Here you will find reviews of the top alternative music services around! You can give them ratings, leave comments, and find other useful information. Have a question? Check out the forums for help!
To get started, either read Beginners Guide: How to Pick the Right Store for You, pick one of the links on the left side under "Reviews", or go straight to the comparison matrix to compare them all at once.
After lots of user feedback and a long track record of uptime, customer satisfaction, and payment safety, we currently reccommend LegalSounds.com as a great alternative to the mainstream music stores.
Legalsounds includes a native download manager and all tracks cost only $0.09 each, with most albums costing around $0.90 - $1.40. LegalSounds.com has a great catalog with a huge variety of music and will probably have just what you're looking for.If you are new to this site and want a quick way to find the best deal around, check LegalSounds out first!
MP3Fiesta recently moved to a new site called "MP3Panda". The new site sports a completely new look, with colorful graphics and a panda bear mascot. I like it!
Prices are the same as MP3Fiesta ($0.20 per track) and presumably they have the same catalog as before. If you already have a MP3Fiesta account, you can sign up with your existing login information. Why not take a look right now?
There will be a review up soon with details on the changes (if any) made at MP3Panda.
As a newly introduced music download service, MP3va offers a similar experience as other music sites with a familiar feel and easy site navigation. MP3va accepts Credit Cards (Visa/Visa Electron, Mastercard), Paypal, Maestro, and SMS as payment options and offers 20% discounts on entire album purchases, as well as payment bonuses that can mean prices effectively as low as $0.07 per track.
MP3Million has an excellent MP3 catalog, many payment options, a help forum, and prices at $0.15 per track with an additional 20% discount for entire album purchases. Most albums have cover art, and all tracks are encoded at high bitrates. Very high payment bonuses (a $50 payment will land you a $50 bonus, for a total of $100 worth of track downloads) and easy downloading might make this the right site for you.
Want to use PayPal at LegalSounds, MP3Fiesta, MP3Sale, or MP3Skyline? While they don't accept PayPal directly, there is a lesser known feature of PayPal that will let you purchase music from all of these sites (and basically any other music site as well!). It's really quite simple, and is a great alternative for those who don't feel confident giving out their credit card information. Read on for a step-by-step guide that will have you downloading in minutes using your PayPal account.
Lavamus is an online music service that has several associated websites, or "network" sites, that all utilize Lavamus resources in order to operate. Some other well known websites that are part of the Lavamus network are JustMusicStore and iSOUND.be. One good feature of using sites on the Lavamus network is that you can use the same account and balance to download from all of these sites - meaning if the site you signed up on goes down or has some kind of problem, you can simply switch to a different site using your same login information. But what are the differences between these sites, and are there even more of them out there?
Soundike accepts all major credit cards, PayPal, and various other electronic debit methods. The catalog of 47,000+ albums contains plenty of mainstream tracks and recent popular music and may be adequate for many people, but might not have more obscure or less well known artists. If they have what you want, then they're a great bargain with prices starting at $0.15 and going for as little as $0.07 per track if you take advantage of the bonuses they offer.
With the most impressive website interface of any site reviewed to date, SoundsBox has a very competitive price of $0.14 per track (cheaper than many other sites) and VISA/Mastercard as payment options. With a 10-20% discount for entire album purchases, you get a top-of-the-line website and excellent prices, along with a good catalog that has most of the music you'll be looking for.
Since several sites have been dealing with issues related to payment processors lately, I've decided to post a quick list of which sites are running without issues and which sites are still trying to fix things. If you want to see the current status of which sites are accepting payments, check this list out.
As reported earlier, most of the the Lavamus network of sites are back up and running (Edit: it looks like downloads are working too, as reported in the comments below) - that includes iSound, Lavamus, and MP3Legal. These sites are all basically the same music provider, just with different names and usually the same music catalog. That is not entirely the case with all of them, though: JustMusicStore has a somewhat different (much larger) catalog; however, it is not back online yet. It looks like they are re-setting up their server : the default Apache page is currently showing if you go to their site.
the RIAA/MAFIAA has lost its first significant battle in the ongoing saga of their abusive lawsuits in the USA against filesharers. In case you aren't familiar with the story, here's a summary: a woman was accused by the RIAA of
copyright infringement in November 2004, and her daughter was added to the complaint in July 2005. According to the RIAA, the
Internet account paid for by the mother was used for file sharing,
with an unspecified number of songs downloaded.
Lots of things have changed since the RIAA/IFPI/MAFIAA used political pressure to have AllOfMP3 closed. It looks as if they are now setting their sights on other much smaller (and less popular) music providers as well. While some might wonder at how a foreign corporation is able to regulate business practices in a sovereign nation (Russia), it is not hard to imagine what an organization with the reputation of suing children and people that don't even own computers at all will stoop to.
MP3Skyline might have the largest catalog of any site yet, with over 2,200,000 tracks available online - easily more than any other site I've reviewed. With daily updates of 200-400 albums per day (and one free downloadable track per day to boot), this might also be the most updated site around. MP3Skyline accepts credit cards and Paypal as payment options.