Contrary to the predictions of most economists, online media downloads did take off. People tend to think that nerds these days have no morale, but they’re often wrong.
However, although downloading your music holds a ton of advantages, especially for us lazy ones, it can be a pain at times as well. People still feel some of those more absurd restrictions, and sometimes they just right out miss the ‘collection’ of physical copies. Also, if the producers can skip a big part of the production process, you should be able to pay less as well, right?
iTunes and Amazon distribute digital copies at physical retail pricing. But although people think they ‘dominate’ the market, in fact they’re just dominating publicity. There are a ton of available online music services waiting for you, each cheaper than the former.
Alternatives to iTunes Store
The cheapest of alternatives to iTunes store are natively Russian, because of a ‘legal trick‘ that allows them to cut away a large part of the price. The United States have tried to pressurize the Russian government in shutting these services down, but none of the charges held up, and most of the sites are now back online. More information about the legalities can be found here.
The only disadvantage about this service is that you can’t pay with PayPal, or bill per song/album. Instead, you’ll have to make money deposits of 10 to 25 dollars, minimum. Nevertheless, this is a very small price to pay.
So, are you ready? Here they come, the cheap music download services.
GoMusic.ru (no longer online)
GoMusic.ru, also accessible through its MP3Search.ru (no longer online) mirror site, has music available from over 55,000 artists, and 63,000 albums. These include most popular artists, and some of the more obscure ones as well.
Downloads are about 0.09$ per track and between 1 and 2$ per album. Most songs are encoded at 192kbps, and some even at a stunning 320kbps bitrate. Your purchases get stored on the site and can be redownloaded whenever you want.
Upon signing up, you’ll receive 10 free songs, after that you’ll have to make a money deposit.
The main reason I like this site is because they accept deposits of as low as 10$ (abt 7 euros), and you can pay with your phone as well as with most major credit cards. You simply call to a paid number, and get billed through your call. This works for most countries around the world.
MP3panda (no longer online)
MP3panda is by far the cheapest service around. Most albums leave the store for under a dollar, some even for a few cents. Individual songs can be purchased for 0.05$ standard price. The songs are encoded at a minimum of 192kbs, although a lot of them actually rise over the 200-mark.
The site currently provides over 35,000 artists with over 170,000 albums, which adds up to about 1.9 million songs. If you’re unsure about the service, you can have a taste by downloading their daily free albums.
A question arises. If music can be bought this cheap, why would anyone still download stuff illegally?
MP3Panda no longer accepts PayPal, but takes most major credit cards.
LegalSounds, although with a dubious name, is another wonderfully cheap service. With about 120,000 artists, and a total of 2.1 million songs, this one is very much the winner for quantity.
The price per song is equal to that of GoMusic.ru with 0.09$, but the albums are slightly cheaper, hovering just under 1$. They always offers the US top 40 for free, and encodes its songs at a 192 to 320kbps bitrate.
LegalSounds also provides you with a free desktop client for Windows 2000, XP and Vista.
Like with MP3Panda, most major credit cards are accepted, with a minimum deposit of 25$.
Did you think those were the only choices?? No, they were just the absolute toppers. If you aren’t satisfied, check the list below for even more alternatives.
Do you have any other suggestions? Are you familiar with any other cheap alternative to iTunes Music Store? What do you think about these services? Share your opinions in the comments section below.
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