Nov

8

Bwog on a Budget: Shake Your Money Maker Edition

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Bwog on a Budget returns this week with a guide to making the most of your money and music collection. Downloading music can be confusing, risky, and worst of all, costly, so read this guide and amend your ways! Please let us know if we have left anything off the list!



iTunes: The Exemplar


Pros: Like most Mac products, iTunes is incredibly easy to use.  If you buy into the whole Mac lifestyle — i.e. own a iPod, MacBook, MacBook Pro, or any other Mac computer — downloading music from iTunes’ exhaustive library into your personal library is as simple as clicking a button. Also iTunes makes organizing your music or iPod very easy.

Cons: $0.99 per song is about expensive a downloading can get. Also downloading an entire album as opposed to individual songs usually is no cheaper. Furthermore Bwog has yet to come across any iTunes discount subscriptions.


Ruckus: A Case of Extremes

Pros: There are two big ones: Ruckus is totes free and legit legal! Also Ruckus offers video streaming from Ruckus TV.

Cons: There are many. Ruckus is not compatible with Macs or iPods. Yup, Ruckus only works with Windows. Also Ruckus has DRM, which means there is limited player support and absolutely no copying your songs (unless you burn them onto a CD). And Bwog’s heard rumors that Ruckus’ storage and track system often is quite inconsistent.

Rhapsody: The Best of Both Worlds. Perhaps.

Pros: Rhapsody offers streaming on demand for just about its entire library. Also the site offers its Rhapsody Jukebox player feature which allows users to buy individual songs or buy into an a la carte subscription package. The three main plans are Rhapsody FREE (!), which allows customers to stream 25 songs per month for free, Rhapsody Unlimited, which gives customers an unlimited  selection of music from the Rhapsody music library for $12.99 a month, and Rhapsody To Go, which allows customers to download an unlimited amount of music and transfer to portable music playing devices.

Cons: Like Ruckus, Rhapsody is incompatible with iPods. Bwog has heard of a device called the Harmony Plug-in which can be used to transfer music from your Rhapsody Jukebox library to your iPod. Although Rhapsody Jukebox is best suited for PCs, Rhapsody web streaming does function with Macs. Also Rhapsody has DRM.



eMusic: An Acquired Taste


Pros: eMusic.com is almost as easy to use as iTunes. The site caters itself to Mac and iPod users and storing eMusic downloads in your iTunes library is a snich. Also eMusic offers numerous subscription packages that vary according to the number of songs you download per month. The eMusic Basic Monthly package includes 30 downloads at $.40 per song for a total price of  $11.99 per month. Other packages include 100 songs for a price of $24.99.

Cons:Although the site markets itself as the largest independent and alternative music retailer, eMusic has a paltry music catalog.  In theory eMusic’s focus on indie music is lovely, but in practice it’s pretty frustrating. Searching eMusic’s library for Wilco or some other ostensibly alternative band usually proves fruitless. Don’t even bother searching for Kayne.

Amazon: An Alternative to iTunes

Pros: Amazon is DRM free which means downloads from this site will play on just about anything! Amazon offers the Amazon MP3 Downloader (suitable for Macs and PCs) to download purchased music into your Windows Media Player or iTunes library.  

Cons: The MP3 downloader is a bit of a hassle. Also the Amazon music catalogue can be limited.  Song prices often rival iTunes’ $0.99 premium.



YouTube: The Dark Horse


Pros: This is the only site that offers free downloading for those highly coveted Youtube-only Sarah McLachlan remixes and other scarce resources.

Cons: Downloading from youtube makes storing music a more involved process that requires using the converter option. This results abnormally large MP3s.



SeeqPod:
The Music Industry’s Next Target


Pros: SeeqPod is absolutely free! Seeqpod is a relatively unique music search and discovery site that offers four entries: search, discover, popular playlists and popular artists. When you search for a song or artist, seeqpod quickly streams a MP3 version of your search entry to your computer. Also clicking on the four entries is a great way to find new music.

Cons: The legality of SeeqPod is questionable. Furthermore, SeeqPod’s services won’t work on an iPhone or iPod touch because streaming media isn’t in a format compatible with these devices.

BitTorrent: For Those who Want to Stick It to the Man

Pros: Savings and feelings of community spirit are guaranteed.

Cons: There is the infinitesimal chance of losing $3000 to the RIAA.

Bonus:

Sadsteve.com and deezer.com offer comparable services to SeeqPod. Although the sites are similar to SeeqPod, their interfaces are not nearly as good. Nonetheless you can download stuff!

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15 Comments

  1. I hope  

    that wasn't a slight against sarah mclachlan i spotted

  2. Internets  

    Bwog,
    This is a timely article-- I'm actually working on a seeqpod playlist for a party, and I wanted to pass this hint along-- Seeqpod shows you the URL that it's streaming the song from, so you can usually just type that in to your browser and look through the directories on those websites and download the actual MP3s. A lot of the sites will have nice collections which would be in line with whatever song you were searching for in the first place, so this is a quick way to build a coherent playlist.

  3. it's  

    dark horse, not black horse.

  4. anyone for  

    hype machine?

  5. The Tubes  

    I'm a huge fan of Rhapsody, but you should also mention www.last.fm.

  6. also  

    if you are big on classical music, you should check out NAXOS music library online, through the columbia libraries website. they have just about everything imaginable (including 20th-century stuff), and you can listen to it in CD quality. It is stream-only, however.

    NAXOS also has a similar database for jazz recordings, also accessible through columbia libraries website.

  7. thesixtyone.com!  

    Have you guys been to thesixtyone.com? it's a music website with a game component — you "bump" new songs that you like and, if they gain in popularity, you earn points back that you can use to bump future songs. Plus the music is always fresh — you should definitely check it out!

    Also — I'm not being paid to endorse t61. I'm just an enthusiastic early adopter :D.

  8. hypem  

    is pretty good, if you want to keep in touch with the blogs and latest remixes being played at your local old navy/gap/gossip girl episode

  9. just so you know

    seeqpod has a special site for iphone/ipod touch users. you can search and stream music from the site and it works like a dream.

  10. electronic sources  

    If you're into electronic music at all, a good place to start is soulseek (slsknet.org). It's good for most other genres too, but the sites listed above probably beat it out on those.

    If you don't have a problem with using torrents, try looking for an invite to the private tracker site "what.cd". It's hard to get one, but if you manage it'll be your main source of music downloading.

  11. We7Steve

    If you want to listen to unlimited streamed music for free, We7.com is easy to use and easy to find what you want and has all the music you're looking for from hundreds of indie labels as well as the four majors.

  12. Lacy Kemp

    Rhapsody subscription service has DRM. However, the MP3 store is all DRM free. All tracks work on iPods.

  13. hmm  

    I want that kid in the picture deciding what music I listen to. I like his style -- hipster headphones that are bigger than your head.

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