December 16, 2007 7:48 PM   Subscribe

What are some high-quality, legal downloading alternatives to iTunes that are compatible with the iPod?

My girlfriend has been using iTunes to download music for her iPod for a while now, and while she's generally happy with it, she isn't always able to find the songs that she wants through iTunes. She was hoping to find something that was similar (Meaning: You buy a song and then you're done with it; no subscriptions or anything) that she could still use with her iPod. This isn't a subject with which I'm particularly familiar, so I figured that I'd let the hivemind share some advice/experiences with us.
posted by Parasite Unseen to Computers & Internet (22 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Bleep sells MP3s, which run on iPods. Any label or shop selling MP3s will help you out.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:50 PM on December 16, 2007

Best answer: emusic. I've happily used them for years. It's subscription based, but once you've downloaded a song it's yours, even if you drop your subscription. Everything is MP3, so it works with pretty much every music player around. And they carry an amazing variety of music, audiobooks, comedy, etc.
posted by iwhitney at 7:59 PM on December 16, 2007

Any non-DRM'ed mp3 or AAC files will work on iPods. emusic has precisely that.
posted by middleclasstool at 8:00 PM on December 16, 2007

I know you aren't looking for a subscription site, but emusic is great. $10 a month for 30 downloads.

Also, I'm not sure what style of music you're after but Sub Pop Records have launched a digital download store.
posted by robotot at 8:01 PM on December 16, 2007 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the advice so far, as a tie-in, how can we tell when a download site is legal and when it isn't? I mean, I feel safe in assuming that the sites listed here are legal, but if I'm doing a Google search and I find a download site that looks good, how can I tell whether or not the downloading on it is legally sound?
posted by Parasite Unseen at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2007

MP3 Fiesta
posted by mattbucher at 8:20 PM on December 16, 2007

As far as legalities, MP3 Fiesta has this legal page which shows they are a Russian corporation. As far as I know, the RIAA is going after filesharers and not people paying for music through foreign websites.
posted by mattbucher at 8:23 PM on December 16, 2007

As said, any site that sells you mp3s will work. e.g. zunior

Daytrotter also has some great stuff.
posted by kamelhoecker at 8:42 PM on December 16, 2007

The same thing that happened to AllofMP3 will probably happen to any other Russian MP3 store since, apparently, artists don't see any money from ROMS. The site's legal in Russia anyways.
posted by Artnchicken at 9:37 PM on December 16, 2007

Lots of netlabels let you download their catalog. I've downloaded from or heard of: Thinner, Autoplate, Monotik + friends, and Camomille.

Check out this other AskMe question for places to get music (there are lots of legal suggestions).
posted by philomathoholic at 10:03 PM on December 16, 2007

If the library near you has a catalog of CD's, look through them. If they don't have what you seek, have your librarian check to see if they can acquire the title from elsewhere through an inter-library loan. If you live where there's a good library system, you can sometimes get your title in a week or less. Then you bring it home and put it on your iPod, for free, and give the original back. WARNING: Do not develop a crush on your librarian, in spite of his/her ability to provide endless music. These things never end well. Bring your girlfriend to the library, just to be on the safe side.
posted by not_on_display at 10:28 PM on December 16, 2007
posted by ollsen at 12:25 AM on December 17, 2007

Although LastFM is primarily about streaming content rather than downloads it might be worth her consideration. Firstly there are a number of tracks available for free download as un-DRMed MP3s. Secondly is is possible to create a playlist of favourite tracks which can make the listening experience more akin to having an iPod on shuffle mode. It is free or you can subscribe to get a few more features.

A low-tech approach is to buy up CDs from somewhere like Amazon - either new or used - then possibly make copies of them and possibly sell them on again. Variations of this will make nothing at all for the original artists of course.

Finally she can go to the web site of the artists she is interested in and but tracks there.
posted by rongorongo at 3:13 AM on December 17, 2007

Lots of independent labels distribute their music as mp3s and FLACs via online indepent stores, particularly on the electronic/experimental end of things. In the UK: Rough Trade Digital, Boomkat and Posteverything. In the US: Other Music.
posted by tallus at 4:17 AM on December 17, 2007

Define legal? Allofmp3 is, well, legal. (In Russia. Kind of.) Too bad you can't add money to your account right now.
posted by TomMelee at 5:54 AM on December 17, 2007

The same thing that happened to AllofMP3 will probably happen to any other Russian MP3 store

You mean relaunching with a different name?
posted by kirkaracha at 7:43 AM on December 17, 2007

If she likes underground music (or oldies, or jazz, or classical), even though it is a subscription service, emusic is awesome.

The accounts start at $10 a month, but you get 3 times the songs of itunes (or 75 songs for $20). You own the song forever, can do what you want with it unencumbered, plus, (as far as I know iTunes doesn't do it), eMusic keeps track of everything you've downloaded and lets you re-download it at no cost, meaning that as long as this feature exists, you'll never have to worry about losing your eMusic tracks.

On top of that, it's pretty easy to find free tracks on emusic as well.
posted by drezdn at 7:51 AM on December 17, 2007

Walmart also sells MP3's (though I've never used it)
posted by phrayzee at 10:03 AM on December 17, 2007

Lots of euro trance and other assorted stuff at, free mp3s, with small ads at the begining.
posted by nomisxid at 10:26 AM on December 17, 2007

emusic and daytrotter Nthed.
posted by dobbs at 10:40 AM on December 17, 2007

ditto the e-music. lots of genre choices, easy to use interface, good articles about interesting artists, nice "save for later" feature if you're out of downloads for the month. just don't forget to use up your downloads every month. they don't roll over to the following month.
posted by troubleon14thst at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2007

I forgot, but there's jamendo too. (Be sure to enable flash for the online player.) The stuff is under Creative Commons licenses.
posted by philomathoholic at 5:04 PM on December 22, 2007

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