We Know: Tips on Choosing a Music Download Site

What's the process for downloading music?

On an online music download site, you download their software if necessary. You indicate the song you wish to download, then set up an account with your credit card. You download the song to your computer and listen to it, burn it to a CD, or copy it to a music player.

Downloaded songs cost just under a dollar each.

What to Know About Music Download Sites

Keep these things in mind when shopping for a music download site:

  • Because not every site has music in every digital format, decide ahead of time what file format you need. You need to make sure your music player is compatible with the download site's available formats.
  • If you only need an audio format to play the song on your computer or burn it to a CD for your stereo, any of the most popular music download sites should be fine.
  • Each company varies as far as their digital rights and rules go. Know ahead of time exactly what you will want to do with the music after you download it.
  • Apple's iPod portable MP3 players will only download music from Apple's iTunes service, but other MP3 players will play music from many sites.

What are the major music sites?

New music sites are available all the time, but the following are the most popular:

  1. iTunes: This is your only choice for an iPod player. iTunes plays music in the AAC digital format, but songs can be stored as MP3s, which means you can use iTunes for players other than iPods. iTunes can download music to Mac or Windows computers. It also offers music management software.
  2. Wal-Mart: A Windows-only site, their WMA-formatted songs cost about ten cents less than most music sites. With a Windows Media Player, you will not have to download any software for the songs.
  3. Napster: Songs are no longer free on this now legal site for Windows only computers. It offers a subscription service in which you can listen to WMA and MP3 formatted songs 24/7 for a set price per month. It also shows you what other songs are being listening to and offers music management software.
  4. MusicMatch: Songs are in the WMA format. Their free downloadable software works as a music player and management system. The software can suggest new music for you based on what you are already playing. Additional features and an ad-free interface are available with a paid upgrade.

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