Free Music Downloading Sites For iPod – A Myth Or Reality?

To be free or not to be free, that is the question? I know this is a pun on Shakespeare, well sort of, but I couldn’t resist it! Unfortunately for music downloading sites it seems to be more of a myth than a reality. Read on to find out why!

Anyway, there’s a more accurate statement, which is “if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t true.” And which applies to the possibility of free downloading sites. The problem is that there are free sites available but most of these, in fact, I would estimate well over 95% are “rubbish”. I can hear you ask, what you mean by rubbish? Well quite simply, you get free files, but you also get problems attached to them. These problems range from very poor quality download files and/or viruses or Trojans. Hopefully, you haven’t had the misfortune of having downloaded a virus into your PC from one of these sites as take it from me, they can be incredibly difficult to remove (but that’s another article.)!

I think its wise to define here what a free site means iin the context of sourcing music for your iPod.

A free download site will allow you to access files being shared over a user network and accessed from a portal that is controlled by a third-party. Unfortunately, these third parties often utilise the naivete of “surfers” looking to take advantage of “freebies” to download at best adware and at worst malware. However there are times when little jewels of portal sites can be found although these are as rare as hens teeth.

To be honest, music downloading sites that are free are really a myth. You are really going to be hard pressed to find a site of any decent quality that provides the music you want, no viruses and fast download speed. The bottom line is that you’re going to have to pay something!

The real question should be-what are my options and how much am I going to have to pay?

Well, that entirely depends upon several things including, your budget and how much you want to download.

You have several choices initially, you can opt for the pay per download system which includes sites such as Napster and iTunes and pay $0.99 per tune. You can go for monthly subscription sites (usually $10-$15 per month). I won’t be suggesting any here because I don’t think they are good value for money, or you can go for a category of music provision site for iPods termed as an unlimited download site.

Don’t get overly excited here simply because there is a cost attached to membership of such a site. These music downloading sites will set you back at least $35-$40 so they’re not free. However, what you do get, with the reputable ones, is the site should have a wide variety of choice, clean files (no viruses), bonus conversion software, fast download speed and excellent technical support.

After much trial and error and wasted time, not to mention one nasty virus which took me a day to eradicate I finally opted for the unlimited download site category.

Top 3 Reasons For Using Royalty Free Music Backgrounds

Tired of the same old music tracks? Or are you running out of ideas on the kind of music tracks that you wish to embed into your website background? Well, fret not because help is now at hand. There are plenty of reasons for you to smile now because thanks to the help of royalty free music tracks, you will no longer have to worry about lack of ideas on choosing the best songs to embed into your websites. Time to get real and discover the top 3 reasons for using royalty free music backgrounds for websites, blogs, videos and even your MySpace profile.

Before we get the ball rolling, let’s get the meaning of royalty free music straight. Royalty free music tracks are songs that can be downloaded and used over and over again without having to worry about getting in trouble with the law. Unlike copyrighted tracks, royalty free music are tracks that can be used and embedded into your blogs and websites. You as the purchaser are entitled to tweak and edit the tracks however you wish. Do you think that the track is too long? Then shorten it. Do you think that the track is too short? Then loop it. Either way, you are just tweaking the songs such that it suits your taste. The best thing about royalty free music is that you do not need to worry if you are infringing the law. The royalty free music track is rightfully yours upon purchase!

Check out these top 3 reasons for using royalty free music as background music:

#1 – As aforementioned, these kinds of tracks are reusable tracks. As such, you can edit as many times as you want and use it on websites and blogs. Since these tracks are not copyrighted, you are able to edit it to your hearts content. This is definitely not the case for copyrighted tracks like Justin Timberlake’s latest hits. Even if you have downloaded his tracks from iTunes, you are not supposed to distribute it or use it on other media. If you download songs illegally, it just makes matters worse. Hence, for the same price as copyrighted tracks, you are able to create your own songs using royalty free music tracks.

#2 – Fear that these royalty free tracks might lack the ‘oomph’ and quality? Well, you can believe me when I say that you will be surprised that there are pretty good tracks out there that sounds as good as those songs you might have liked from the radio. In fact, they might be twice as good! This is simply because these tracks are actually composed by well-known music composers and directors. Hence, you will no longer need to doubt the quality of these royalty free music tracks.

#3 – There is an abundance of royalty free music tracks for you to choose from. This would mean that you will no longer need to worry if you are running out of ideas on what to embed as your website background music. If you are not satisfied with the track that you have, do a thorough research and grab the ones that you like. Edit them and make your own masterpiece. With over thousands of sound tracks to choose from, there is no way you are going to bump on another person’s website with the same background music as yours.

Using royalty free music tracks makes your website look and sound unique. Being the odd one out does not always have to hurt.

Get Album Artwork on iTunes

Music lovers today are iTunes lover. Known to be the most popular digital media player used for playing and organizing digital music, iTunes plays a major role in the music industry today. With iTunes, you can download music, videos, TV shows, games, ebooks, audiobooks and other applications. However, even a popular application is not without flaws. Music lovers often complain of missing album artwork on iTunes. There are still some flaws where album artworks are missing from songs and albums you downloaded. Fortunately, there are ways to get album artwork on iTunes.

The first thing you can try to get album artwork on iTunes is to do it manually. You can right-click on the song, choose get album artwork and hope that iTunes have updated their database since the last time you scanned your library. If this fails, then you would need an application that can get album artwork on iTunes and at the same time, do everything from fixing misspellings, removing duplicates, organizing genres to fixing song details. There are several applications that you can choose from to do all this. There are free ones that you can download, free trial versions and those that need to be purchase before you can download. Before you download the first application you see on your search engine, examine first what it can offer to your music library. There are many sites that offer this kind of application but can only do half of the work. So, do your research well. Ask friends and other users. Check out which application provider is the best for you.

