Legal MP3 Sites?

Posted by: BrenR

Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 03:29 AM

Where do you guys get your MP3s from?

Lisa wants to download some songs, but I'm always leary of sites I've never heard of before.

Primarily she's looking for newer pop/rock stuff, of good quality (wherever she was downloading from apparently didn't have great audio quality)... and without requiring a software download to get them.

Ideas? I was supposed to post a link to the new site she found that looked too good to be true, but I've forgotten the URL.

Bren R.
Posted by: millerbrad

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 03:45 AM

There's always AllofMP3.com, but the "legal" part is pretty questionable with them. If you're brave enough to try, you can download lossless DRM-free tracks for around US$0.50-1.00 each.

Unfortunately, it's getting pretty difficult to buy from them lately, as the credit card companies seem to be discouraging sales through the site. I used to be able to "launder" my payments to them with PayPal/Xrost, but that's been shut down last I checked. I'm nervous about giving the Russkies my credit card number, which is about the only way to pay now.

...so, now I'm buying my music via CDs on eBay.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 04:23 AM

The itunes store does have good quality, I have good ones from puretracks and futureshop's Bonfire.
Posted by: bray

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 07:41 AM

Personally I dont care for the quality of the iTunes MP3s.
As far as I know you cant buy them at anything better than 128kbps.
Did they change that?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 11:32 AM

They have not, but 128k AAC files are said to sound better than 128k MP3s. It's probably not all that much of a difference, but I am happier with the AACs I've purchased at 128k than the MP3s that I have at 128k.

However, Bren will not deign to touch an Apple product, so he'll need to look somewhere else.

As far as purchasing music goes, you'll have to go with WMA with DRM if you want anything mainstream, Bren. For non-mainstream stuff, there is another store that does sell unprotected MP3s, but I'm not remembering what it is off of the top of my head. I'll post back if it comes to me.

The WMA stores are probably largely similar, since they all use Microsoft's Plays4Sure licensing, files, and DRM.

In short, you're probably better off buying the CDs and ripping them yourself.
Posted by: Lorenzo1000

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 12:13 PM

Well there's Amie St Music Amie St

Doesn't seem to be a lot of well known artists though.

Unprotected and prices start at free and go up to 98 cents per song depending on popularity.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 12:15 PM

EMusic. Sadly, it requires a subscription/membership. But that's the one I was thinking of.
Posted by: PeterChenoweth

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 01:50 PM

To anyone offering their credit card number to an overseas clearing house, you are a brave soul!

I use iTunes for non-critical listening material and when I'm too lazy to go buy the CD. I find most of their stuff to be quite acceptable. I agree with kcarlile; Apple says that 128kb AAC sounds better than 128kb mp3, and I agree. I have, however, heard a few things on iTunes that sound awful and seem to have been encoded at like 64kb.

How about Linn's online store? I haven't purchased/ downloaded any of their online tracks myself, but all of the Linn recordings I've ever heard from CD have been extremely well done.

Linn Records

They offer 320kb MP3's and lossless 16 and 24 bit WMA files (1.2GB for a 65 minute album, muwahaha!! )that are also DRM-free. Kinda neat that they give you a choice in what format you desire, IMHO. If you're looking for 'audiophile' quality downloads, I believe they are the one and only place to get them (for the moment).

The downside is that it's only their own artists. So the selection is limited and it's all classical & jazz music.

Realistically, you're not going to find a legal site that allows for mainstream pop/rock mp3 downloads without DRM. Indie stuff, sure. But not mainstream. I just don't think they exist, due to pressure from the RIAA. You're probably going to have to bite the bullet and go with a DRM + downloaded software solution like iTunes, Napster, Urge, Wal-Mart's music store, etc.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 06:31 PM

Odd, I never mentioned DRM-free... while I'd prefer it (let's face it, she has an MP3 player, a CD head unit in the car and a home stereo - that's all 3 uses under DRM isn't it? Any reloading of the MP3 player would be over the 3 uses? I've never really dealt with DRM since I buy CDs, and most punk ones aren't crip... er, saddl... er... I mean... graced with DRM), someone else added DRM-free to my wish list in one of the responses.

KCarlyle - not sure how iTunes works... I'm really in the dark about downloaded music... can you just receive the files from the site without having to install iTunes onto your computer? And her MP3 player doesn't do AAC, are they available in MP3 as well? Quality DOES seem to be an issue with iTunes, I've heard?

I'll be sure to pass your suggestions along to her.

Appreciated, guys.

Bren R.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 06:46 PM

Quote:

can you just receive the files from the site without having to install iTunes onto your computer?




