Music Downloads Aren’t Taboo Anymore

Almost everyone is downloading music nowadays. With the advances in technology, even CDs are dropping in popularity. Who wants to cart around a book of CDs when you can fit twice as many songs on an MP3 player that fits in your hand?

One of the biggest problems with music downloads is that people try to get them for free. Illegal downloads are one of the most serious problems that the music industry faces. Some people don’t think it matters whether they get their music through illegal channels, but the problem has gotten so big that people who download pirated music are being prosecuted.

To keep yourself in the clear, and support the musicians you love, you need to make sure that the music downloads you get are legal. If you are unsure whether a certain site is selling music legally, there are some things that you can check.

The first thing to check is how long the site has been around. Pirating sites are usually shut down fairly quickly, or at least have a lot of problems keeping themselves going. If a site has been around for a long time, they are probably legitimate.

Also, check the names of the songs and artists. If the titles have a lot of misspellings and weird punctuation, the site is probably selling the music illegally. Scrambling the titles and names is an attempt by the person running the store to confuse people searching for pirated material. This is not usually very effective.

Something else you can check is the prices of the songs. If you’ve visited legitimate music companies, you probably have an idea of what music downloads cost. $.99 is a fairly common price for one song that has been out for awhile. If their prices are way lower than this, the music is probably pirated. If they are giving it away for free, you can almost guarantee it is.

Some people still don’t see a problem with downloading music illegally. But there is something they never seem to think about. If the person running the website is unscrupulous enough to cheat musicians out of their paychecks, what might they be willing to do with your personal information?

Buying downloads through completely legal, well established channels not only protects the rights of the musicians, it also protects you. Buying music really isn’t that expensive, and downloading it legally is still usually less expensive than buying a CD.

But the most important thing is that buying music legally keeps you out of trouble. You may think you’re safe because “everybody’s doing it” but there are hefty fines and jail time involved for those who are caught, and there is no way to know if you will be that person.

Find a music store that has been around for awhile and that offers downloads at good prices. Once you find a download store that you like, you’ll be glad to know that the people who earned the money are getting paid, and that your MP3 is full of legal music.

Free Music Download Sites – Are They Really Free?

You have your new Zune and you’re looking to put as much music, video, movies etc. on it as you can. One of the options is the free music download sites.

Before you use one of these sites it’s worth comparing it with the more legitimate sites to make sure you make the right decision. There are lots of free music download software programs out there and more and more becoming available every day.

Now, are these sites really free?

Typically, the free download sites have pop-ups, adware, spyware etc. They quite often have a “Pro” version that don’t have the ads but these can actually be more expensive than some pay sites. So they do come with a price – either you end up paying more, or you have the annoying ads, and potentially, viruses on your computer. In some extreme cases, it could mean legal problems too!

Almost all pay sites come with no pop-ups, technical support, privacy protection and a money-back guarantee or free trial offer. This means that even if you don’t like the service there is little financial risk as you will get your money back.

Some people think that they will try the free sites first and then move to the pay sites if they need to. That is all well and good, but the membership sites only charge $30-$50 for lifetime membership. That’s so inexpensive, is it really worth the risk?

The best thing to do is to research all the options and then choose the service with the least risk and best value for money. In most cases that will be the membership sites or the pay per download sites.

Is Rhapsody Music Downloads Service Getting A Good Rhap?

Rhapsody music, from RealNetworks is one of several reputable legal digital services for legal music downloads. In order to download online music or hear songs from them you have to pay for them first. In Rhapsody’s case, the cost is $9.99 per month after a 14 day free trial (the cost may reduced if you purchase it quarterly). Along with Rhapsody, these also include iTunes, Musicnet, Musicnow, wal-mart downloads, and the newly revived Napster.

The Rhapsody music service [] consists of over 1.2 million music downloads tracks in its catalog, thanks to nitching deals with all five label giants and over 500 independent labels.

Its fully-featured jukebox that makes Rhapsody music downloads searches a snap and importing tunes from, let’s say, a CD easy. Other elegant features include the ability to incorporate different files such as MP3, WMA, AAC (M4A), and RealAudio to your main Library. And you can mix these files in the library any way you like and develop different playlists after you import tracks and/or stream or download online music.

I’m very sure that the Rhapsody music downloads service will only improve with time.

So how did it all start?

Well, we need to rewind the clock some four years ago…

During that time iTunes did not exist, and Napster’s outlawed ancestor had reached its demise a few months prior. Nonetheless, there was… drumroll… Rhapsody.

While part of, the Rhapsody music downloads service [] was launched in December 2001. It wasn’t until July, however, that songs from all major labels became part of its diverse catalog. RealNetworks acquired in August 2003. After thus changing the name to RealRhapsody, the service regained its classic title, “Rhapsody”.

Downloading the software is fairly straight forward. Be advised, however, that this software is not Mac compatible. The music downloads and streamed tracks from Rhapsody are compatible with Windows Media devices which, of course, are only found on Windows PC’s and compatible portable devices.

The interface consists of your simple Play, Stop, etc. functions on the upper left-hand corner of your screen. Next to this is track information including: the title, the artist, and the album. A brief bio plays to the right of the track interface.

So how do you search for your favorite artist or song? Easy… just type it in the Search bar and press “Go”. Once you have found your song, you usually can INSTANTLY play it without downloading it – i.e., you can stream it. In some cases, you can automatically download online music while you listen to the stream. Note: sometimes when you press play, a “!” will appear in a triangle meaning that the stream is unavailable. In this case, you need to press the “+” sign. This adds the track to your Library where you can access it from there and add it to your playlist in the form of music downloads.

That said, the streams are of such excellent quality it seems the song is already downloaded on your computer.

If you don’t want the song to be played immediately (such as if you’re in the middle of listening to another song) you can just press the “+” sign to the left of the song title. Again, this will automatically store the song to the main library. In order to bring it to the playlist, you will have to open up the Library first and then drag the song to your playlist, much the same as how you would do with any other digital music downloads service.

If your library is large, don’t worry. The library search tool is similar to that of iTunes – very easy to find your tune or artist in order to stream or download online music.

OK. So these are some of the handy-dandy features of Rhapsody. But do they contribute to a pleasant experience for music downloads fans?

Stay tuned for my next article…