Music Downloading – At Last It’s Becoming Legal

It is finally becoming easier to legally access, download and enjoy an unlimited amount of music online. It wasn’t so long ago that any online service offering unlimited music downloads would have been accused of pirating. But everything is changing.

Take Napster for example. Just a few years ago, Napster was the bad boy, enabling people all around the world to download unlimited mp3s through a clever music file-sharing application. The site’s popularity soared. Then came the copycats, and eventually, the lawsuits. The music industry fought music downloading with everything it had.

Fast forward a couple of years and the industry is starting to embrace online music downloading. Major record companies are inking deals with legitimate music download sites. Even our old friend Napster has now become a model citizen. That’s right, it’s hard to believe it, but you can now legally download as much music as you want at Napster. It might not be free, but it’s not really that expensive either.

Napster is not alone. Today there are multiple legitimate music streaming and music downloading services available, including Yahoo Music Now, Real’s Rhapsody, and the brand new MusicStation service from Omnifone.

MusicStation is a low-cost, flat-rate music downloading service that can be accessed on most wireless handsets in Europe and Asia. MusicStation users in the UK can download all the music they want for £1.99 per week. A premium membership costs an extra £1 per week and premium users can send the music files to a PC as well as onto their phones or wireless handsets.

So, music lovers, if you’ve been hiding away from music downloading because you didn’t want the piracy watchdog knocking on your door, you will be pleased to know it’s alright to come out now. You can now download all the music you want, legally, with a low-priced monthly membership from a legitimate music site.

Dust off your speakers. Unpack those old boxes of blank CDs. It’s time to get back online again and get downloading all your favorite music tunes.

What to Look for in a Music Download Site

Since the mid-1990s brought the beginning of legal battles surrounding digital music, the subject of downloading music has been a tricky one. It’s hard to know what is legal and what isn’t, and the potential risks associated with downloading anything can sometimes make people hesitate to try new sites for music downloads.

The threat of viruses and spyware would be enough to make anyone wary. Add to that the fact the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) has been extremely aggressive in its pursuit of illegal downloads, and you have some compelling reasons to be nervous about downloading music.

As long as you take precautions to protect yourself from malicious software and from potential litigation, though, downloading music is the best way to get new songs for your computer or MP3 player. You can buy individual songs rather than entire albums, and you don’t have to deal with having a house full of CD cases. Digital; music is most definitely the wave of the future, so it’s worth finding out how to locate safe and legal music downloads.

When you are looking for a site to download music from, your first concern should be making sure that it is legal. Some companies outside of the US claim to be exempt from US music distribution laws and therefore state that they have a right to offer music for download without a license to do so. The legality of these sites highly questionable. If you find yourself at a site which is offering songs at what seems like an unusually low price, there is probably a good reason for that: they are doing it illegally.

There are five basic factors that you should look at after legality: price, selection, format, digital rights management (DRM), and extras. The first two, price and selection, are very similar between the big download sites. The infamous-but-reformed Napster offers roughly the same amount of tracks as Apple’s iTunes, and the per-track price for both sites is 99 cents. However, Napster also offers an unlimited monthly plan that allows you to pay one price to download unlimited songs per month – something that iTunes has yet to explore. A lot of enthusiasts argue that this makes Napster a better value.

Selection is something that’s extremely important to many of us – more important, even, than price. When you want a particular album or you need to check out a new band, you don’t want to see that your preferred site for music downloads doesn’t carry that artist. Of course, you have to expect that it will happen sometimes – but if you can’t find any of your favorite music on a particular site, it’s time to move on.

If you plan to use your music downloads on a portable music player, it is essential to know what format is offered by the site that you choose and whether it is compatible with your portable player. Some sites or services offer only a proprietary format that can only be used with their software. This is very limiting and can frustratingly lock you into using only one type of musical device forever because your entire music library is in that format.

DRM is an issue that most of the internet community divided. This is a way for music distributors to control what happens to the music that you download. If you want to download music and then use it to burn CDs, you will need to make sure that the DRM allowances for that particular music download site will let you burn CDs of downloaded tracks. Some sites allow a maximum number of times you can burn a song or playlist, some require additional payment, and some will not allow you to burn CDs from downloaded songs at all.

Finally, the extras that you get with your music downloads might be enough to tip the scales one way or the other for you if you are deciding between two sites. Some music download services will include additional files with the download of albums – but not the malicious kind of additional files. These files are like the liner notes that come in CDs. This type of additional offering is great for those who don’t want to miss out on the great cover art and notes that bands include with their CDs.

