There are a couple of ways to download music legally into a computer or mp3 player. One way is to pay for the music to ensure the artist and recording company are compensated for their work. The other way is to download music directly from the websites of artists who have given their permission to download the music without paying them for it. Free music downloads are available from both well-known and lesser-known artists.
Since the well-publicized trials of music downloading websites like Napster® and Kazaa®, music fans who want to download songs or albums from the Internet might be nervous about having legal action taken against them. Downloading music without paying for it is considered a crime, and there have been cases of individual users being punished for having illegally downloaded music files on their computers, or for sharing those files. Digital storage and recording make it very easy to share and copy music files, but it is even illegal to download music from legal peer-to-peer file sharing sites like Limewire™.
One way to download music legally is to get it from a website that asks you to pay for each song individually. iTunes® and Amazon.com are both companies that let users choose songs and pay for them before downloading them. Users can also download whole albums by paying for individual songs, which might be advantageous for people who don’t like every song on an album. Amazon.com also has a limited selection of free songs for downloading. This list of tracks changes regularly.
Other websites offer customers a subscription service to download music. Superpass™, Napster®, and eMusic® all ask users to pay a monthly fee which allows them to download a certain number of songs each month. They all have large song catalogs, and some of these sites offer other perks with the subscription fee, such as radio streaming or free games.
There are a lot of musicians who want their fans to download their music, which they might make available on their own websites, their MySpace® profiles, or through their record companies. Some of these artists might be on small, independent labels and giving their music away is a way of marketing themselves to a broader public. Other artists like Nine Inch Nails are part of a growing movement to make music free, and they allow fans to download songs and albums for free directly from their websites.