Ever since Apple created the iTunes music store, we have been accustomed to buying songs ‘a la carte’ for about a dollar. It makes sense, especially if you only want a few songs from an album. You can save quite a bit of money buying songs individually. The iTunes store is great, and I use it often to search for music, but there are alternatives that you can use.
The issue with MP3 download sites is that you have to make sure you’re complying with the copyright laws. If you’ve come across a site that is offering unlimited MP3 downloads for $0.05 per song, you’ve probably stumbled across a site that would be considered illegal in the United States – or ‘shady’ at best. Most of those sites are based overseas, so they use loopholes to bypass copyright laws – just remember, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
3 Low Cost Music Download Sources
So where else can you find low cost music downloads? The first place most people turn to is iTunes. We can’t leave it out here because it truly is one of the best places to buy legal MP3s. But there are a couple other legitimate MP3 download sites that you should know about. Here are two more sites that you can use to purchase and download MP3s legally.
I absolutely love buying music on Amazon.com. You can find great deals on MP3 downloads for full albums or even buying songs individually. The price of songs usually falls in the $0.89 to $0.99 range, but you can often get a discount for buying the entire album.
Let’s say you’re looking for a great jazz album. John Coltrane’s classic album Blue Train has seven awesome songs and the entire album is just $5.00. That comes out to $0.71 per song! Not bad considering that every song on that album is great.
Not every album is discounted, and sometimes Amazon runs promotions. Just be sure to check them out if you want to download a song. You might get a great deal on the entire album!
Many people know Rhapsody as a subscription based site that charges you on a monthly basis. While this is true, it’s also a site that has an MP3 store that lets you download songs as you want. Like Amazon, you can download songs for about $0.99 each.
The Rhapsody subscription is also an option at $9.99 a month. It allows you to create playlists of songs from their list of thousands and to listen on your computer or mobile device. For a little more each month, you can have unlimited downloads and listen to each song on multiple devices. If you don’t want commercials and like the idea of streaming a certain playlist all day, this service might be for you. It could work well for businesses that have music playing in the office.
Bonus – 3 Free Music Streaming Services!
Ok, now for a bit of a freebie. If you’re on a budget and still want to listed to your favorite artists, you can stream music for free online. There are quite a few services that let you do this for free and most of them will have advertisements, just like a radio station would. Here are a few to check out.
One of the most popular sites for streaming music is Pandora.com. It allows you to create channels based on genres and lets you stream music for free. You have to endure advertisements every few songs, but that’s not a bad price to pay to listen to good music.
Similar to Pandora, Last.FM lets you listen to genres and artists based on the style of music you like. You create stations based on your music preferences and it recommends similar artists as well. It’s ad based, so you’ll hear a few commercial advertisements every few songs.
Spotify is a unique service that allows you to pick your favorite songs and compile them into playlists. You can follow friends and listen to their playlists as well. Like the other free music streaming sites, Spotify also has ads but they’re usually not too long.
When it comes to listening to or downloading music online, I’d recommend that you stick with these major sites above. Other sites may seem like a great deal, but you should do your research to make sure they’re not trying to bypass copyright laws and harming the artists that create the great music you’re looking for.
How do you listen to music? What’s been your experience with downloading MP3s or streaming music? What other legal MP3 download sites would you add to this list? Leave a comment below!