Secret #464: Discover Other Music Download Sites in .NET

Writer barcode 3/9 in .NET Secret #464: Discover Other Music Download Sites
Secret #464: Discover Other Music Download Sites
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Without mentioning any of the unlicensed file-trading services (such as Grokster, KaZaA, or Morpheus), there are several other sites that compete with Napster 2.0 in offering licensed music for downloading. Some of these sites operate on a per-song payment system, as Napster does; others require a monthly subscription to access a set number of downloads. None of these sites offer music from all artists or labels which means you may need to visit several different sites to find all the music you want.
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iTunes
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iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes/) is Napter s closest competitor, offering simi lar single-song purchase options and pricing but with fewer songs (400,000) in its catalog. iTunes started out as an Apple-only service, but recently it expanded to include Windows compatibility. It s not quite as full-featured as
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18: Napster 2.0 Secrets
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Napster, however, since it only offers 30-second song previews, with no fulllength streaming audio options. It s also hotwired to work exclusively with the iPod portable music player, which isn t any good if you want to use another brand player. More problematic is the fact that iTunes uses the less common AAC file format, which isn t compatible with the WMA format used by Napster and other services. That said, iTunes is a very popular service, in many ways the inspiration for Napster and other pay-per-song download sites.
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BuyMusic
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BuyMusic (www.buymusic.com) is a lot like iTunes in fact, many regard BuyMusic as a Windows-only clone of the originally Macintosh-only iTunes. Like iTunes, BuyMusic offers downloadable music for purchase on a per-song basis only, without any monthly fees, using a simple retail-like shopping and checkout interface. Currently, BuyMusic offers about 300,000 songs for down load, priced from 79 cents apiece (with most singles going for 99 cents); albums are priced from $7.99.
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Musicmatch Downloads
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Musicmatch Downloads (www.musicmatch.com) is a single-song-purchase site, much like the basic Napster service. It offers a similar selection of songs, as well, with single tracks priced at 99 cents and most albums at $9.99. Much as Napster uses its own access software, Musicmatch Downloads works hand-inhand with the venerable Musicmatch Jukebox software. Musicmatch Downloads doesn t offer any streaming audio or Internet radio services; it also offers much fewer tracks than Napster does.
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Another competing music download service is eMusic (www.emusic.com). While eMusic doesn t offer quite the music catalog as Napster (its focus is on new and independent artists), it s a very consumer-friendly service. All down loads are in the popular MP3 format, and once you download a song you re free to use it any way you want to copy to another computer, transfer to a portable player, or burn to CD. As the site advertises, download once, play anywhere. You ll pay $9.99 per month for 40 song downloads, or $14.99 per month for 65 downloads.
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Rhapsody
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Rhapsody (www.listen.com) is a subscription music service run by RealNetworks and licensed by Lycos and other sites. Rhapsody is a lot like Napster in that it pushes both streaming audio (via monthly subscription) and individual downloads (for a per-track fee). As with Napster, Rhapsody charges a $9.95 per month fee for unlimited listening, but then you have to pay an addi tional 79 cents per track fee to burn music to CDs. Rhapsody claims a library of 345,000 songs.
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Part IV: Secrets of Online Shopping and Services
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Summary
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We re still in the early days of officially licensed downloadable music, so sites like the new Napster 2.0 are true pioneers and are still working out some of the kinks. It s not even a given that Napster will be the leading music download site; there s a lot of competition out there for the online music consumer. All that said, Napster 2.0 makes downloading music quick and easy and legal. It s easy enough that even nontechnical music lovers can use it; buying virtual music from Napster is little different than buying physical merchandise from Amazon.com. So if you love music and want to purchase specific tracks (or whole albums), you can do worse than check out Napster; downloading your favorite song is as simple as clicking a few buttons!
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