There are many online websites that offer music downloads, and other music download services. Some websites charge a per-music download charge, while other websites offer one monthly fee for unlimited music downloads. It has been documented that compact disc sales are on the decline (19% in the last couple of years), and online music download sales on an ever increasing trend. According to some reports, revenues from digital music sales have almost tripled in the last year; with Apple’s iTunes accounting for over 85 % of the single song music downloads. This does not mean, however, that Apple is the only source for online music downloading sites legal music download sites now account for about 6% of record companies’ revenues, which is an increase from the practically zero from two years ago. |
There are two types of music download sites, the “rent” sites and the “buy” sites. “Rent” sites are the music sites based on a single monthly fee that is paid to have access to unlimited listening rights for all the music in the catalog. “Buy” sites are a pay-per-download service, like iTunes, where the song can be burned onto a CD once the song is paid for. The CD can then be ripped to the computer which strips out any digital rights management restrictions.
Some online music sites require a monthly fee for unlimited listening, but also charge to purchase a song. There are even online music sites that sell independent label music. These smaller sites offer music downloads for some of the lowest prices on the internet.
Most online music downloading sites use the Windows Media Audio (WMA) file format. iTunes uses the AAC format. This is important to distinguish these two and to know which downloading sites support which because Apple iPods cannot play WMA files, and non-iPod devices cannot play the iTunes AAC format. Finding a website to download music could largely depend on this simple difference.
Some downloading sites are as cheap as 9 cents per average song. In addition, these websites have songs that can be downloaded in any common audio format and quality level. Sometimes the music download sites are so cheap and easy to use that many people choose to download music from these sites instead of ripping CD collections onto the computer.
Just like most things in life, it could be too good to be true. The problem is that while these cheap music download sites offer cheap downloads, they could possibly operate under different sets of rules. One such website operates with Russian copyright law. Or, some services have been around for so long that it has loyal customers, but the continued existence is called to question. Some people have concerns that the music download service does not support any service in which the music download money does not make it back to the artist or label.
Again, for any person downloading music onto an iPod, iTunes is probably the best bet. For any music not being downloaded onto an iPod, any other music source will work. When finding the best quality music downloads, one should look for the music download sites with the largest selection of music, a regularly updated selection, and high quality downloads. It is possible, however, that the higher quality of downloading sites is among the more expensive. In this case, it leaves the question, is it worth the few extra cents? The answer is almost typically yes.
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