3 Ultra Cheap Alternatives To iTunes Store

Simon Slangen 12-06-2009

alternative-to-itunes-storeContrary 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.


These days, instead of going to the shop, or ordering your stuff online, a lot of people download their music via services like the iTunes Music Store, Amazon MP3 or 7digital.

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. (no longer online), also accessible through its (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 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.

Related topics: iTunes, iTunes Store, MP3.

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  1. ricky
    April 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    i use cents per's feel it's morally indecent that's tough..argue with my cd's huge.

  2. Aidan
    January 28, 2010 at 2:00 am

    Ok, so these Russian companies make money through what is a legal loophole which means that they can make money from artists work without paying anything to those artists...

    So why pay these scumbags at all? Why not just download music from torrent sites which doesn't support these unethical companies.

    The legal system is certainly strange. I will never pay for what I believe to be illegal music.

  3. Vampirecat019
    January 19, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    When signing up with (The English version or you don't get 10 free songs.

  4. Aligrea
    January 19, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I'm have mixed opinions on this one. I don't believe I will become a regular customer as it is immoral. But for some artists, I don't believe paying an extra dollar will matter much. For example, I'd be quite happy to use legalsound's free top 40 as those artists already have an insane amount of income. The music is free and legal as well. But that is as far as I would go.

    I'll be back to iTunes for less popular music. :)

  5. Yonathan
    June 29, 2009 at 8:02 am

    After a little researching, it seems that it is legal, but the label companies and artists get no money for their music.
    All the money goes staright to the website's owner.

    So... No thank you. It's immoral, and it's not better than pirating music.

  6. Yonathan
    June 27, 2009 at 1:41 pm

    The Dark Knight OST costs $9.99 on Amazon and $0.62 on MP3 Panda.
    How is that possible?
    What do the artists get from that little payment?

  7. Ged Day
    June 18, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Don't be fooled by talk of a 'legal trick' - none of the artists ever get paid by these services. When you buy music from these sites, you are basically buying stolen goods and that's why it's so cheap.

  8. cheap mp3 songs
    June 15, 2009 at 11:53 am

    There are loads more sites just like these three, check out reviews and compare them all here:

  9. toastedcheese
    June 14, 2009 at 11:02 pm

    I guess buying from these sites means no one can extort money from you for pirating, but I would much rather either support the artist or pay nothing at all.

    I'm sad not to see Emusic on your list. They are really cheap (if not as cheap as these sites) and provide a really positive model of online music distribution.

    • toastedcheese
      June 14, 2009 at 11:05 pm

      Also, you mean "moral" not "morale," and "pressure" not "pressurize." (I apologize for being a grammar nazi....)

  10. ahenobarbus
    June 13, 2009 at 9:35 am

    thanks, i've just been and signed up on legalsounds where i downloaded a david bowie album for <GBP1.00. no more itunes for me!

  11. trane
    June 13, 2009 at 8:38 am

    I'm surprised mp3fiesta wasn't mentioned in the article.

    • Simon Slangen
      June 13, 2009 at 8:59 am

      MP3Panda is from the same guys, but lately MP3Fiesta hasn't been accepting any new registrations.

  12. Mark
    June 13, 2009 at 5:46 am

    I have used "Soundbox" for about a year now and have had nothing but a positive experience! Excellent selection, continually updated and prices per song as low as $ .14 Enjoy!

  13. Writerranger
    June 12, 2009 at 11:41 pm

    I've used MP3Panda for a long time (GoMusic as well) and have never had a problem with credit card, etc. Just because they're in Russia doesn't mean every business in that HUGE country is mob-related and/or crooked. That's like assuming every Italian-run firm in the states has mob ties. Pure television fantasy. If you're really worried, buy a pre-paid card and register it with name, address, etc. so it will be accepted online and you're good to go. Also, Bank of America and Citi both offer temporary or one-time credit card numbers for safe online shopping. But again, I've never had any trouble with either one of the two I use.

  14. Chris
    June 12, 2009 at 2:02 pm

    These sites are possibly legal (though that's really up in the air), but why pay money for music when the artist has literally no chance to ever see the money? I mean, going through amazon, itunes, amiestreet, emusic... whatever you use, at least the artist theoretically sees some of the money (yes, I know, boo RIAA, but I mean, most will get something for their troubles). Going through these sites, they don't actually pay any royalties, so the artists have absolutely no chance of seeing the money.

    Sure, maybe you feel better paying for it rather than stealing, but why pay some random person money for something someone else did.

    • Rebecca
      June 12, 2009 at 2:39 pm

      A good point. Using these sites isn't really much different than downloading it for free, from a moral standpoint.

      Why pay for it rather than download it somewhere for free? Because it's (I assume) better from a legal standpoint (at least right now) and better from a hassle standpoint. Downloading for free has its own hazards/inconveniences: finding the right files to begin with, low-quality rips, viruses and malware hiding in the download (because you have no idea where that file's been...), and that nagging worry that maybe the RIAA is sniffing around that torrent and marking you while you nab your prize.

      Folks will pay to not have to deal with these things, and that's what these sites provide.

      • Simon Slangen
        June 12, 2009 at 6:44 pm

        Yes, basically the major question is if you pay for the legality of it all, or to support the artist(s).

        Personally, I think this differs from case to case. Starting artists and the like should be supported as much as possible, but I also think 50Cent has enough Hummers already and doesn't need that 'extra push in the back'.

        There just isn't 'one rule fits all' and most cases should be judged individually.

  15. Rebecca
    June 12, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    I've seen these sites before but always been leery of needing to give them my credit card info, when they seemed semi-legal to begin with. I'd feel a lot better if I could use Paypal. Anyone have a feel for how trustworthy they are? Or am I being too paranoid?

    • Jim
      June 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

      You can buy a preloaded credit card to use. American Express has them and you can alo get Visa at a Simon mall. See That's what I do with sites that I don't want to trust.

    • Simon Slangen
      June 12, 2009 at 1:34 pm

      Although the sites are perfect fine themselves (got an account on and haven't been able to find anything discriminating on the other sites), the Russian law under which they act might be considered dubious - not so much for legal, but for moral issues.

      The reason they're able to keep their prices this low is because the law has a very weird stance on artist royalties. Basically, it enables everyone with the proper license to resell media under the authority of ROMS (Russian organization on collective management of copyrights) - without the artist's consent. Those artists will only receive royalties when they ask for it. Ergo, overall price-cut.

    • pacaschera
      June 12, 2009 at 2:06 pm over 3yrs+ and extremely satisfied (you can re-download your music purchases on any pc you happen to be at... yours, your friends, etc.). $25 buys a ton of music!

    • kep
      February 28, 2015 at 10:05 pm

      pandas online