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.
Online Music Showdown - And the winner isÖ (Page 6 of 6 )
Each store tailors itself to a different type of consumer. Apple gets a huge number of users. First, it gets all of the iPod users, which makes up a big chunk of total portable music player sales. Since it's the original, there are a lot of loyal customers who where there since the beginning. And let's not forget the Mac users!
Rhapsody gears itself to the user who doesnít want to move their songs to a portable player. It's also for users who don't care about saving the songs to a hard drive. People that use Rhapsody use it because of its streaming features. Rhapsody would win hands down for streaming; iTunes and Napster both fall well short of the bar Rhapsody has set.
Allofmp3.com is the cheapest by far, and offers multiple formats, each with multiple bit-rates, and no limitations on what you can do with the song. All of these points make allofmp3.com a great solution. But the question remains open as to whether their service is legal, or if their users outside of Russia might face lawsuits someday.
Napster's service fits somewhere in between the others. It offers features not availabe from its competitors. Napster To Go will win many users of portable players that arenít named iPod. The ability to stream, download, and burn songs puts Napster ahead in the area of overall usability. You should go with the service that meets your needs, but if you arenít going to use a music store for one feature, Iíd recommend Napster. Napster does it all. While it isnít the best solution for everything, it does a good all around job, while providing you with almost anything you might want in an online music store.
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