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  1. #1
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Cheapest "Legal" download site?

    What's the "best" legal download site for songs? What's the cheapest? What's the best combo of the two? Sorry to be so terse but Junior wants his music and is in my ass since I gave up Kazzalite.

    Thanks in advance...

    Dave

  2. #2
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  3. #3
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    first...thats not "legal"...its still P2P

    well, the most popular seems to be Limewire, i tried it once...not very into the whole P2P thing...i like my music clean and legal from iTunes...or even CD (GASP)

  4. #4
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    allofmp3 for now..

    allofmp3.com is the best of the current 'legal' websites. It looks like it's days are numbered due to international pressure to close it down. It's a Russion site and uses a lopohole in Russion law to justify it's existence. Since Pirate Bay was taken down recently, allofmp3 seems to be in the sites of the RIAA and other organizations. In the mean time, it has far better choice for quality options and cost. I've never heard or read of a problem with dealing with this site but I wouldn't use a primary credit card and certainly not a debit card. Visa, for example, has a service that will let you generate a single use number for charges. http://www.allofmp3.com/

  5. #5
    Suspended Smokey's Avatar
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    If you know how to use Usenet, you can downlaod MP3 music for free. There are literally over million songs on Usenet which are updated daily (over 30 day archive).

    Do a Google on Usenet

  6. #6
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bubbagump
    allofmp3.com is the best of the current 'legal' websites. It looks like it's days are numbered due to international pressure to close it down. It's a Russion site and uses a lopohole in Russion law to justify it's existence. Since Pirate Bay was taken down recently, allofmp3 seems to be in the sites of the RIAA and other organizations. In the mean time, it has far better choice for quality options and cost. I've never heard or read of a problem with dealing with this site but I wouldn't use a primary credit card and certainly not a debit card. Visa, for example, has a service that will let you generate a single use number for charges. http://www.allofmp3.com/
    legal (maybe) to use in Russia, but not to download from in US...

  7. #7
    nightflier
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    allofmp3 will also sell the MP3 music on CD, which is then sent to you so you don't have to download anything all the way from a Russian host. I agree that using visa's temporary numbers is the safest payment option.

    Another site is emusic.com, although their selection is not very comprehensive. Their fee structure is $.22-.25 per song, which is a lot cheaper than iTunes (or Walmart @ $.88 a song). It's also a lot more liberal about what you can do with the tunes - once you download the MP3 file, you can burn it as many times as you like or copy it to any of your devices - you just can't share the file online with others.

    Another site that I have not tried, but gets a lot of positive reviews is EthicalDownloads.co.uk. They pay royalties directly to the artists through LegalSounds.com and donate 25% of revenues to one of several charities (you choose). LegalSounds is a Russian-based service so you'll probably have the same semi-legality issues as with allofmp3.com. That said, the cost per song is a lot less and according to the site, the royalties go straight to the artists, bypassing the big-name multimedia corporations, so it may make you feel better (or worse, depending on your perspective) about downloading from them.

  8. #8
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    An alternative would be a subscription download service like Rhapsody or Napster (2.0). Completely legal, unlimited, and compatible with some subscription-enabled MP3 players, but the downside is that your playlists and libraries only work so long as you remain a subscriber. I know that Rhapsody costs $10 a month, not sure about Napster.
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  9. #9
    nightflier
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    Just wanted to add: there's been a lot of talk about 247downloads.com. It had the potential to be something but almost everyone's who's tried it has been ripped off. Those few people (about 10%) who have not had problems love it, but the rest lost their money. There's some speculation that they are having some financial troubles, but their biggest problem is that despite a slick website, there does not seem to be anybody home when you need assistance, refunds, documentation, etc. So if anyone recommends them, stay away.

    Just out of curiosity, how does the catalog of iTunes compare to Napster & Rhapsody? After all, it's all about the selection.

  10. #10
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    iTMS has a HUGE selection, they lack a few of the classics (search "Led Zeppelin" and all you get is a few "led zeppelin tribute" songs) but they mostly cater to all tastes.

