Broadband Guides

Downloading and streaming music online

Accessing music online:

Similar to what happened in the TV and film industries, the music industry has been revolutionised online and similar to elsewhere there has been a big conflict about music downloading due to the changes that have been brought about. Whereas before a music fan would have to buy many CDs in a shop, nowadays you can buy separate songs or whole albums online easily for a fraction of the price.

And aside from buying music online, there are many ways you can stream the content and listen to it live without buying the rights to use it privately. YouTube and Spotify are two of the most popular ways to do this, allowing users to create playlists to listen to things on demand.

There are also many web radio stations and podcasts that can be streamed live or listened to later by streaming or downloading. Some site allow you to make your own radio station based on your preferences.

In terms of purchasing music, Apple’s iTunes and Google Play as well as Amazon Music are the main options. As with Spotify, there are a range of free and paid options on these sites. And some sites like Bandcamp let you pick the price you want to pay for music, usually for lesser known artists.

Availability is something to be aware of as well. Some artists will not have content on certain sites, and sometimes on sites like Youtube content will be removed later if it is found to infringe on copyright issues. Pandora, for example, is not now available worldwide because of contracts and licences.

Peer to peer downloading is also very popular. This involves a community of users sharing files with each other which are then downloaded from multiple users at the same time, which enables a much faster download since your computer is getting the data from many sources simultaneously (and in turn what you have downloaded will be available to other users to download from your computer).

It must be said that caution should be taken with peer to peer downloading since it is primarily a way to download content illegally without paying the producer for the right to use it. There is also a security risk: since there are many not reputable users, there are often viruses transmitted via these file sharing sites.

Downloading large amounts of HD video is burdensome on your data allowance and also can take a lot of time depending on your download speed. However, music is much less taxing and won’t usually take long or put you over your data limit. However, if you download significant amounts of music per month it might be an idea to look for a plan that has a higher data limit, often called heavy use plans.

Overall, it is easy to get the music you want online, but be careful of copyright issues. There are a range of different ways to get music from Youtube to Soundcloud, so have a look for what suits your own music tastes.