How many times have you bought a CD only to find that most of the songs are not to your liking? I am sure most of you have this kind of experience. It is definitely not a good feeling, perhaps coupled with a pain in the wallet. This doesn’t apply only to physical CD that you buy off the shelf, but also those songs that you bought from iTunes store or Amazon.
Won’t it be great if you can listen to the whole songs (or CD) before you buy? iTunes store and Amazon has the preview feature, but they only come with a 30-second preview, which is not enough to sample a song.
We need some alternatives, great alternatives. So, here are my favorite websites where users can listen to CDs before buying them.
1. AOL music
AOL music is one of the best place in the Web that offers free full length songs and music for listening. It has a huge database of songs. You simply pick the songs you want. If the song is not available, AOL will search for it in the web and playback (from the remote location) the song on the fly.
In addition, AOL music always have a “New music releases” section where you can listen to new CD releases for free in their entirety every week.
This is not only a good way to sample the CD before you buy, it is also a good way to discover new CDs in the market.
At Youtube, you won’t be able to sample the whole CD at one go, but surely you will be able to find most of the tracks (in music video and other forms) in its database. When you search for the songs/artists/albums in the search bar, there is a high chance that you will find what you want in the search result.
Furthermore, with all the YouTube and other video conversion tools previously highlighted by MakeUseOf, you can also convert and download the music video to your desktop, even though the music quality differs a great deal from those in the music store.
With Rhapsody, you never have to worry about a lack of songs. They have more than a million songs in their database and there is a very high chance you will find what you want. Rhapsody operates on a subscription model (only available in US), that is to say, you pay a subscription fee every month ($12.99) and you have access to all the songs in their database and you can listen to them again and again, unlimited times.
With the subscription account, you can also download the software and access to your favorite songs from your desktop.
If you are not willing to pay the subscription fee, Rhapsody also allows its users to listen to 25 songs for free. That should be enough for you to sample two and a half CD of songs before you make your purchase decision.
Imeem is a social network that enables its users to share media, including music, video and photos with each other. In here, you are likely to find the songs/CDs that you want. Some of the music are restricted by the label/artists and features only a 30-second preview, but there are still a great deal of them that are full length and you are able to listen to the full CD.
5. Baidu MP3
This may not be suitable for everyone, but if you are a Chinese song lover, like I am, then this is the place to listen to free songs.
All you need to do is to perform a search with the search bar and it will fetch the required songs from the artists. You can then scroll to find his/her current album or previous albums. You can click on the link beside the song to hear the full song.
Other alternatives that did not make the list
I am sure some of you will swear by MySpace. I am not an active user of MySpace and I don’t have much love for it. Personally, I find the layout very messy and it crashes my browser (and computer) very often.
While there are plenty of songs and information in Last.fm, you seldom have the chance to sample the full CD of your favorite artists. I do use it for occasional listening, but when it comes to CD sampling, I guess there are better sites out there.
If you are interested in purchasing music online, Simon listed out 3 Ultra Cheap Alternatives to the iTunes Store. Check it out.
What other websites do you go to listen CD before buying? Do you prefer digital copies or physical CDs? Comment away!
Image credit: SChristineBrink
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