Sunday, January 16, 2011

How to download high bitrate albums or EPs of 320 kbps

Prefatory note:  I am poor.  Do not bug me about the ethics of this article.  Uh, it is to be used for academic purposes only.

How many times have you looked for a brand new and/or really hot album or EP, only to find there is no info on the bitrate?  If you're somewhat new to downloading indie music you may not have experienced this yet, but don't worry, your time is coming.  The new releases by major label indie artists have teams of technicians in the US and India, working around the clock to have their works removed from download sites soon after they're uploaded.  Ok, I'm not too sure of that bit about India.  For example, some months ago right when Avey Tare's "Down There" dropped, it was listed as ATDT.rar on filestube (or variants thereof).  In addition there was no information on the bitrate.  What's a downloader to do?  Basically, if you know how long the album is, you can figure out what size the file should be.  From there you can filter the search results on filestube (and many other search engines) by file size, and Voila!  320 kbps of brand new album or EP for you.  In case you're not left-brained like me, I'm gonna show you how step by step.

1.  Plug in an album name into your favorite file search engine (mine is, in quotations, and include a file format.  e.g.

"Small Black - New Chain" rar zip

Actually I think with filestube, if you search for "rar" it brings up "zip" results as well.

2.  Now that you've made sure your download exists, we can figure out what size it should be. 
Go to and find your album.
Under "Shopping" click "Buy Digital"

This will load a page with the titles of the songs and the play time for each song. 

3.  Estimate the total play time for the whole album.  Let's go through an example, "Young" by Summer Twins.

Round the Moon - 3.5 min
Was it worth it? - 3 min
Veronica Sawyer - 3+ min
Why don't you say? - 3.5 min
Ghost Train - 3 min
Jake Ryan - 2.5 min

So, the average play time is about 3 min per song.  There's 6 songs, so this EP is about 18 min long.  (Note: the actual play time is 18:49)

4.  Calculate the size of the file needed for 320 kbps bitrate.  Using the above example of "Young" by Summer Twins

18 min * 60 sec/min * 320 kb/sec * Byte/8 bits = 43,200 kB = 43 MB

So we will look for a file that is about 43 MB.

5.  Set the range of file sizes to search for.  You may not be able to find something that is exactly 320 kbps, we are after all getting something for free.  The file may be 30 % smaller due to being variable bitrate.  30 % is a number I pulled right out of my ass.  So, file could be as small as

0.7 * 43 MB = 30 MB

Note: if we repeat step 4, for a 192 kbps file, we see that 30 MB is not much greater.

6.  Download the file.  Unfortunately not as easy as it sounds.  You may have links that look very promising, but when you load the host e.g. Megaupload, the file has been removed.  : (

Or the file is still on the host, so you download it, and one second later you have the file.  PARTY!  Then you find out it is just an empty folder of 0 kB : (

Or you download the file, only to find out the archive is password protected : (

When I'm doing this, I try to download about 3 different files in case some of them crap out. 

Well that's all, hope you learned how to freely acquire higher quality albums and/or EPs.  Happy downloading!