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Finding MP3 Files on the Internet for Your Music Player

Updated on July 8, 2011

Since the introduction of the MP3 format, a true revolution has been created in the music industry. Previously dominated by the big recording labels, with the album format (both in vinil or DC), the music scene is now happening on the Web. Millions of people are now sharing music files and video daily, and it is not difficult to find the music you want.

However, despite all the advantages of web technology, music sharing has its own problems. For example, you can become the target of persecution by the RIAA, the organism that oversees the interests of big international recording companies.

In this article, I will list some of the best alternatives for finding mp3 or similar type of music for your music player. It is interesting to learn the advantages, disadvantages, and news that exist for each of these services.

Audio Format and Digital Rights Management

The first thing you need to consider when opting for a music distribution service is what type of rights you have over the music you want to buy. Although this might look simple at first, it is however one of the biggest problems that must be solved by the industry. There are several models for music utilization:

Free use: this is the case of mp3 files, for example, where you don't need to worry about where the file is being played, created, or copied. MP3 files are pure files, without any Digital Rights Management (DRM) enforcement. For users, this is the simplest type of file to use, but it can bring a lot of headaches with the RIAA policies.

Subscription based services

A second category of DRM is the one in which users pay for the time during which they want to use the content. This is a subscription based service, where customers pay a monthly fee and have the music files available during that period.

This is a simple model, but on the other hand you are never sure that you can play the same music in the future. If you don't pay the subscription, or if the company that sold you the music is not available in the future, then you have no way to play the files. In this model you are paying just for time of use. This model has been succesfully used by the Rhapsody service.

The iTunes Model

Another approach to digital rights management (DRM) is the one used by the Apple iTunes. The service requests a fee for each file that is downloaded, and determines the number of devices where you can play the music file.

However, after the file has been downloaded, you don't need to worry about its availability. You own the music for as long as you want. Thus, you are free to use it on your iPod player and keep it without having to pay any additional money.

This model, called FairPlay, it the most used nowadays, with the millions of users of the iTunes store (and more than one billions sales of music tracks).

The Rhapsody Service

Rhapsody is a service of Real Networks. It has been very successful in creating a market for subscription based music, where you can play files while your subscription is active.

The Rhapsody store has a huge amount of files. You can play from thousands of artists and albums, and you just need to play a fixed fee, which can be as low as $9 per month. It has a great advantage in terms of availability of material, since you don't need to buy individual tracks.

More recently, Rhapsody is offering it own player, the Sansa Rhapsody MP3 Player, which allows users to transfer any file from the Rhapsody store to the player, as long as the subscription is active. Rhapsody frequently provides rebates for their player as well as other mp3 players in the market. It doesn't support, however, all the features of the iPod.

iTunes

iTunes is currently the king of music download services. It has millions of customers, a several thousands of albums and artists are online. The service has been closely associated to the iPod, the leading music player of the last five years.

The iTunes has a simple model: you can opt to buy single music tracks, always priced at $0.99. Complete albums are sold by $9.99. iTunes also offer you the option of buying music video, Hollywood movies, TV series, and a whole set of digital content.

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