What's the best way to fill up a new MP3 player?
January 20, 2004 6:37 AM   Subscribe

What's the best way to fill up a new MP3 player? [Further details will be provided upon clicking the 'comments' link below]

I just bought a 256MB Rio Cali player. In addition to grabbing a random selection from my 2000+ MP3s that I acquired during the care-free days of Napster and Kazaa-lite, how can I get more music?

I don't mind paying a reasonable amount per song as long as quality is assured. I have a Windows XP machine and a Linux PC. Does iTunes work on anything but the iPod? Are there any other services that are any good? Per-song charges would be better than a flat monthly fee.

What about free services? I hate to admit it, but the RIAA lawsuits, however silly they may be, have made Kazaa no longer worth the effort.

I don't need the latest and greatest hits, because most of them suck, but where can I go if I must have a few tracks from an old Red Hot Chili Peppers CD? What service will provide some good recommendations based on what I already have?

Where do you get your music?
posted by bondcliff to Media & Arts (15 answers total)
  1. Convert all your Audio CDs to MP3s.
  2. Buy MP3s
  3. Download *free* MP3s from artists and sites like amazon.com

posted by riffola at 6:46 AM on January 20, 2004

Newgroups. They are your friend in these trying times. For best results, you'll need a service that provides deep retention and a capable news reader. Apart from that, I will say no more.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:05 AM on January 20, 2004

allofmp3.com. Dirt cheap 192kbps MP3s from Russia. (Here in US MP3s burn you!!!!)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 7:13 AM on January 20, 2004

What service will provide some good recommendations based on what I already have?

See this thread...
posted by staggernation at 7:52 AM on January 20, 2004

If its only 256MB, you're not going to need many songs to fill it...
posted by Orange Goblin at 8:02 AM on January 20, 2004

I second the recommendation of finding free legitimate .mp3 files. If you're into punk rock, Epitaph has free samples from most of their albums. Nothing compares to The Dropkick Murphys covering Charlie on the MTA, or the sesquipedalian musical stylings of Greg and the Magic Thesaurus.
posted by CrunchyFrog at 8:07 AM on January 20, 2004

Is allofmp3.com legal and non-shady? Can it be trusted?
posted by riffola at 9:05 AM on January 20, 2004

I've used it for about 2 months now. No unusual activity on my card thus yet. Check out this AskMe thread for good info.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:06 AM on January 20, 2004


[Further details will be provided upon clicking the 'comments' link below]

Sigh. Has it really come to this?
posted by me3dia at 12:22 PM on January 20, 2004

riffola, depends what you mean by shady. They do not pay artists/labels, if that's what you mean.
posted by dobbs at 12:30 PM on January 20, 2004

Surely you own music CDs? And I bet you have friends that have some you do not. And there's public libraries that lend cds in your area, no?

So rip them yourself, using a high quality variable bit rate, using the mp3-ripper of your choice (there was an AskMe thread, but you won't go wrong with CDex. You'll get exactly the tunes you want (from the albums on hand) in dramatically better fidelity than the gloc that resides on KaZaa, and appreciably better and not much larger than the 192kps files that you get from the still-questionable-in-my-mind allofmp3.com. And with a little forethought, the ID tags1/3 will be set up to organize your collection as you want it.

Do 3 or 4 CDs for a few days, in a couple of weeks you'll have a fine library.
posted by mojohand at 12:31 PM on January 20, 2004

Remember the main difference between a legal or "legitimate" MP3 and an illegal one is mostly whether or not the record company is getting money from you. Very few contracts stipulate that the artist get any royalties at all from digital files. So while the artist will typically earn between .0 and .10 cents a song from CD sales, if a file you decide to get is not the difference over buying a CD or not, but involves a "legitimate" file versus an "illegitimate" one, the loss is to the record companies' profits and monopoly on distribution, not the artists. If the music you download is an alternative to buying the CD used, the artist and the record company are losing nothing. However, it is illegal in the U.S. to download a copyrighted file for free without the copyright holder's permission - so I won't directly advocate it.

That said, it is also important to realise that not every file traded on a P2P network is illegal. Many of them, in fact, are not. Unsigned bands and some independent labels provide and encourage people to listen to their music for free. Some artists have always allowed recording of their live shows. Others have released certain songs or albums *only* as MP3s available for free download (Curve, U2, and R.E.M. come to mind.) This type of material, whether unofficial and unreleased live songs, or officially released digital music is a fantastic resource for fans.

Excellent arguments have been made that when downloading was widespread, people were exposed to new stuff and CD sales actually increased as a result. You mention the RIAA lawsuits have scared you away from P2P. Well, hypothetically speaking, I have heard that there are ways to mask your I.P. address on certain networks.

A good music-sharing portal is Zeropaid. They list many P2P apps besides Kazaa here, including apps for Windows, Mac, and Linux. I personally like Soulseek - which is not the most popular program, but can be a great resource for legitimate files.

The best way to support artists is to go see them play live, and promote them if they are somewhat unknown. Some will sell CDs on their web site, at independent record shops, or at the shows. Typically, these discs allow the musicians to keep a much larger share of the sales totals than a disco distributed and sold through a major label and sold at a national chain.
posted by sixdifferentways at 12:34 PM on January 20, 2004

Thanks for the suggestions so far, everybody.

I've been ripping my CDs. I guess I should have said I'm looking for ways to aquire individual songs on MP3. iTunes, as far as I know, will only work on an iPod. I'm sure I could fix that with an extra step or two, but I'm looking for alternatives.

I have no loyalties to the RIAA or any particular artists except for one or two. I just want good, free or cheap music that I can aquire instantly via the 'net whenever I get the urge.
posted by bondcliff at 12:51 PM on January 20, 2004

Many record labels, especially independent labels, have extensive selections of free MP3s available at their sites. Here's Kill Rock Stars, Matador, and K. Epitonic has a lot of good stuff, too.

I'm also very fond of music blogs like Fluxblog.

Then, of course, there's always your public library--a lot of them have excellent CD selections.
posted by 88robots at 4:07 PM on January 20, 2004

For legal mp3's, check out Insound, they have a great selection of indie bands. Most indie record labels have full songs for download as well.
posted by kickerofelves at 4:40 PM on January 20, 2004

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