Music Download Scams – How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off

Have you ever tried to download music from the Internet? Where do you go? A logical starting place is to type in “download music” at a major search engine. The search results you would see include a number of well known music services like Apple iTunes, Rhapsody, and Yahoo! Music Unlimited. But a majority of the sponsored links scream to you with messages like “99 Billion Songs”, “Free”, and “No Download Fees”. Sounds pretty enticing? But, is it too good to be true? Read on to find out.

When you click on one of these sponsored links you will be taken to a very professional looking site. For this article we’ll call the site MusicScamSite.com. The home page again reiterates the messages “Free!”, “No monthly fees” and “No per song fees”, along with promises of a very large library of songs; 12 million, 99 million or even 99 billion. Just “click here to download”.

If you decide to proceed, you are asked to enter your name and email address. If there is a privacy policy or terms of service link available at this point, it often provides some interesting reading. Common provisions include: “MusicScamSite.com is a direct marketer that delivers email messages to its subscribers. All information voluntarily provided to MusicScamSite.com by a registrant may be used to support our marketing partner’s data services business.” This is the first red flag that this web site may not be what it first appears to be.

If you still decide to proceed further and volunteer your email address, you get another surprise on the next page: This free service requires a $34.95 membership fee for unlimited access. Or you can pay $1.37 per month for 2 years access. Hmm, this is an odd definition of free. But it’s not unusual that “free” things often have a small fee associated with them, and $35 is a reasonable price to pay for unlimited access to music. And since you are paying a fee, it must be a legitimate service, right?

You have already given up your sacred email address, so what’s another screen with your address and credit card information? You proceed. After successfully completing the transaction you finally gain access to the secret member’s area. Here you will find links to software that you need to install on your computer in order to start downloading music. Commonly linked to software include LimeWire, and various versions of Kaaza and Gnutella.

But wait a minute! Are these not all freeware, peer-to-peer type applications? Indeed they are. And all the music files that you thought were provided by MusicScamSite.com are in actuality coming from your peers – users of the same peer-to-peer software.

Now you start to feel scammed. Isn’t this illegal? While most people would probably agree that it is unethical to charge money for something that is otherwise available for free, it is probably not illegal. And besides, when you read the fine print of the terms of service you will notice that “the fee assessed by MusicScamSite.com entitles you to access the location, evaluation, and or recommendation of software products available from the web site and for the installation and technical support provided. All software recommendations refer to software that is available without charge to individuals at large for specific purposes.” In other words, you are not paying for the software, just their recommendation of the software and their technical support.

But isn’t it illegal to download music from peer-to-peer networks? Again the fine print absolves MusicScamSite.com from any responsibility: “Original works of authorship, including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain intellectual compositions are protected by copyright law. Purchasing a membership in MusicScamSite.com does not give you license to download or upload copyright material. MusicScamSite.com implores you to respect copyright laws and share responsibly.”

In summary, you have just parted with your email address and good money, and in return you have received free software and access to a publicly available P2P network. If you use this software to download any copyrighted music you will be breaking the law and may find yourself sued by the RIAA. None of the money that you paid to MusicScamSite.com will ever make its way to the music artists. To put it bluntly: you’ve been scammed.

How could you have avoided being scammed?

  1. On the Internet in general, keep in mind the old adage “If it sounds too good to be true…” Music artists and record companies like to make a living, so it is very unlikely that they will wholesale give away all their music for free or for a one time fee.
  2. Do some further research before you part with your money. Type in the name of the site that you are considering; combine the name with words like “scam”, “fraud”, “refund”. For the sites that are scams you will find two types of search results: stories in online forums that complain bitterly about being scammed, and review sites that highly recommend the scam site. The review sites in these cases are paid commissions for any paying customers they send to the scam site, hence their glowing “reviews”.
  3. Check out the site using a legitimate review site like McAfee SiteAdvisor.
  4. Call the technical support number listed on the site. Can you get through at all? Since technical support is what you are really paying for, you should check it out before you buy.
  5. Ensure that you have up-to-date anti-virus and adware scan software installed. This will not prevent you from being scammed, but it will protect you from some of the unwanted extra gifts that are often installed with the downloaded software from these scam web sites.