Armed with this information, you should be able to make an informed decision about which site is best for you when you’re looking for legal music downloads. If you are having trouble making a choice between several contenders, there are plenty of site reviews online that will give you all of the information you need about the music download sites you’re interested in. When in doubt, stick to a well-known service to avoid running into problems with spyware, viruses, and questionable legality.

How To Choose The Right Music Download Sites For Your PSP!

In considering the “right” music download site for your requirements you have to know what you want. In general, PSP users fall into three categories, the first one could be labelled “price insensitive” (PSP users who have deep pockets), the second category the ‘freebie’ seekers and the third category will include PSP users who have been in the first category and are now finding that sourcing PSP music to be quite expensive.

Quite often, PSP users who would now prefer to have cheap or free PSP music are more often opting to search for “free” content download sites. These exist, most of these are bad in the sense that you can end up downloading a lot of viruses or broken link music files-which is not what you really want.

To be sure, there are PSP users that really dig searching for these P2P sites and “technically savvy” enough to overcome any of the spyware or Trojan problems that they may get. In fact for some this is actually a thrill. Hopefully, you are not in this category. It would be fair to say that most consumers want the most value for the least hassle.

If you are tempted to go down the freebie route – please don’t. Take it from me, you will end up with more hassles than it’s worth. The bottom line is that free doesn’t always mean free.

You may already be the owner of an iPod, in addition to your PSP, if so then the best way to go for the iPod is to download from iTunes or Napster, even if it costs $.99 per download. However, you may not be aware that there are differences in the file format for playing in PSP and an iPod. Fortunately, these differences are not difficult to overcome. So, if you are looking, primarily for music for a PSP then you’re going to have to source a download site that specialises in downloading music specifically for your PSP.

6 options to consider in choosing the right music download sites for your PSP are listed below:

It is always wise before doing anything to research especially as far as music download sites are concerned.

Research has shown that most purchases are a result of an “impulse” decision. Many times these work out though often they don’t. As the initial starting step, one should look first at the search engines. What you will notice initially if you search for free download sites are many “torrent” (P2P) sites offering free downloads. Avoid these for the reasons mentioned above!

What do I do now?

You’re probably thinking, if paying per download is too expensive and freebie sites are too dangerous then what can I do? One, sensible option is to look at a category of site known as an unlimited download site. These sites will charge for a lifetime membership or a yearly membership – it’s best to go for a lifetime membership as this should cost no more than $40. However, it is prudent to remember that not all sites are created equal and there are some very poor quality sites out there! Therefore, I will now go into more detail to help you select the right music download sites for you.

1. Variety is the spice of life

Range, if there’s plenty of choice in the site then it is more likely to be good quality. There are quite a few PSP sites that will lean more heavily towards one style of music over another simply because most PSP sites cater for gamers not music lovers. However, there are quite a few sites out there that have as much choice in music as some of the iPod dedicated sites.

2. A large selection of music files must be available

This is important because the site can have an extensive range of styles but very little choice of music within the styles. As mentioned beforehand there are a number of PSP sites which claim to have a large selection of files but they don’t. The best PSP music download sites will not only have current but older music as well.

3. The PSP site must come with free and extensive media downloading software

The good thing about these sites, is that most of them do provide adequate to excellent software. However, it does bear checking that the software the site provides is compatible with your PC and your PSP otherwise you’re wasting your money.

4. High download speed is a must

Even if you have a high-speed DSL connection you can only download or upload as fast as the ‘other modem’ connection will permit you to. Your average download should take no more and 5 to 10 seconds for music but obviously downloading a video, or even a music video is going to take longer simply because of the file size – so please take file size into consideration.

5. Navigation must be easy

The benchmark for easy navigation would have to be iTunes or Napster. Luckily many of the sites have interfaces that are easily navigable. However, I have come across some sites that provide great music but are an absolute nightmare to navigate through to get the music. I can’t be bothered with wasting time so why should you! A bad navigation area to me means a bad site-so if you find a site which you have difficulty searching for music then you’re on the wrong site.

Ironically, the not so good sites can have very flashy membership areas so don’t be fooled by appearance.

6. Technical assistance is extremely important

As with all things in life, not everything works according to plan. Even with a very good site there may still be files that are either corrupted or have broken links. Sometimes this is a technical issue sometimes not but it’s always reassuring to know if there is a problem that there is a quick solution. The very best sites, have a 24-hour turnaround in support. You should accept nothing less however you also have to remember that if you are paying $40 then don’t expect instant problem-solving.