Alternatives To File-Sharing, Torrenting and other Illegal Transfers: Music Edition

24 Sep

Let’s just put it out in the open. College students love to illegally download and exchange media. Wide open, blazing broadband going to dorms and apartments provides a fantastic avenue for obtaining music, movies and pictures in a less-than-legal fashion. I was going to write a post about copyright law and its impact of college students, but it is pretty boring. While this series of posts will provide a little information about the copyright laws that deal with filesharing, it will mainly focus on legal alternatives to consume media.  The first edition of Alternatives to File-Sharing, Torrenting and other Illegal Transfers will deal with music.


Maybe you pirate music from services like Limewire, Bittorrent, Kazaa and other p2p networks. Some of you have noticed the drawbacks from using such networks: your computer is slower than frozen molasses and, in extreme cases, you may even have been subpoenaed by the Court System at the behest of the RIAA. Here is a list of alternatives, some free and some paid.

1.       University Sponsored Music Subscription Services

a.       Ruckus Music Network

i.      Anyone with a “.edu” email address has access to the service

ii.      Ruckus is free for students, faculty and alumni

iii.      The music is free, but non transferrable to portable devices or CDs unless you pay an additional fee

iv.      Uses Windows Media based Digital Rights Management which locks the media to your computer

v.      See my full review of the service here

b.      Some Universities use other subscription-based networks like Napster

i.      These are usually still free for students

2.       Non-Free Music Services

a.       iTunes

i.      One of the most popular catalogs of music

ii.      Has a huge selection of music

iii.      Individual tracks are $0.99 and entire albums sell for around $9.99

iv.      Can transfer media to any iPod, but no other portable device

v.      Uses Digital Rights Management to prevent you from pirating the media

b.      Amazon MP3 Download Service

i.      Has a huge selection

ii.      Does not have DRM

iii.      Can play on any portable device, and any computer once you purchase the media

iv.      Individual tracks are between $0.89 and $0.99 with albums generally costing between $5.99 and $9.99

3.       Streaming Internet Radio

a.       Pandora

i.      You access this service from your web browser

ii.      After logging in, you type in an artist or a song that you like

iii.      Their database of music will play music similar to what you type in

iv.      Great way to discover new music

v.      Their library is somewhat limited

vi.      Free

b.      Terrestrial Radio Stations

i.      Most major radio stations feature a section on their website where they stream their broadcast live over the internet

ii.      This is a great way to listen to your favorite radio shows and get news

iii.      Search for your favorite radio station in Google and find the “streaming radio section”


i.      This is similar to Pandora, but more personalized

ii.      Connects to your music library to suggest new music

iii.      Cross platform

iv.      Includes music, movies and other media

v.      Great resource for information about your favorite artists and events

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Posted by on September 24, 2008 in General


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