Ha ha ha ha ha!! And you're going to say "no, thank you" to the Kool-Aid, too, I suppose?

I got some REALLY cool, free content from The Live Music Archive recently. Probably not going to be everything you need, but recommended anyway.

Quote:

What is the Live Music Archive all about?

This audio archive is an online public library of live recordings available for royalty-free, no-cost public downloads. We only host material by trade-friendly artists: those who like the idea of noncommercial distribution of some or all of their live material. Live recordings are a part of our culture and might be lost in 100 years if they're not archived. We think music matters and want to preserve it for future generations.

The LMA draws strength from the members of etree.org and other online communities of music fans devoted to providing public access to high-quality digital recordings of tradable performances. Typically, recordings are made by the fans themselves. Recordings are preserved in "Lossless" archival compression formats such as Shorten or FLAC (MP3 is not Lossless) for highest quality preservation.

Patrons may download from the LMA with the understanding that the artists still hold their copyrights. All material is strictly noncommercial, both for access here and for any further distribution.



Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 07:14 PM

i, not y...

Anyway. You do have to use iTunes, (unfortunately if you're on a PC, since it kind of bites, from what I know) since iTunes is essentially a portal to the iTunes Store. Also, it's only available on AAC, so you're probably out of luck with that one. I think a lot of the quality problems are perception issues; I don't know that people who have listened to it do hear the issues. I'm not sure.

In any case, for DRM to work with her player, her player has to support that particular flavor. Most likely, her player supports Microsoft's Plays4Sure (unless it's fairly old or a Zune), so she should use one of those stores, which include Napster, Rhapsody (which is Real media--I'm pretty sure they're P4S now), um... and some other ones I don't remember the names of.
Posted by: DanielBMe

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 07:32 PM

I still use allofmp3 and download lossless format. I originally had my music from Itunes but noticed how bad the music sounded compared to lossless format when using good speakers. There are still ways to buy music on allofmp3.
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 07:33 PM

Yeah, but he said legal sites.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/21/07 11:22 PM

Quote:

(unless it's fairly old or a Zune)


It's a 512MB Creative MuVo so yes, it falls under "fairly old".

Bren R.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/22/07 01:12 AM

Use BitTorrent then send a check for a few cents to the RIAA.

I buy all my music on CD's.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/22/07 02:12 PM

Quote:

I buy all my music on CD's.


As do I.. I listen to bands that can put out a full CD of quality material, not just aiming for 2-3 radio hits and some filler. That's why I know virtually nothing on the subject and had to come to you guys for help.

And for her, she likes more mainstream music, since her main source of exposure is the radio. After being burned by EPs or singles dragged out into albums with filler, she's hip on the buying single songs idea.

Bren R.
Posted by: danmagicman7

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/22/07 04:25 PM

Yea, I understand the situation.

I think iTunes would be the best. It's simple to remove the DRM from them to transfer them to MP3 files. If you have a CD-RW disc it's pretty easy. In iTunes you burn your album to a CD, then re-import it as an MP3 file. There are some programs floating around that do the same thing.

iTunes uses AAC files, which can only be played from iTunes. If you try to transfer the actual files to another computer, you need to enter the username and password used to buy those songs in order to play them.

Personally, I had bought a collection of iTunes albums a few years ago...pre-axioms. Over the years i've found friends with the CD's and just ripped them so I'd have a lossless copy of my iTunes music. Currently, I could care less about DRM...I bought the music, so it's mine.
Posted by: jakewash

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/22/07 07:31 PM

I am pretty sure you can change the download settings to be MP3 not AAC on i-tunes. I just downloaded Linkin Park and then imported it over to my son's MP3 player software(proprietary) and it found it and imported it no problem. This software is for a kids MP3 player which is much larger than usual and tough as nails as the boys have dropped theirs numerous times and they still work. The software is not very sophisticated and only sees MP3 or WAV files.
Posted by: INANE

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/22/07 11:47 PM

I was a Yahoo Music subscriber for a year and it was a great service to get as much music as you wanted for 5 bux a month (paid a year in advance). I REALLY liked how you could rate music, build your own personal radio stations (similar to Pandora but you had even more control over what you heard). But of course, after canceling my subscription I had no access to the DRM files (wma) I had downloaded (it's 15bux a mo to allow those files to play on a portable device).

I only bought one album out right from them (79 cents a song or ~8bux an album)... in the same way you would from itunes. I thought/think it was COMPLETELY rediculous that a song I bought OUT RIGHT would still have DRM tied to it. I vowed to never do that again. Completely retarded and the RIAA can eat me.

