Buying music online

When the President of the United States of America gives the Queen of England and iPod as a gift, its a clear indication that the world of music downloads is massive. Four years ago, it was estimated that 1 in 5 people owned an iPod, and that figure has increased massively as more and more people, of all ages, understand how to use technology. The youngest and oldest in our population now have a good grasp of the internet, and with the dawn of digital television, gadgets don't hold the same mystery as they used to.

You can put all your favourite CDs onto your computer, iPod or other device, but how can you save money when downloading music or streaming music?

Streaming Music

There are a number of websites which allow you to listen to music through your mobile telephone or your computer, at your leisure, and of your own selection. However, you don't get to keep this music; you are paying to simply stream the music. If you are someone who loves a track one month, but goes off it the next month, then streaming music online may be a good investment for you.

With up to 8 million tracks to choose from, there are a variety of websites available to choose from, ranging in cost. Choose your website carefully, as some subscription charges don't allow you to download full albums, and some, which may have a small cost, or can be free; which always looks attractive, will stream adverts to you as well as the music. Most websites will allow you to upgrade your streaming package in order to get rid of the adverts or to download albums, but of course, the cost rises. It is, however, still a lot cheaper than going purchasing the CD.

You should be aware that, once you cancel your subscription, you loose all your online streaming, so you can only listen to your chosen music whilst you continue to pay.

Downloading Music

Nowadays, when an artist is asked about their new single or album, they will give a date that it is available for download, rather than the date it is released. So even the multi billion pound music industry has come to realise that more and more people want their music online rather than going to a record store.

Although the sound quality may be impaired in comparison to owning the CD, downloading music is often cheaper than buying a CD, allows you to be more picky and you get to keep it, without it wearing out.

The most well known music download provider is iTunes. Downloading singles costs on average 79p and albums £7.99, however, you can often select tracks off an album rather than download the whole thing. You can only register your downloads to one computer, which can be a bind, but iTunes have launched home sharing which should tackle that problem.

There are more music download sites available, however, whilst they can be cheaper, they have less tracks to choose from. Even so, someone like Sky Songs still has four million tracks to go at, so its hardly tiny, but can cost up to 10% less than iTunes.

There are sites available which will compare the costs of downloading music for you allowing you to shop around and find the cheapest deal.

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