For those new to legal music download services, we put this section together with some helpful information to help you decide which type of service best suits your needs. Finding the best music download sites that offer legal music downloads and have the features that matter to you is an important part of your listening experience. Check out our FAQ section for more helpful info.
There are 2 main types of legal music download services; subscription and pay-per-song. In a nutshell, with a subscription service, for a monthly fee you can discover loads of music and listen to anything you want off of their catalogues which usually includes millions of songs while a pay-per-song service will sell you a downloadable version of the song or album you want. The best music download sites for you will depend on whether you want to have access to a wide range of online legal music downloads so that you can download music legally every day or if you want access to the best online music downloads for those special songs that you occasionally want to download. There are various music download sites to serve either purpose and we help you decide which type of music download sites are best for your needs and which ones offer more of what matters to you.
A Pay-Per-Song service is exactly that, you only pay when you want to download a song. There is no subscription or monthly fees. We are currently comparing 2 pay per song services; ITunes, and Amazon MP3.
Prices will vary depending on the service, the DRM encryption (Digital Rights Managed - limits how many times a song can be burned or transfered) and the type and quality of the file. For example, a song at Buy in WMA format with DRM encryption and at a standard quality (128kbps) or high quality (256kbps) can run as low as $0.79. At ITunes, the same song with DRM encryption and at standard quality (128kbps) can be $0.99 however their DRM encryption may give different limitations. At a higher quality (256kbps) and without DRM encryption, the same song can go for $1.39, however, it will have no limits as far as how many times you can transfer or burn the song. For the best prices and with no limitations on downloads, we suggest Amazon MP3 as files in MP3 format do not have any DRM encryption.
Amazon MP3 has overall better pricing, for now, with a file format that can be transfered to practically all portable music players and burning software.
For anyone downloading an album from time to time, or under 10 individual songs / month, a pay-per-song service is probably the way to go.
Subscription services generally allow you unlimited access to their library of millions of songs giving you the opportunity to listen to anything you want, as often and whenever you want off of your computer. These tunes reside on your PC for as long as you remain a member. Once you discontinue your membership, the files will no longer be accessible. For those individuals who are looking for the best music download sites for allowing them to download music legally and have continuing access to all of their songs, these are the music download sites that will best fit your needs and your budget.
The best online music downloads are not only those that are readily available when you want to listen. Most of the music download sites offering subscription services offer great CD quality, commercial free stations to discover some great new music. Some provide the option of paying a few dollars more a month to be able to transfer the songs to a compatible portable music device without having to purchase each song so you can take the music everywhere you go. For those with MP3s or other listening devices, these legal music downloads are a determining factor in which of the music download sites are best.
As a paying member, you can listen to anything you want but can not burn these songs to CD’s. To do so, or to keep songs after you end your membership, you will have to purchase a copy of each individual song. Non-members can usually pay-per-song without being a member for roughly $1 a song. As a paying member, you will usually get a 10%-20% discount on song purchases so as low as $0.79 per song.
We are currently comparing the 2 big names in subscription services with the above features; SuperPass, and Napster. eMusic is also a subscription service however works a little differently. You pay a fixed price a month which allows you to download a set number of songs. Every month your account is reloaded with the appropriate number of downloads allowed. They only provide music from artists signed to independent labels however which still includes some awesome music, but not the more commercial songs you may be used to hearing off of the major radio stations. Songs through EMusic can run as low as $0.27 per song.
The music download sites with subscription services are great for music lovers who listen to loads of music and want to discover great new tunes without having to purchase albums all the time, or paying per song. A lot of people will only listen to music at their computers or their portable music devices so these services will save you big bucks and provide a huge selection of music to obtain online legal music downloads. For those who still like to burn CD’s either of their favourite tunes from different bands or full albums, a subscription service can still be very beneficial as you get great rates on song and album downloads and can prevue practically every song and album out on the market before purchasing the entire thing to realize it’s not what you expected.
All of the music download sites that we feature provide only 100% legal music downloads. No matter which type of service you choose, the best music download sites are those that allow you to download music legally. If you choose a site that is not listed here, you may not get a service that offers online legal music downloads. This can lead to less than satisfying service and music quality in addition to serious fines. We are here to make it easy for you to find the best online music downloads to meet your specific needs and ensure that you download music legally.