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Author Topic: Music downloads  (Read 724 times)
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Punisher
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« on: May 13, 2006, 03:27:46 PM »

I just got my son an MP3 player. Is there a comparison and list of the various legal download/purchase sites?
Things I'm interested in knowing:

Bang for the buck.
number of songs
how do the pay one price/month things work?
Once purchased do I have the right to the forever, like if I change PC's or dvices?
Anything else that's important to know.
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Punisher
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2006, 03:31:12 PM »

If it matters it is a Creative Labs Muvo 1GB, not an Ipod so I don't know if ITunes will work or not.
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Andrew Wonser
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2006, 05:08:00 PM »

From what I remember the subscription sites operate on the model that the music isn't really yours. In that if you stop paying a monthly fee you no longer have access to the music. Obviously there are ways around this however. I think the benefit with these places is that you can grab an unlimited(?) amount of songs. It also seems like the DRM is a bit more restrictive.

Itunes operates on the .99 per song and 9.99 for an album, though I have seen the album price lower as well as higher for the bigger collections. Their DRM allows you to have 5(?) computers authorized for the same account and you can deauthorize one to allow another so no fear in running out. Though I've noticed it doesn't clear them all away for me (Apple might be able to help me on this but I haven't run out yet so it's no a high priority).

The problem you will run into is that their songs are in a modified form of AAC. There is a way to strip the songs of their DRM and then convert to something more universal, like mp3. The problem with this, and the site says this as well, is that you need to install an earlier version of iTunes or it won't work (The stripping part). There may be other software solutions as well but I haven't looked. And if worse comes to worse you can burn the songs and then extract them from the CD. I haven't tried to convert a protected song but highly doubt it would work.

It looks like your player should be under the PlaysForSure label so these sites should work the easiest for you.

My personal preference is of course iTunes. While I do own an iPod I'm sure that it only plays a part in the decision. Their interface is clean and purchasing is easy. Not to mention that if you are into podcasts they made subscribing to each one simple.
Could it be better? Of course. Sometimes the samples barely get any vocals so you don't really get a feel for a song. I've come across albums that don't include all the songs (Not sure why since it is all from the same artist). They don't have every artist, though I don't think any of them do. You cannot redownload a song you purchased but lost without having to pay for it again.

I don't know. If your son is really into music a subscription service might be a better way to go. And from the looks of it there are other single download sites that cater to your player so unless you really want iTunes (And are fine with converting everything minus podcasts) I would go with one of the other services listed in that link.
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stiffler
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2006, 05:23:51 PM »

As far as the iTunes DRM, you can always burn your songs to CD and then re-rip them.  Use a CD-RW and you are set.  A bit of a PITA perhaps, but then the stuff is yours to do with what you wish.

So Hymn doesn't work with the new iTunes?  A shame, that.  Really made using iTunes a no-brainer for me when I needed something.  Mostly I grab the exclusive stuff, which is something I obviously haven't done in awhile.

I'm not sold on the music "rental" sites.  I guess if you just want to listen to it a few times (or keep paying the monthly fee) then it isn't a bad idea.  Sounds almost like radio on demand.  I know a few people that would be perfectly happy with this setup.

I just wish Apple kept track of my purchases in case of a crash (the way Xbox Live Arcade does).  One of the few downsides to the service (beyond the near iPod-only DRM).

For the record, I hated iTunes until I actually had an iPod to connect to it.  It works well for transferring music and changing the ID3 tags.  I sure as hell don't use it to listen to music, though!
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Punisher
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2006, 09:53:06 PM »

I took a quick look at Napster and the $15/month unlimited deal sounded good, until I found out that his player isn't compatible with that particular service. It is only compatible with the purchase version.

Walmart seems the cheapest at $0.88/song.

The whole converting thing for ITunes seems like too much work.

Does anyone know of another unlimited download service that I can check to see if it works with his player?
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Darren8r
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« Reply #5 on: May 14, 2006, 12:18:31 AM »

Anything thats a Mp3 or Wma will probably work on your device.

iTunes will work with it, umm. Take Cds rip them to your PC and then put the songs on.

Lots of sites out there that are selling music these days.
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« Reply #6 on: May 14, 2006, 02:42:09 AM »

Quote from: "Darren8r"
iTunes will work with it, umm. Take Cds rip them to your PC and then put the songs on.

Or better yet, burn the music you download via iTunes to CDs (I remember that being an option somewhere) and rerip them via Winamp or some other ripping software to .mp3 format. Then just drag and drop to any MP3 player.
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 12:17:05 PM »

Punisher-

I have a Creative Labs Zen Micro 5GB model and I use almost exclusively the Microsoft Media Player music service.  Just open the media player and select the music tab and you are good to go.  It is very easy to use and it tracks all your purchases.  Standard pricing as well (0.99 per song, $9.99 per album).  You also get three free song downloads (of your choice) at the end of the year.

I do not subscribe to services and pay monthly fees.  I purchase songs individually for 0.99 and I own them outright.  Much easier than being tethered to some service.  Why would anyone do that?

Sometimes I will also use Rhapsody, which is fine but I prefer the MS media player service.  One thing I like about Rhapsody is that each month you get to preview 25 songs in their entirety compared to 30 second snippets.  Rhapsody has the same pricing structure (0.99 per song, $9.99 per album) or you could subscribe for the monthly thing.

Hope this helps.  Congrats on your Creative Labs mp3 player.  Much better than the iPods in my opinion.
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Punisher
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2006, 02:39:01 PM »

The creative labs thing didn't work, so I brought it back and then went to Best Buy and got an iRiver. It also came with 2 free months of Napster to Go. That seems to be working for now.

The problem with buying the songs is that my son already had a list of about 45 songs, plus my wife has about another 50. I may have more than 50. This means that I would be close to $200 when all is said and done. That's more than a years worth of Napster to Go, not to mention any new songs that come out.
If you have 15 or more song purchases per month, it would make sense for the subscription. What we will do is use the Napster to go for the free 2 months and see how much we actually use it and download new songs as they come out. If it looks like we will only have about 200 and than sporadic ones every so often, we will probably switch over to the pay per song method.

Thanks for the input everyone.
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Nth Power
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2006, 11:52:06 PM »

I normally use iTunes, but it's a minor hassle to make them into mp3s.

Here's a free alternative you could try if your not looking for a specific song :

There are free programs that will take a Shoutcast stream, finds where the song begins and ends and rips it to your harddrive with song title and album art.  Of course, depending on the particular station there may be a little overlap where one song starts and another ends.   It's like recording from the radio, but with good sound quality.
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