Free Music Downloads: Is it Still a Big Deal?

By: Nathan T. Lynch

We’ve heard about the controversy surrounding Napster and the artists in the music industry who do not want their music downloaded for free. With all of the debates over downloading music for free off of the internet, it might interest you to know exactly what is going on in this arena.

On the original Napster site, people could upload whatever music they had and it share with each other for free, or download whatever music they wanted to add to their library for free. The musicians argued that not only was this process a copyright violation, but also that one of the reasons they are out there working so hard to make music for us, is to in turn, reap some monetary benefits from their efforts. The free music downloads that Napster was supplying in the past, were hindering the public from going out and purchasing CDs because they could get all of the music they wanted, for free, from the website.

Napster.com now offers a free seven-day trial if you register with them on their website. You can listen to as much music as you want during that time, for free, however you can no longer download the songs you want unless you pay for them. After the seven-day trial period is up, it costs between $9.95 and $14.95 per month to be able to utilize their download service. There is no contract to sign, its all on a month-to-month basis, and they also offer discounts for multiple downloads. That price seems pretty reasonable if you think about how much it costs to buy one CD.

Of course, many people are still actively downloading music for free off of the internet. There are quite a few free music download services out there, but you have to be careful. The music downloads might be free, but they are not always legal. Additionally, if you install the downloading software onto your computer, you are running the risk of letting in a ton of spyware, adware and even viruses, which can be harmful to your operating system and in some situations, cause irreversible damage to your computer.

Downloading music, free or otherwise, off of the internet is a convenient and easy way to build your song library. But even though we all want to enjoy our favorite music, whatever genre it may be, its better to be informed and know of the facts before you download in order protect yourself and your computer.

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