Your favourite 4 ECM albums?

on Qobuz ECM hi-res are €20 and 16/44 €13.99. all the time :wink:

No Qobuz here, unfortunately.

:shh: here neither. officially :wink:


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I’m a fan of some of the music that ECM puts out but ECM do not allow any of their albums to be streamed, only downloaded or bought as CD’s. It appears that Manfred Eicher, the founder and producer of all ECM records, does not approve of music streaming sites like Tidal!

His anachronistic marketing policy seems to be, to charge the highest price he can for both his CD’s and Hi-Res downloads from sites such as Qobuz. In order to get round this, I buy my CD’s from Amazon to make sure I’m not paying the highly inflated retail prices that ECM think is acceptable in the current dynamic market.

I still find his policy valid. It would be difficult to maintain ECM in another way these days.
I support them buying their products. Well, I also enjoy them.

At one point @philr raised the question as to why a lot of ECM albums are listed on Tidal but as “unavailable.” @Pal_Bratelund had this to say:

I’d certainly welcome an ECM “buy-to-stream/download service” in the US … although I guess this amounts to what Qobuz offers currently.

If by “anachronistic” you really mean “financially sound,” I agree… Streaming is a terrible business for all distributors (who are losing gobs of money) and for specialty labels, because the fixed costs of a new recording cannot be recouped from a small volume of low streaming royalty payments. I’d rather pay more for CDs or digital downloads and see ECM live for a long time providing an outlet for great artists outside the top 20, than for them to go with the times and enter a financial death spiral.


You can buy many ECM releases as downloads in the US on or The latter seems to bringing them out more quickly and consistently.

… $20 = €21? :open_mouth:



Hello Fernando

I take your point and I’m a supporter of artists being paid for their creative copyright, 100%

I suppose the alternatives I was thinking of are labels, like Hyperion Records in the UK and BIS in Sweden. Like ECM both these labels support their artists ambitious recording projects and they both produce excellent engineered recordings. I know they are classical music sites but the idiom is not the point here.

Although each of these labels does not publish their recent catalogues through streaming services like Tidal & Qobuz, they do have their own download sites that sell their Hi-Res content at reasonable prices and you can also buy tracks separately rather than having to buy the whole album. What’s more, BIS will give a discount - Hi-res for the price of CD quality - if you buy it soon after release.

I’ve spent a great deal more money through these sites because of these incentives. That’s what I had in mind when thinking about ECM’s marketing policy. I would buy a lot more from ECM if they had more flexibility in how they sell their catalogue.

Why isn’t there an ECM download site for instance? Their back catalogue of excellent recordings is huge.

Not sure why there’s no ECM download site, but in general I don’t see a reason for a label to have their own distribution site rather than using an existing high-traffic online distributor like HDtracks (US) or HighResAudio (Germany). ECM’s prices on HighResAudio (for me here in the US) are a bit stiff, $20 for an 88.2 or 96 album, but that’s ECM’s pricing choice because other jazz labels like Intakt or ACT charge less. ECM prices on HDtracks vary, and they have lots of promotions, but HDtracks often lacks behind on bringing out releases for whatever reason, while HighResAudio brings them out right away. I don’t like having to deal the label-created idiocy that some albums are not available from HighResAudio (which is German) for me in the US, and only (if they are) from HDtracks (which is US-based) for so-called “territorial constraints.”

Qobuz is fine, I think: €14 for Redbook, €20 for Highres.

Unfortunately it does not work for the US. Just created an account and tried to buy a few albums, got “Les produits suivants ne sont malheureusement pas disponibles à la vente dans votre pays.” The territorial restrictions that labels impose on online distributors are really infuriating. I want to give them good money for music and they won’t let me!

I’ve heard there are some ways to sign up for Qobuz from the US that involve making it seem like you’re in a “Qobuz country” when you sign up. You might want to ask around.

Completely unrelated to anything, you might want to check out this extension for the Chrome web browser.

Thanks, I’ve known about those “workarounds,” but I’d rather rely on legit means.

I wrestled with this for a while, but since one is trying to purchase downloads that can’t be otherwise purchased, it’s hard to see what the issue is, from the standpoint of the label or, most important to me, the artist.

This is so difficult that it’s almost an impossible task. However @RBM is right: a new month, a new Top Four! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

The trouble of responding late (been very busy) is that I’ve seen so many personal favorites come by, that I find it hard to come up with a new list. Anouar Brahem’s “Le Pas du Chat Noir” and June Tabor’s “Quercus” are two of my absolute all time favorites, but have been mentioned more than once if I’m correct. So I will try and add something new. Here we go:

Actually, this specific recording of Meredith Monk was one of the recordings expanding my musical horizon way beyond the rabbit hole, when I was a student (with Scott Walker’s “Tilt” and Hedningarna’s “Trå”).


I love the sound story of the artists who’ve developed their sound over the years on ECM, much the way The Beatles evolved from I Wanna Hold Your Hand to Let It Be.

Garbarek’s maturing voice on I Took Up the Runes (no pun intended) is really quite amazing to me. Sort of a parallel to Coltrane’s evolution. Probably no accident since Garbarek was highly influenced by Coltrane.

This recording blew me away and made me realize that ECM is simply one man’s taste in music… but, wow, does Manfred Eicher have incredible taste. It really shows that the popularity-based algorithms of search miss out on a significant dimension of human experience. When Napster came out in the early 2000s I remember specifically searching it for ECM recordings. I found one. 70,000,000 users and 1 ECM record.

No, it wasn’t this one. The Stephan Micus musical story is chronicled on ECM, too, his whole idea of music as some sort of intelligence. When I listen to his music it seems like listening to whales who are deep and hidden away in the depth of the sea.

Mededith Monk’s Facing North, my favorite of her discography.

First Metheny record I ever heard and probably because of that is my favorite.


I see I’m not the only Metheny inspired ECM person here :slight_smile: