Are Subscription Music Services Worth the Price?

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    Now that a jury has found Jammie Thomas liable for $222,000 in damages for illegal music downloading, subscription music services are looking more and more like a bargain. For a small monthly fee, subscribers can download all the music that they want.
    Instead of buying individual songs which can add up, you pay a set price each month and can download dozens if not hundreds of songs. For example, Rhapsody charges $12.99 per month. While subscribed, you get access to their entire music catalog. For a couple dollars more, you can get the Rhapsody “to go” membership which lets you download unlimited music to your compatible MP3 player. Other music subscriptions services such as Napster and Yahoo Music offer similar memberships.

    The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

    Before you get excited and start dreaming of subscribing for a month, downloading thousands of songs, and then cancelling your music subscription, realize that there is a catch: you must maintain your subscription or the music goes away. In addition, you can listen to all the music that you want either on your PC or MP3 player (if you have the “to go” music subscription) but you can’t burn the songs to CD unless you purchase them.

    If burning CDs is important to you or if you want a tangible collection, a music subscription might not be the best option. On the other hand, if you want access to brand new music all the time, these music services are an amazing deal. For less than the price of a single CD, you can download music and listen to hundreds of albums a month.

    You aren’t limited to listening on your computer or MP3 player if you have the right cables or wi-fi connections. For example, if you want to listen to your MP3 player on your home stereo, a simple mini-stereo to mini-stereo cable will do the trick. Simply connect one end into your MP3 player and the other end into your stereo’s aux input and you have tunes!

    You can also connect your laptop computer to your stereo system in a similar fashion using the headphone jack. If you have a wi-fi network, you can get wi-fi adapters for your stereo system and listen to streaming music from the Internet as well as your Rhapsody music subscription.

    Cars and Radios

    Still need CDs for listening to your music in your car? Maybe yes, maybe no. Newer car stereos come with MP3 ports. Simply connect your MP3 player and listen. If you don’t have a car stereo with the required jack, use an FM transmitter. These transmitters let you “broadcast” your Rhapsody “to go” MP3 music to an available FM station. Simply hook the MP3 player to the transmitter, tune both the transmitter and the car’s stereo tuner to a corresponding FM frequency, and listen to your tunes.

    As you discover new ways to listen to your unlimited music downloads, you’ll soon find that burning music to CDs is destined to be a thing of the past. The less you listen to actual CDs, the more you’ll see the value of an unlimited music subscription service.

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