Enter eMusic (wiki). True you have to have a subscription to get X number of downloads but depending on the plan you get the songs can be as cheap as 27cents each. They are real MP3 files encoded with LAME at pretty good bitrates, much higher quality than most other music stores. I just subscribe for a month, buy some songs/albums then cancel it till there is something else I want. If you like Top40 their selection may be minimal but for the stuff I like, there is tons on there. I've very happy with it. Oh, if you keep an active subscription you can also redownload your songs as many times as you want. I don't know of any other music service that allows that. Great so you don't have to backup your files if you are lazy as you can just go get your songs again and again.
Posted by: Hutzal

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/29/07 05:47 PM

So...whats wrong with allofmp3.com?

Seems like they have 192kbps compressed audio. I am looking to purchase single songs (from telepopmusik) and don't want their whole CD.

So these guys aren't legit? Is it safe to give them a credit card number?
Posted by: DanielBMe

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/29/07 06:44 PM

allofmp3 is legal...in Russia. Actually there's a lot of debate about their legality. It's no longer possible to buy music from their site via mastercard or visa. The pressure has been put on them from you know who. It's been disabled. There is another way involving changing the langauage to Russion on the site. YOu'll have to search google for the rest. I've never had a problem in the past with my visa when I bought music. All music I bought from the site was either lossless in flac or WMP. I refuse to buy music online that doesn't allow me to burn it more than 3 times or only use it a specific number of pc's. Plus at crappy quality to top it off!
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/29/07 08:14 PM

It's a Russian based site. They claim that they are legal under Russian law, but no money goes back to the publishers, artists, writers, etc. The US is trying very hard to shut them down.
Posted by: Hutzal

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 09:21 AM

They also offer 320kbps...cd quality..

Any other sites that are legal offer the selection that they do with that kind of quaity? I have read the thread, and I cannot see any sites with that much selection.
Posted by: zhimbo

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 09:42 AM

I'll just pop up to throw in my recommendation for eMusic as well. I listen to lots of indie-rock/pop and jazz, and eMusic is GREAT for that; not so good for major acts/top-40. No-strings attached, inexpensive, high-bitrate (VBR).

It's cheap enough that if you're a stickler for audio-quality and don't believe in subjecting your premium equipment to mp3's, you can use eMusic to "audition" a ton of stuff, then buy CDs of the stuff you like best.

It's a TREMENDOUS bargain for, say, some of the John Coltrane live European stuff I got: barely more than a quarter per song + 15-25 minute songs = big value! Plus it's not optimal recording quality in the first place, so you're not apt to lose much on good mp3s.

Dang, I love eMusic. My monthly subscription renews today, in fact. Fun!
Posted by: Hutzal

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 10:30 AM

If only itunes started to sell 320kbps files, I would go to them in a second, right now I am trying the "backdoor" way to allofmp3.com because of the quality of recordings they provide. Don't try and shut them down, just provide a service in NA that can match them, and I think the music industry would be suprised to see more business coming to itunes or something if they offered higher quality stuff.
Posted by: PDXGuy

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 12:57 PM

Quote:

If only itunes started to sell 320kbps files, I would go to them in a second, right now I am trying the "backdoor" way to allofmp3.com because of the quality of recordings they provide. Don't try and shut them down, just provide a service in NA that can match them, and I think the music industry would be suprised to see more business coming to itunes or something if they offered higher quality stuff.




I seriously doubt iTunes is suffering from a lack of business even while offering 128k bit rate recordings. It was iPods and iTunes, after all, which brought Apple to salvation.

I'm one of those that find many 128k AAC files acceptable, although admittedly the CD would sound better. But I've also listened to poorly mastered $16.99 CDs as well. I agree with an above post that converting from AAC to MP3 is painless as I do it all the time with ease. I'm confused to a statement in this thread about a three copy limitation on copying. Is this limitation on copying the iTunes user-created CD, because I've certainly created more than three custom CDs with various tracks in iTunes with no problem while experimenting. Also in reference to another statement above, I donít believe itís possible to download MP3s instead of AAC from iTunes, but you can certainly record out as MP3 when creating a CD or exporting to other devices.

I rarely buy an actual CD anymore unless I read of one here within the forums that comes highly recommended. I find iTunes to be extremely convenient, which is no doubt what Apple had in mind. God knows they get plenty of my money
Posted by: real80sman

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 01:17 PM

I thought I read that you could burn 7 copies of a specific playlist.

I do like the iTunes store - specifically the $.99/song and $9.99/album (average). The quality for me is acceptable, and if I really like the CD and want better sound, I'll just go buy it from a B&M.

