work with Racket Records Downloads, and will cause your 'Downloads Left' to run to 0.

Getting Technical: File Formats, Quality, and DRM

File Formats

We have chosen in all cases to use the most common and easily accessible file formats that are widely used across the world: ZIP file compression, MP3 audio format, and PDF documents.

The wide availability of innumerable free programs for accessing all 3 file types across the various operating systems and system configurations should allow maximum compatibility for everyone.

Audio Quality

There will surely be much debate over chosen file format and quality, as there seemingly as many different audio compression formats as there are grains of sand!

As mentioned above, we want to use a common format that is widely accessible to everyone. MP3 is one of the most popular audio formats world-wide, so was the obvious choice.

Now the really technical stuff for those who know what it means... While iTunes (as an example) compresses its audio with M4A/AAC format at 128 Kbps, we feel that there is a noticeable lack of quality in this compression. We have decided to use the more common MP3 format, and encode at twice the bit-rate: 256 Kbps. This leads to nearly "CD transparent" audio with minimal artifacts.

Because the bit rate is double that of iTunes, the file size is - you guessed it - double the size, which leads to the 200+ Megabyte file size of our master ZIP files. We think the slightly longer download time is worth the wait for the added quality. Remember as well that most of our downloads will have a playing time of around 2 hours, which is a long time... and longer albums means bigger files.

We have started making several of our titles available as FLAC files. For those of you NOT familiar with FLAC, these files are called "lossless" - which means they are indistinguishable quality from CD audio. They are provided on several releases for audiophiles who prefer 'pristine' audio; however, we have found the majority of people will not notice the difference between the our 256 Kbps MP3s and CD.

Digital Rights Management, or "DRM"

Digital Rights Management is a way for bands, record labels, or online retailers to protect their downloaded music from copying or other attempts to re-distribute the files illegally. DRM can often also cause problems with playing the music on different computers or portable devices.

Racket Records Downloads do NOT use DRM of any kind.

We thought you'd like that. HOWEVER! We do have a very important request: just because our downloads are not 'protected' does not mean that they should be shared, uploaded to music sharing sites, or otherwise given away. Even a download still costs us money to make - the recording and mixing costs, creating artwork, the servers to host the files, and the website so you can access them.

So please, we thank you for buying and enjoying our music, but please do not upload it or give it away. If you think someone would enjoy Marillion, tell them about Crash Course - they can sign up to get one for free, direct from us. It really makes a difference!