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Music Download - Where?

Where toWhere to download music legally?

Legal downloading has at last entered the mainstream. A handful of major vendors, such as iTunes and Napster, offer catalogues of more than a million tracks in all genres, while a small but growing number of labels and artists have started selling MP3s directly from their own websites. There are even many legal freebies to be had: various sites provide tracks by up-and-coming artists keen for exposure, while labels often dish out a free song to help promote an album.

Below are links to a few of the major players. Things change all the time, and this list is far from exhaustive, so keep checking back to see what's happening

Hundreds of free downloads in MP3 format: some from high-profile artists and others from up-and-coming talent. Perhaps Amazon is either trying to drive traffic before it starts charging, or hopes its downloads will push up CD sales.

(Extracted from: (Guardian Unlimited Report - Where to download music legally?)

HMV's first UK download service was an off-the-shelf store from OD2 (seebelow). In September 2005, however, the company joined forces with Microsoftto launch a bells-and-whistles jukebox program with built-in music store. Aswith Napster, it's a Windows-only service that offers more than 1,000,000songs (plus exclusive content), either as "permanent" downloads (at 79p pertrack) or via unlimited access to "temporary" downloads, which keep playingfor as long as you remain a subscriber (?14.99 per month). All downloads canbe transferred to MP3 players, though not iPods.

Artist Direct
Another Stateside CD store that offers a few freebies, but this time they're streams rather than real downloads and hence can't be saved to your hard drive or transferred to your MP3 player.

iTunes Music Store UK
iTunes, produced by Apple but available for Mac and PC, is a jukebox software package (probably the best available) for organisng and playing music, ripping CDs and transferring songs to iPods. It also provides access to Apple's iTunes Music Store, the most successful download service by a vast margin. Its wide-ranging catalogue of 1.5 million tracks is available for 79p a pop; albums vary, but most cost in the region of ?8. The only downside is that the file format - DRM-protected AAC - means the music will only play back using iTunes or iPods.

PlayLouder is currently making headlines for its planned "music ISP", which will combine broadband internet access with legal peer-to-peer file sharing. For now, though, PlayLouder is a music site featuring news, reviews, a whole bunch of attitude and plenty of MP3s. Join the Singles Club for free downloads of three selected bands each month, or go straight to the MP3 Shop for a decent pay-to-download selection with a rock and alternative flavour. Tracks are 99p each; albums are priced by the number of songs, up to a maximum of ?7.99. Variable-bitrate MP3s ensure unusually good sound quality and compatibility with all computers and players.

Like arch-rival HMV, Virgin recently closed its pre-fab OD2 store andlaunched a major UK digital music service of its own. As with Napster, itoffers protected WMA files that will play back on PCs and many MP3 players,either via a 79p pay-as-you-go option or through an unlimited monthlysubscription plan (?9.99 for computer only; ?14.99 if you want MP3-playercapabilities). Virgin's clean-looking jukebox software takes a leaf out ofiTunes' book, but iPods aren't supported.

If the grocery-style branding doesn't put you off ("Start downloading great music at everyday low prices"), you'll find a decent-enough range of mainstream tracks at the ubiquitous 79p price-point. Everything is in protected WMA files, so Mac and iPod owners need not apply, but at least the sound quality is high - 192 kbps.

Music Download Sites
Music is your source for legal and free MP3 downloads. Download MP3s from thousands of artists.

MP3 Music Downloads offers links to legal digital music downloads from a wide variety of services. Buy MP3 music online from your favorite artists

- stands alone as the only digital music service entirely focused on serving the needs of independent music fans and independent labels. Delivering more than one million downloads each month, eMusic is among the top digital music services, offering a diverse catalog of 1,000,000 tracks from established and emerging artists in every genre from the world's top independent labels. Founded in 1998, eMusic was the first service to sell songs and albums in the popular MP3 format and the first company to launch a digital music subscription service. eMusic respects consumers needs for flexibility; members have complete flexibility to burn CDs, transfer to MP3 devices and make multiple copies of downloaded music for personal use. eMusic also offers access to exclusive recordings from eMusicLive's network of premier music venues across the country. eMusic subscription plans start at $9.99 per month for 40 downloads. A free trial is available to all new users. Based in New York, eMusic is wholly owned by Dimensional Associates, Inc., the private equity arm of JDS Capital management, Inc.
Napster has extensive content agreements with the five major record labels, as well as hundreds of independents. Napster delivers access to the largest catalog of online music, with over 1,000,000 tracks and mp3 spanning all genres from Eminem to Miles Davis. Napster has offices in London, Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York.