The last CD I bought was the Dixie Chicks for $17.00 + 14%tax CDN. I went that way thinking the sound quality would be better than on iTunes. It wasn't. Content 9. Sound 5. I was ticked. I could have saved the extra nine bucks!
Posted by: PDXGuy

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 01:28 PM

Quote:

I thought I read that you could burn 7 copies of a specific playlist.




Hmmm...interesting, I hadn't heard that. Perhaps another will chime in here on this. But even if the limitation is playlist specific, one can certainly create as many playlists as he or she chooses. I guess what I was saying here is that I know for fact that I can burn a single recording more than three times as I've done so while trying to create the perfect CD - lol. But I admit, I haven't tried to burn a particular iTunes playlist more than seven times, I usually create a new one for specific burning. Interesting, I'll have to try it some time.

But even so, it's beyond simple to rip the burnt playlist to MP3 to a new CD using 3rd party software.
Posted by: Randy_Perkins

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 02:55 PM

while not really an mp3 site
LaLa.com
lets you trade your physical audio disks for other audio disks. $1.75 per trade including shipping. They provide the shipping supplies. so if there are more than 2 songs on a disk you would like, it may be cost efficient to get them that way. The rarer or more demand a disk you want, the harder it is to get. I have had no real problems getting classic rock and greatest hits collections.

I'm having lots of fun getting new disks.
Posted by: Zarak

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 03/30/07 04:26 PM

I guess I am not the norm anymore, but I only buy albums. I don't get the point of buying one song off of itunes, unless it is something you haven't heard that you want to try, but in that case, I want to try the whole album. I would not want to buy the one song they already play over and over on the radio. You already hear it enough in that format.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/02/07 10:56 AM

Quote:

I guess I am not the norm anymore, but I only buy albums.


I'm the same way, but I'm not a fan of radio schlock, so it's easier for me.

There's not the same push for 2 to 3 three minute radio singles and the rest of a 45 minute disc of filler in the punk world, so I've very seldomly been burned *casts a withering look at Me First and the Gimme Gimmes Ruin Johnny's Barmitzvah and Take a Break*.

More often I'm treated to more than I expect... (Chixdiggit - Pink Razors, Epoxies - every album, Descendents - Cool to Be You and in the more mainstream... RHCP - Stadium Arcadium).

Bren R.
Posted by: sidvicious02

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/02/07 04:23 PM

Bren, you liked the Chixdiggit disc? I had an opportunity to see them a couple of times in Saskatoon (they toured through pretty regularily) but never actually took the time to do it, so always wondered about them. How would you describe their sound?
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/02/07 04:45 PM

Anyone see the announcement that iTunes Store is now selling all EMI titles at 256k with no DRM? $1.29/each, plus $.30 upgrades from any EMI track (iTS only) you already have.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/02/07 04:57 PM

Quote:

Bren, you liked the Chixdiggit disc?(...)How would you describe their sound?


I would describe it as "hook-y" power pop... since they're on Fat Wreck, there're two full songs available for download off the Fat site.

I Remember You
Geocities Kitty

Kind of "summer punk"... good for working in the yard without making the neighbours' ears bleed.

Bren R.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/02/07 10:42 PM

Hook-y power pop. I listened to the first Chixdiggit track and it immediately reminded me of Fountains of Wayne. Very hooky power(ish) pop. You might not find it appealing, though, since they often depart from the realm of punk power chords.
Posted by: BrenR

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/03/07 01:04 AM

Fountains of Wayne... bro's got an album (the album?)

Stacy's Mom.

Bren R.
Posted by: bray

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/03/07 07:40 AM

Quote:

Anyone see the announcement that iTunes Store is now selling all EMI titles at 256k with no DRM? $1.29/each, plus $.30 upgrades from any EMI track (iTS only) you already have.




Here is a full story on it.
I hope some of the other labels will follow suit.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Legal MP3 Sites? - 04/03/07 09:06 AM

That's their radio it, but the rest of the albums have some songs you actually might enjoy.
Posted by: Hutzal

Re: Amazon now selling MP3's... - 09/25/07 06:28 PM

Well,

Amazon is now selling 256kps mp3's, some for 89 cents! This is a pretty good store, its not a music service, its a store, you can play these DRM free songs on anything that plays mp3's....looks ALOT better than iTunes...

Start your buying...
Posted by: Ken.C

Re: Amazon now selling MP3's... - 09/25/07 06:32 PM

In other words, you can still use it with your iPods (and iTunes, if that's your preference). Amazon's got a winner here.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: Amazon now selling MP3's... - 09/25/07 09:57 PM

Real competition is a good thing.