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Getting Started With Music Downloads

by Lance Wolak


About 4 months ago I purchased a satellite radio receiver, and continue to enjoy commercial free satellite radio.  One of the benefits of satellite radio is being able to see the name of the song and artist as it is played.  I soon found myself writing down several of my favorites. With the many channels available, I was writing down many names of songs – those that I have not heard in several years as well as new releases. 


In the past, I would go to the music store and make a decision what CDs I would buy.  You know the usual questions you ask yourself.  Should I pay full price for this CD even though it has only 1 or 2 good songs on it? 


Recently music downloads went from illegal file sharing to a big time, fully legitimate business, with Apple popularizing the activity with its iTunes service. With all the great music I was hearing on satellite radio, and all the song titles I was writing down, it seemed to be time to make the move from buying CDs to Internet based music downloads.


I began to search for a download service. There were several services to choose from, but I was not ready for a monthly membership fee that most required. After researching various services, reading the fine print, and trying unsuccessfully to set up my PDA to play music, I ended up with Apple’s iTunes. With no monthly fee and a per song download fee, this seemed perfect for me. 


As I looked closer at iTunes, I discovered that there was no truth to the common myth that the music downloaded can only be played on an iPod personal player. I was happy to find out that in addition to playing the music on my Windows-based PC, I could also create CDs from the music I downloaded and play them in my lakehouse, boat, or car (newer CD players are compatible with the compact download format).  The iTunes software managed all my music files, and created the CDs from any playlist I put together. 


Now as I am thinking about the next step to buy a personal player, I am excited about moving to an iPod.  If iTunes made music downloading, organizing, and listening very easy, I know adding an iPod with be a similarly easy experience.


As it turns out, getting satellite radio service and then adding a music download service was a great one-two punch.  I am listening to more of my favorite music now than ever before. It is easy to create and add to music collections, which can be used over and over.




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