Video:Online Music Storeswith About.com Video
Need some help sorting through the world of digital music? See comparisons of the top online music stores from Apple's iTunes to Yahoo! Music.See Transcript
Transcript:Online Music StoresOnline Music Stores
If your music library reads like a 1980's top 40 chart (you know who you are) there's no faster way to freshen your collection than downloading digital music. Thanks to high-speed Internet access from Cable and DSL connections, getting music online has become easier and faster. It now only takes minutes, even seconds, to download your favorite tunes.
Online Music Store ChoicesIt might take you more time to decide which online store you're going to use. There are a half dozen or so out there. And, the best part, they're legal. Here's a breakdown.
Apple's Online Music StoreApple's Music Store or "iTunes" dominates the market, having sold some 350-million songs. Apple charges 99 cents per song. You can get most full albums for about 10 bucks. Both PC and Macintosh users can use the store to download songs onto their computer. The music can then be loaded onto your iPod through software or burned onto a CD, but the number of times you can make that transfer is limited. But, once you buy a song, you own it. The store also has one of the largest song libraries of the bunch with one and a half million songs.
Microsoft's Online Music StoreMicrosoft's music store, "MSN music," is very similar. It also offers a pay-per-song plan at the same rate as Apple, 99 cents a tune. But, the library is a little smaller, with just over a million songs. And, you can't put these tunes onto an iPod, only MP3 players that support the Windows Media format, like the Creative, or the Rio.
Yahoo's Online Music StoreThe newest kid on the music block is "Yahoo Music Unlimited." What makes this subscription-based service unique? It's charging less than the competition. You only pay about 5 bucks a month, if you sign up for a one-year membership. That gives you unlimited access to a song library of more than one million songs, about the same size as iTunes. With Yahoo Music Unlimited, you can transfer tracks to portable music players that are compatible with the Windows Media "plays for sure" brand. You can also share tracks through Yahoo Messenger. But, you don't 'own' the songs. As with any subscription service, once you stop paying, the music stops playing.
Subscription Based Online Music StoresOther major subscription-based services, like Napster 2.0 and Real Network's "Rhapsody," charge about 15 bucks a month for comparable services. Rhapsody also offers a free service hoping to lure in new users called Rhapsody 25. You can stream up to 25 'complete' songs a month for free; instead of the 30-second samples you get with iTunes and MSN Music. The company hopes that this service will lure you into buying a subscription.
MP3 Player and Online Music Store CompatibilityNapster and Rhapsody are only supported by a few music players; none of which are named iPod. Basically, the music store you use, depends on the player you use.
One last note, while you're shopping around, make sure you avoid person-to-person music sharing sites. Not only can they give your computer a nasty virus, they're also illegal.
I'm Brett Larson, About Gadgets.
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