The six best digital music download sites

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Fewer persons are downloading music from the net illegally than ever just before, based on a report this week from Entertainment Media Research.

The study in part attributes this lower to consumers' fears that web service providers will reduce off their internet access if they are located to become illegally downloading or sharing songs.

That was terrific should you owned an iPod, but not much aid in the event you made use of one more music player - most songs sold by way of the iTunes Music Retailer are encrypted with digital rights-management software program (DRM) that prevents piracy and illegal copying, but additionally restricts the kind of devices tracks is often stored and played on.

Customers had been reluctant to spend for legal download services when the techniques in which they could make use of the music had been so heavily restricted, and varied so widely from service to service.

Added to this, music offered on peer-to-peer filesharing websites was DRM-free, and playable on any MP3 player, so it's not tough to see why a lot of people today turned to illegal downloading.

Occasions are altering, nonetheless, as record labels acknowledge that supplying shoppers using the music they want, inside the format they want it, is actually a substantially improved way of encouraging people today to spend for songs.

Several on line music retailers have launched in current months that offer legal downloads from all the "big four" record labels, along with a huge selection of independents, within a universal, DRM-free MP3 format that will be utilised on any device.

7 Digital, for instance, was the first web site in Britain to offer you this sort of legal music download service, whilst Amazon's similar digital download retailer has verified a big success in America. It's expected to launch in this country subsequent year.

1 exciting fact the study uncovered would be the distinction in attitude to downloads among teenagers and adults. Though 58 per cent of 13- to 17-year-olds surveyed stated they had been downloading songs illegally, over-35s had been much more inclined to download no less than one song per month from a legal source.

Possibly the issue right here is one of income as a lot as perception. Youngsters who've grown up together with the web, and for whom peer-to-peer filesharing web sites are second nature, happen to be made use of to the "cult of free" that exists on the web - that every thing from social networks to e mail to watching videos on YouTube is readily available at no charge - and apply a comparable mantra to music.

Young individuals are also most likely to dabble in a selection of music genres, from hip hop to death metal, as an alternative to possibly constructing a devoted music collection in the similar way an individual over 35 may choose to do.

That is why a lot of mobile phone providers, like Nokia and Sony Ericsson, have started to offer prospects the ability to download unlimited tracks to their phones for any flat month-to-month fee, and lots of on the internet services also provide limitless downloads.


Napster gives various music download solutions to suit every single spending budget. It offers greater than six million tracks from all the significant artists, which customers can download on a per song basis (79p every single) or album basis (starting at £7.95), and own the music forever. Or for any flat charge of £9.95, users can download unlimited tracks they will transfer in between their Pc and compatible MP3 player, and own the music forever. Napster's service is compatible with greater than 75 music devices, including those by Inventive, iRiver and Samsung. Not compatible with Apple's OS X operating program or iPod music players.


Emusic, also at also at, presents greater than four million tracks from greater than 27,000 independent record labels, in addition to greater than two,000 audio books. It's aimed at an older crowd of downloaders who delight in discovering new music or have eclectic tastes. It is a subscription-based service, with packages starting at £10.99 per month for 30 song downloads monthly. Users 'own' instead of 'rent' their downloads, so you can continue to play the tracks even when your subscription with music comes to an finish. Songs downloaded from music are compatible with practically just about every MP3 player, like Apple's iPod range.

Tesco Digital

Supermarkets have extended been stocking the best-selling singles and albums on their shelves alongside cartons of milk and loaves of bread, so establishing a web-based shop seemed like an clear progression. Tesco gives more than three million music and video tracks inside a mixture of MP3 and WMA format, so some songs are encrypted with DRM technologies, though Tesco aims to supply all tracks as MP3s by the finish with the year. You own any songs you invest in forever, and if they are within the MP3 format, they are able to be transferred to a host of compatible devices. If you finish up losing your digital copy of your song either because you've accidentally deleted it or your laptop or computer breaks, you could download it once again for free up to four instances. Most singles price 79p, and albums vary in price tag

PlayDigital offers greater than three million tracks from all the major record labels together with loads of smaller publishers, and due to the fact all of its tracks are readily available DRM-free in the MP3 format, they will be played on any device, such as iPods. Prices differ from track to track and album to album, but a lot of songs price about 65p, and albums commence at around £4.99. It performs on PCs and Macs simply because you don't should set up any computer software.

7 Digital

There is more than 4 million songs to select from here, from a huge roster of artists. All songs are DRM-free MP3s, so is often copied to any music device, including iPods. Singles start out at 50p, albums at £5, along with the music is yours to keep forever.


Apple's download service, despite its restrictions, remains one of the most well-liked legal music download internet site, selling greater than five billion songs given that it went online in 2003. With the exception of several "iTunes Plus" songs, that are free from DRM encryption, songs purchased through the iTunes music shop can only be played on Apple's selection of iPod music players. There is a flat pricing structure of 79p per song, when albums differ in cost.

An additional reason for the growing popularity of legal downloads will have to surely be the number of decent on the net services that happen to be offered.

Until pretty lately, when you wanted to download music from the net, the only selection was Apple's iTunes Music Shop.

Vist the site to check it out!

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