Over just a few years, the Internet has become a key part of the digital music experience for millions of people. By 2004, according to data from Ipsos-Insight and the Pew Internet and American Life Project, more than 40 million people in North America had downloaded music, and at least 10 million of them had paid a fee to download a song.
The rapid growth of the Internet as a platform for music delivery and the popularity of music downloading continue to affect the music industry in many ways. There are ongoing battles in both the marketplace and the courts, and it may be several years before things settle down. In the meantime, the market has matured to the point where you now have fingertip access to millions of authorized downloadable songs, from major artists as well as from independent artists to whom you might not otherwise be exposed.
In this chapter, you will learn about the different formats and delivery methods for online music, and about what to look for in an online music store before you make a purchase. We cover popular sites that offer paid downloads, music subscription services, sources for free (and legal) downloads of songs from thousands of artists, and the nuts and bolts of peer-to-peer file sharing.
On the Web, you can find music in three forms: music stored on physical media (records, tapes, and CDs) that you can purchase online, music in the form of files that can be downloaded to a computer, and music that you ...