This article was written in August 2006. Individual web sites come and go, and the scams change over time. For current information and more advice please check www.DigitalMusicExpert.com/scams

Buy Rock Music – How to Do So Cheaply and Legally

You can now buy rock music easily. We are not referring to buying physical CDs of course. Anyone can now download and buy rock music from online services. Nowadays, the web has opened many doors for music fanatics to get all genres of music conveniently.

Even though there is a camp of diehard CD fans, it is an undisputed fact that to buy rock music online is where the future is. Have you ever find yourself in a situation where you only like 1 song in a CD but is forced to buy the entire album? I am sure many of us have at one point of time been in such a dilemma. It can be costly isn’t it? Buying songs online means that you can just purchase the exact song you want.

There are many websites online that offers such download services. Simply do a search using Google, Yahoo or MSN and you probably will land yourself on tons of results and sites to choose from.

If you have been buying music online for some time, you would know that paying $0.99 for a song is no longer cheap by today’s standards. It used to be the norm to pay that price for a piece of MP3 and everyone would agree it is really cheap. Today, it is no longer as popular an option. Another better option in the form of paid membership sites has almost totally taken over the music scene.

These paid sites allow you to download rock music and there is no limit to the number of songs you can get. For this privilege, all you have to do is to pay either a monthly fee or a one-time membership fee to get unlimited number of downloads. The databases are often huge and we are talking about millions of songs here. Also, these are legal services and you do not worry about copyright infringement.

If you are looking for freebies and do not want to pay a fee, you may want to know that on top of the huge selection, you are protected from potential virus and spyware infiltration that is all so common with the free download sites. When you buy rock music from the paid services, at least you know that you get quality music in a safe and secured downloading environment for a reasonable price.

As such, it is always advisable to purchase rock music from paid membership services.

Once again, it is worth mentioning that these paid membership services are all permittede by the music labels to distribute their music. So, if you buy rock music from the services, it is a pretty safe source.

Things You Should Consider When You Download Songs for Your Zune

Now that you have in your hands one of the best portable media player around, you should try to download songs for your Zune. The best thing is that you can practically get songs from all types of resources. This makes Zune so likeable to many fanatics.

When you download songs for your Zune over the internet, you have the option of pay or free sites. When you go into pay sites, you have two options again: pay per song or pay for a one time membership fee. Each of these download options have their perks and downfalls. You will know about them later on. However, before you start your song downloading spree, there are some things you need to consider.

Before you select music files for download, keep in mind the file formats that your player accepts. It basically accepts and reads MP3, WMA, and AAC file formats. If you can’t find your favorite song in either of these formats, the best thing to do is to use software which will help you convert your song into a playable Zune format.

When you’re looking to download songs for your Zune on the internet, you’re better off downloading from pay sites. From the two payment options, sometimes a one time subscription fee can be better than individual payments per download. You save a lot more money on the former than on the latter option.

If you’re wondering why you shouldn’t settle for free sites, it’s because it carries a high risk of potentially infecting your media player. A Zune player can be quite expensive and having it repaired and stripped from harmful virus can cost you more money. Free sites also carry illegal downloads which is all the more reason to stay away from it.

Then again, if legal issues don’t seem to bother you, look at it in another way. There are a lot of faults when you download from free sites. These faults include mislabelling of songs and poor song quality. Your media player deserves the best in order for you to truly appreciate its features and capabilities.

If you want to save on money, you also have the option of ripping music from the CDs that you already have. Instead of carrying bulky CD players, why not opt to convert them into a playable format so that you can listen to it on your media player?

You can visit my entertainment blog to learn more about how to download songs for your Zune.