    Napster is free to listen to songs online! well, 5 times anyway, so give 'em a try...
    you can't download them, but if you REALLY have to hear that some one more time, its worth it.

    meh, for us teens, Limewire still rules...spyware free, ad-ware free, its all good ('cept for the illegal downloads )

  11. #11
    Forum Regular DaHaq's Avatar
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    I still don't understand why anyone would actually pay for a download. Is it so hard to drive to the store and buy the disk? And god help you if you want a bunch of short minute long songs, 'cause each one'll run you the same 99 cents as that single 15 minute epic prog suite.

  12. #12
    rockin' the mid-fi audio_dude's Avatar
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    well, after a week of playing with limewire, i'd say its probably the best. Huge selection of content, fast downloads, and each song usually has at least 1 thats encoded at 192, or 320 kbps MP3!!

  13. #13
    Forum Regular royphil345's Avatar
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    Shareaza hooks you up to it's own network, also the same network limewire uses, and the eDonkey network which is slow, but sometimes comes in handy for getting a rarer file.

    On the downside, it tends to crash routers and even DSL modems if the settings aren't exactly right. Finally got it working 100% reliably with my DSL modem, router still locks up at times when I add it to the mix..

  14. #14
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DaHaq
    I still don't understand why anyone would actually pay for a download. Is it so hard to drive to the store and buy the disk? And god help you if you want a bunch of short minute long songs, 'cause each one'll run you the same 99 cents as that single 15 minute epic prog suite.
    I think you just answered your own question -- people want a bunch of short songs, but they don't want all of the other filler material that might tag along with a $15-$18 CD. Increasingly, consumers are not listening to entire albums, but putting together their own playlists from music stored on their hard drive.

    Driving to a local store to buy music is increasingly an anachronism. For one thing, the neighborhood music store is rapidly dying out. More music is now sold through discount stores or big box electronics stores, which tend to maintain a smaller selection of titles than dedicated music stores. The music stores themselves are consolidating more into large-scale spaces that serve more of a regional market. If the music you're looking for isn't available at Wal-Mart or Target, the store that does carry the title you want might not be located nearby.

    The downloading culture that's built up over the past decade is changing how music is distributed, and you have an entire generation of teenagers who do not view music collections in terms of disc media. There's a reason why iPod sales are more than double the combined sales total of all home audio components. The iPod ties more closely with the view of music as a fluid on-demand commodity, rather than one that's tied to some form of physical media. My main gripe about the downloading culture is that it encourages people to view music as something that has no inherent value because it's so easily pirated.
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  15. #15
    nightflier
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    If you are going to download music through shareaza, limewire, edonkey, etc., then set your program to only download and do not share your files. Apparently all the lawsuits that individuals have been slapped with, were the result of illegally sharing files on their own computers. I'm not saying it's kosher to downloaded pirated music, but to protect yourself legally, don't share your files. And I know this goes against the spirit of these networks, but here in the US it is just too much of a risk.

    If you want free music, legally, you'll need to find sites that specialize in this. There are a few, but the music is either not mainstream or mostly b-sides. You'll also need to download files who's compression algorythm is not copyrighted, so even mp3 files are out. The most common open-source format is ogg vorbis, with the .ogg file extension. Typically files found on the internet with this extension will also be legally free as well (google search will turn some up). There has not been any case of individuals being accused of copyright infringement when using mp3 encoding, but when files are being shared illegally, then a case could also be made that the encoding is being used illegally.

    At least that's the way I understand it - maybe there are some legal eagles out there who can clarify all this.

  16. #16
    Mutant from table 9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Woochifer
    I think you just answered your own question -- people want a bunch of short songs, but they don't want all of the other filler material that might tag along with a $15-$18 CD. Increasingly, consumers are not listening to entire albums, but putting together their own playlists from music stored on their hard drive.

    Driving to a local store to buy music is increasingly an anachronism. For one thing, the neighborhood music store is rapidly dying out. More music is now sold through discount stores or big box electronics stores, which tend to maintain a smaller selection of titles than dedicated music stores. The music stores themselves are consolidating more into large-scale spaces that serve more of a regional market. If the music you're looking for isn't available at Wal-Mart or Target, the store that does carry the title you want might not be located nearby.