One of the most popular and talked about application to get album artwork on iTunes is TidySongs. TidySongs is a powerful program that will be able to fix your music library the way you want it. It can fix misspelled songs and details. It is irritating to see misspelled title and artist names on your music library and TidySongs will fix all of these. Duplicate songs can also be removed using this application. Even if they have different spellings, they can be searched and fixed. While fixing your music library, TidySongs can automatically fill in missing artist name, album released year and song genre. All of these are done without you needing to type anything.

Aside from all the things mentioned about TidySongs, there is one more great advantage in using this program. That is making your music look good by using album artwork. TidySongs can automatically download high-resolution album artwork for every song in your music library. Even if you still have misspellings, missing details and duplicate songs, album artworks can be downloaded and displayed on your computer screen to make your music library fun to use and arranged the way it is supposed to be.

Legal Music For YouTube – Four Ways to Address Client Concerns About Copyrights

Let’s assume you are a creative professional being compensated to create a video for a client. Let’s also assume your client will NOT be broadcasting the video on television nor distributing it on DVD, but WILL be distributing the video on the internet (their website, YouTube etc), presenting it at meetings and even showing it at a trade shows. Let’s also assume that you, the creative expert, are expected to handle any and all copyright clearances for the video, including the soundtrack.

How do you ensure your soundtrack is cleared for all these uses and that no embarrassing copyright issues will emerge down the road? The digital marketplace offers lots of music that can be used without paying any license fees, but there will always be a direct relationship between the amount you pay to use a piece of music and the amount of control you (or your client) have over that music. For example, that $0.89 you spent on iTunes for a Van Morrison single only allows you to enjoy that song on your iPod…and nothing else. But move that decimal point four places to the right and you can probably use it in your independent film until the cows come home. Here’s the breakdown of everything in between:

I. Royalty-free music libraries

(*Full disclaimer: I co-own a royalty-free production music library).

For as little as $10, a production music library will deliver a high rez version of a piece of music to you along with a license document (or at least a receipt) that lists both you and your chosen track specifically. Because you’re getting compensated by your client, it would be valuable for you to have a paper trail like this. Most royalty-free libraries will even conduct the music search for you at no charge. They know their library better than you. So why sift through thousands of tracks when you should be editing video?

What’s the catch? Most stock music libraries won’t carry famous songs that your client knows. They may carry “sound-a-likes”, but that information definitely won’t be listed on their website. You have to discuss that directly with a sales rep.

Also, a royalty-free music library is the most expense solution offered here. $10 is definitely the bottom of the price range whereas the average price is probably between $30 and $50 per track. If your client is willing to pay this fee in return for a relatively high degree of control over their music, then this is your best option.

II. Your own video software

I recently edited together a family video using iMovie and Soundtrack Pro and entered it into an online contest. While there wasn’t a huge library of tracks, I quickly found something that worked well and incorporated it into my video quickly.In order to stay competitive, many video software makers completely buy out the copyrights to instrumental music tracks and bundle them with their product. Soundtrack Pro’s license agreement reads as follows:

You may broadcast and/or distribute your own soundtracks that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual audio files may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound files or music beds.”  That type of license should work fine for your project.

What’s the catch? Selection. I’ve worked for organizations that bought copyrights outright and I can say from experience that a collection that is “wholly-owned” can never be as dynamic, large or comprehensive as a user contributed music library. You’re at the mercy of what content Apple is willing to acquire. It’s easy for libraries like that to become “stale” and overused.

III.     YouTube’s AudioSwap

YouTube’s approach to copyright infringement has evolved into a simple ultimatum given to all major labels and movie studios: YouTube’s software will block their copyrighted content, but wouldn’t they rather just let it happen and share the ad revenue?

The answer from many of the major record labels is “yes”.

Therefore, you could theoretically synchronize your client’s video with Aerosmith’s “Dream On” in hopes that Columbia records lets you slide on copyright infringement. Just be sure to cross both fingers and kiss a rabbit’s foot as you upload the video.

In order to offer a less risky alternative, YouTube has received permission from lesser known bands and musicians to create an online music library from which creative professionals like yourself can choose a track from that library and let YouTube automatically synchronize the music track with your video. Some of these tracks are fairly well known.

What’s the catch? Your video will ONLY play with that music on YouTube’s website. And the music rights holder controls which ads run alongside your video. If your client plans to include this video in an email campaign or just embed it on their website, that may not be a deal breaker. But they ever want to present the video at a meeting or gathering of any kind, they’ll need to ensure the location has an Internet connection.

In order to use this music for free, your client is essentially entering into partnership with this rights holder to help them earn more ad revenue for their song. Also, the rights holders of this music can withdraw their music from YouTube, and thus your video, at any time. Your client may ultimately be ok with these risks, but you should at least make them aware.

IV.   Creative Commons

I’ve included this option last because Creative Commons rights are both complicated and, in sprit, not always supportive of commercial usage. There are no less than six (!) types of Creative Commons licenses. Assuming your client intends to directly or indirectly generate revenue from this video, you’ll have to confine your music search to tracks that fall under the license called “Attribution-Only”.You may find a “diamond in the rough” from this subset of music available through Creative Commons, but be aware that “Attribution” means you must credit the artist at some point in the video. Most clients are ok with that.

V.    Conclusion

It’s all about choosing what kind of parameters you and client are most comfortable working within: lack of control (AudioSwap or outright infringement), a music license that may cost up to $50 (stock music libraries) or a limited selection (creative commons or your video software).