What is downloading music?
Downloading music is a way of saving songs from the Internet to your computer. You can then listen to these songs, burn them onto a CD or transfer them to a portable device. There are different types of music files that you can download but the most common is MP3.
Where do I go to download music?
There are more legal online services in the UK than any other country. The BPI (British Recorded Music Industry) website provides a full list of legitimate online music retailers where you can download music. Some of them have more help and information on downloading, including compatibility, file types and sizes but there are lots of options out there, including supermarkets. Some of the sites recommend or require a software download, which you are unable to do on our PCs.
How do I take music I download home?
You can burn songs onto a CD or transfer them on to a USB memory stick or MP3 player.
Do I need an iPod?
Not necessarily. There are lots of different MP3 players on the market, and an iPod is just a particular brand of MP3 player. There are lots of guides on the web to help you pick the right one for you. The price will relate to the amount of memory you will have, quality of sound, how easy it is to use, etc.
I have an iPod can I use it on library PCs?
To download to an iPod, you need the programme iTunes on your PC. Unfortunately, this is not yet available on Library PCs though there are plans to install it onto the PCs in the Headworks space in the Central Library, early in 2012. If you have a different type of MP3 player, you do not need to use iTunes and you can save directly to your MP3 player.
Is there anywhere I can download music for free?
The majority of websites will make you pay to download music but there are some free sites. Most free sites contain the work of unknown artists but you do find the occasional promotional download by a well known artist if you are lucky.
How much does it cost?
Prices vary, however as a general guide, individual tracks range from 50p to £1 and albums are available from £4 or £5. Some websites will charge you a monthly subscription for a certain number of songs each month.
How can I pay?
In many ways it’s like any online shopping - you’ll set up an account, fill your shopping basket then go to the virtual checkout to complete your transaction, then be able to ’download’ the track. You can pay for downloads using a debit or credit card or by getting an SMS token which you get by sending a text from your mobile which is charged at a higher rate. Many websites will also let you use recognized online money-transfer companies such as Paypal or Worldpay. These companies will pass the money on directly to the MP3 shop you want to pay. This is usually done if the MP3 shop does not have its own payment system.
Is it Safe?
Whenever making payments make sure that there is a small padlock icon at the bottom right of the page which signifies that the information you type in is secure. Another way of being sure is that the beginning of the site URL will say https:// rather than http:// - the s stands for secure!
Is it legal?
Law enforcement agencies and record labels worldwide have cracked down very hard on the illegal downloading of music. Many people and websites have been issued with huge fines and most illegal websites have been closed down. Most legal websites will provide information on their site about copyright and how they have obtained the recordings and are able to provide them free or for sale. As a general rule, if current chart music is available free of charge unless it is a promotion by the record label, it is probably illegal.
Again, check out the list provided by the BPI
What if I just want to listen to music while I’m on the computer?
Most sites that sell MP3s will let you preview some or all of the tracks that they sell, free of charge. If you just want to listen to music while you are on the computer a better idea is to listen to web radio. Web radio is an excellent way to listen to music as it is free and there are thousands of stations out there to suit every need.
Don’t forget that Gateshead Libraries also subscribe to various online music resources, some of which allow you to listen to music from your PC