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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Zhenya Tech: download sites (5) RE: Tech: download sites 06 Nov 06

I've been using the legal site eMusic for several months and have been very happy with it. It's not free, though, and in fact their prices are rising somewhat starting 11/21. They're allowing current customers to keep paying the old rates, or to upgrade under the old rates before 11/21, which I just did. I'm not sure how this affects someone who first signs up now, but before 11/21.

Probably most important to many Mudcatters is the selection of music. eMusic specializes in independent label music, and has a great selection of these. (They DON'T have the big mainstream labels.). Some of the things I've gotten from them are: Irish, Folk, Old Time, Classical, Early Music, World Music, Blues. They do carry some of the main labels in independent music, and are often (but not always) very up to date with new releases.

This is a subscription plan. You pay a certain amount every 30 days and get a certain amount of downloads in return. They have a few levels of plans. The most basic plan (right now), is 40 tracks a month for $10/mo. So that's 25 cents a track. This will be changed to 30 tracks/mo. for the same $10 starting 11/21. You do get a free trial at the beginning with several tracks. They usually have album art but it doesn't download automatically; you have to save it yourself. They usually don't have liner notes available.

I'll refer you to the eMusic site for a description of the other various plans, as it's too detailed to write it all here. There are some with annual contracts, but you can also get a month to month plan which allows you to cancel at any time. You CAN'T just buy individual tracks now and then without having some type of subscription plan. You can listen to 30 seconds samples of the music, but not entire songs. You can select as many or as few tracks as you like from an album and purchase each at 25 cents a track. So the fewer the tracks, the cheaper the album, although even a 20 album track on the basic plan is just $5.00.

Important: Your tracks DON'T carry over from month to month - it's use it or lose it. The site will also post the date each month that your new tracks refresh, but they don't send you an email or anything to remind you. So you have to be a somewhat organized type who buys music consistently to make the best use of this plan. It sounds like they make money off of people who sign up for plans and then don't get around to taking all their tracks.

There are NO DRM restrictions on these tracks. They're in MP3 format, with variable rates (usually quite a bit higher than 128) and you can use them anyway you like, burn them to CDs, put them on any type of music player, in any music program, whatever.

If anyone is interested in this plan, my advice is to:

-        Go to the eMusic website and read the instructions and FAQs so you know exactly how this works before you sign up for anything.


- Browse through the site to see if there's enough music there that you like. (You don't have to sign up for anything to look the site over completely and see all the music listed there.)

- You may also want to read user comments on the message boards on the site.

For myself, I've been consistently pleased with the price and the selection of music.

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