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Legal Music Download Sites – Which Ones are Really Legal



Legal music download sites. Just the phrase itself can bring about a number of different opinions. It can even cause confusion.


Let’s spend a few minutes talking about what’s not legal when it comes to downloading music. Here we go.


Peer to peer networks – downloading music files using peer-to-peer networking software is not legal, no matter what anyone else tries to tell you. Music or other files shared by way of software such as Limewire, Kazaa, Bear Share and other similar pieces of software is a clear violation of copyright laws. Downloading music this way pulls the files from the computers of other users of the peer-to-peer software. These users are not licensed by the recording industry to distribute music files. This makes it 100% illegal.


YouTube Videos – There are hundreds, or maybe even thousands of videos on YouTube.com that will tell you how to find music to download on the web. Some of these music files are sitting on the web servers of other people. These videos will show you how to search and find these files and then download them. Unfortunately, most of these videos are created and uploaded by kids who have no comprehension of the laws they’re violating, so they ignorantly pass their illegal activities along to other unknowing users.


Personal file sharing – Many of us have done this. We buy a new CD or we pay to download some songs from one of the legal music sites and we like the new music so much that we give copies to our friends. It seems innocent enough. After all, we’re only sharing a few songs with someone we know. It’s not like we’re opening up our entire hard drive to share it with the world. Nonetheless, it’s still illegal file sharing. We are taking copyrighted digital files and giving them to someone who hasn’t paid for them.


There are other methods of sharing files or obtaining music files illegally, but I think the three mentioned above are enough to get the point across.


So now let’s talk about legal music download sites. How can we download music legally?


In the reality of it all, there are only a handful of legal music download sites across the entire internet. Keep in mind that this refers to websites that are dedicated entirely to music downloads and does not include the hundreds of thousands of band and musician websites out there that offer their own music either for sale to download or as a free download to promote their CDs or concert tours.


Legal music download sites have gone through all of the necessary steps to reach agreements with the record companies, to distribute their music 100% legally. This guarantees that the record companies and the artists get compensated fairly for each song that gets downloaded.


Some of the sites that meet these criteria are Rhapsody, eMusic, Napster, iTunes and Amazon.


Legal music download sites such as these have a wide range of ways for you to download music legally. Some sites require you to pay for and download each song individually. This works great for someone who just buys an occasional song. For people who buy a lot of music, though, this can get expensive in a hurry. Sites that use this model are Amazon and iTunes.


One model lets the users buy a subscription and allows them to download actual MP3 files that they own and can use in whatever way they see fit. These can be burned to CD, transferred to portable devices or played on a computer. The number of downloads allotted to each user each month is based on their subscription plan. eMusic is this type of subscription download site.


The other type of music subscription sites use a special type of licensing called DRM (digital rights management). These songs can be listened to or downloaded by members but cannot be burned to CD. DRM attaches a special piece of code to each song that keeps it from being burned to a CD. These tracks can be transferred to a portable device if the user pays a small extra fee each month. The downside to these types of membership plans is that the person never gets to own the music. They simply rent it and use it.


The very last legal music download site I want to mention is actually a service called Superpass. Superpass offers its users 10 free MP3 downloads each and every month as part of their subscription. But they also offer unlimited viewing of a wide range of TV shows through their software, as well as a free game download each month. In addition, they offer a huge variety of online radio stations to listen to. Many of these have no commercials. And the 10 free downloads each month are yours to keep and do with as you please. Burn them to CD or transfer them to your portable player.


Hopefully this helps you to better understand legal music download sites and how they work. Now go download some songs for yourself!

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