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Online Music Showdown

Apple was the first company to offer an online music store, for users of its iPod music player. It isn't alone anymore. Which one will give you the tunes, versatility, and price/performance you want? John Aubrey checks out four of the most popular stores, and delivers his verdict.

Author Info:
By: John Aubrey
Rating: 5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars / 6
January 10, 2005
  1. · Online Music Showdown
  2. · iTunes
  3. · Napster
  4. · Rhapsody
  5. · Allofmp3.com
  6. · And the winner is…

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Online Music Showdown - Allofmp3.com
(Page 5 of 6 )

Allofmp3.com uses a different pricing structure from the rest. They charge by the MB, not by the song. Allofmp3 doesn’t have any software; it runs straight from a website. It’s pretty straightforward. They list the artists in alphabetical order. Navigation is easy, but getting the song requires a little learning. The first time I went to allofmp3.com, the page came up in Russian; after stumbling around, I found the English page.

Allofmp3 offers many different types of files. These include MP3, WMA, OGG, ACC, and MPC, all at 128, 192, and 302 kbps; they also support Lossless encoding. These files include no type of file protection, which means you can transfer them to anything you wish. They will work on any MP3 player compatible with that music format, and can be burned an infinte number of times.

As mentioned above, you pay for the size of the song, not a fixed price per song. For one penny you get 10 MB of downloads, which equals about 2 or 3 songs. The price is going to double to -- horrors -- two pennies per 10 MB as of January 15, 2005. Keep in mind that higher quality means bigger size, which will cost you more. For $1, roughly the cost of a song at a competitor's store, you get 1 GB of download space at AllofMP3.com. To add the icing on the cake, when you register with them, they give you 10 MB of downloads for free.

Wow, that price seems incredible, right? Is this a scam? Well, the price is real; I tested it myself. This is not a scam, you get the songs and you are only billed for the space for which you paid to use. But here’s where we get into the gray area. This site is run in Russia. No, it is not illegal to buy stuff from Russia, but the site follows Russian laws. Here is what they have to say:

"All the materials in the MediaServices projects are available for distribution through Internet according to license # LS-3М-03-79 of the Russian Multimedia and Internet Society. Under the license terms, MediaServices pays license fees for all the materials subject to the Law of the Russian Federation 'On Copyright and Related Rights.' All the materials are available solely for personal use and must not be used for further distribution, resale or broadcasting.

Users are responsible for any usage and distribution of all materials received from AllOFMP3.com. This responsibility depends on the local legislation of each user's country of residence. AllOFMP3.com's Administration does not keep up with the laws of different countries and is not responsible the actions of non-Russian users."

In case you didn't understand all the legal information, here's the translation: if you’re not in Russia, then they are not responsible for any trouble you get into where you live. The other stores reviewed here pay a certain fee to the recording companies, so the artists get  paid for their songs. With AllofMP3.com, the artist and record company get nothing. While I have yet to hear of anyone getting sued because they bought songs off of AllofMP3.com, I would say this site is in the gray area. This does not mean it's illegal, but the site would be shut down if it were hosted in the US. The download speed is very slow; I managed a mere 60 kbps, while achieving 200+ kbps on other services. You can boil it down to two cliches: "you get what you pay for" and "let the buyer beware."


  • Very cheap
  • Variety of formats
  • No limitations on what you can do with the songs
  • Not specific to any particular operating system 


  • Servers in Russia
  • Slow download speed
  • Questionable legality

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