    The downloading culture that's built up over the past decade is changing how music is distributed, and you have an entire generation of teenagers who do not view music collections in terms of disc media. There's a reason why iPod sales are more than double the combined sales total of all home audio components. The iPod ties more closely with the view of music as a fluid on-demand commodity, rather than one that's tied to some form of physical media. My main gripe about the downloading culture is that it encourages people to view music as something that has no inherent value because it's so easily pirated.

    All good points. But DaHaq's question got me thinking about one of my favorite records, a punk rock compilation by the Fat Wreck Chord label called "Short Music for Short People." It was 99 songs with each song thirty seconds or less in length by 99 different artists. All from punk bands a diverse as Greenday, Blink, DancehallCrashers, Damnee, AFI, ect. Under the Itunes model, that disk contained $99 dollars worth of music. But it sold for less than $5 as a promo disk. This was a fun disk but it is dependant on the "album" concept. I don't know where experimental records like that are going to go to now.

  17. #17
    nightflier
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    That brings up a good point. Is Beethoven's 9th just 99 cents on iTunes?

  18. #18
    Forum Regular DaHaq's Avatar
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    A quick look through the results for typing "Beethoven" into iTunes shows a long list of songs, all of them 99 cents, but ranging in length from 30 seconds to 10 minutes. I do have iTunes, but only because I have an iPod; I've never actually used it to download music. The music store is convenient for sampling artists, at least.

  19. #19
    Forum Regular Woochifer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    All good points. But DaHaq's question got me thinking about one of my favorite records, a punk rock compilation by the Fat Wreck Chord label called "Short Music for Short People." It was 99 songs with each song thirty seconds or less in length by 99 different artists. All from punk bands a diverse as Greenday, Blink, DancehallCrashers, Damnee, AFI, ect. Under the Itunes model, that disk contained $99 dollars worth of music. But it sold for less than $5 as a promo disk. This was a fun disk but it is dependant on the "album" concept. I don't know where experimental records like that are going to go to now.
    LOL

    I guess I won't be buying too many Minutemen albums using iTunes, eh?
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  20. #20
    nightflier
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    This is exactly where the 99cents per song model falls flat. If a 30 second tune costs the same as a 10 minute one, all those people paying for the 30 second tune are being fleeced. This is only possible because there is no competition in the marketplace (sorry but Napster 2.duh doesn't even come close). For all allofmp3.com's faults, it is still the only site that charges based on compression quality and size. The day iTunes offers that, it's shareholders will scream bloddy murder and the RIAA will have a coronary. The American music industry is, for lack of a better term, a Mercantilist system. And while we rebelled against King George for abusing us some 200 hundred years ago, we seem to be welcoming him back now. As the bumper sticker says: "If you're not outraged, then you're not paying attention."

  21. #21
    Big science. Hallelujah. noddin0ff's Avatar
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    Yeah, but if the price of a song is determined by its length, then ultimately artists are going to be forced to sing endless chorus and refrains just to pump up the profit margin...and every song will have a pointless five minute instumental solo...

    (The clever ones will also start dumping in a bunch of white noise into the mix because it doesn't compress well...)

  22. #22
    nightflier
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    That's why there's a marketplace

    Quote Originally Posted by noddin0ff
    Yeah, but if the price of a song is determined by its length, then ultimately artists are going to be forced to sing endless chorus and refrains just to pump up the profit margin...and every song will have a pointless five minute instumental solo...

    (The clever ones will also start dumping in a bunch of white noise into the mix because it doesn't compress well...)
    Then one would hope that the marketplace would weed out those artists who try to rip off the public. Personally, if I'm not getting my money's worth in a download, I'll move to another artist. That's the beauty of choice. Same goes for white noise, although that can electronically be removed from the music before it is made available for sale.

  23. #23
    Sgt. At Arms Worf101's Avatar
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    Sigh I had hopes..

    I had hopes that iTunes or AOL would have a price scale so that older songs/standards would cost pennies while newer content could cost say a buck or more to download. .99 cents for Bab's version of "'Stoney End" for my Laura Nyro Covers Collection... err I don't think so.

    Da Worfster

  24. #24
    nightflier
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    Worf,

    It is because of this price gouging that shareaza, limewire, and edonkey are still so popular. If the music industry had just been more proactive and fair in the first place, these would long have disappeared. Instead they are criminalizing the protesters (hmmmm, where have I heard that before... maybe it's time for another tea party....

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