Category Archives: Music Download Secrets

MP3 Audiobooks

The file extension “MP3” is usually associated with songs. But, songs are not the only things that can be contained in an MP3 file. The modern era has brought us virtual books that we can read on our computer, tablet or a smart phone. The development of this idea has gone even further – today we don’t have to read books, we can listen to them.

Technically speaking, an audiobook is a recording of a text being read. The first spoken audio has been available in schools and public libraries and to a lesser extent in music shops since the 1930s. Many spoken word albums were made prior to the age of videocassettes, DVDs etc. But, book retailers became attracted to this “technology” much later – in the 1980s.

Audiobooks can usually be downloaded as an MP3 file, but they can also be found in other file formats like Windows Media Audio (.wma) or Advanced Audio Coding (.aac). All file formats are equally successful in providing the best possible quality of the record.

Definition Of Music Download

We often talk and give advice about music download, but somehow we never ask ourselves, what is music download, exactly? A music download is the digital transfer of music via the Internet into a device capable of decoding and playing it, such as a home computer, MP3 player or smart phone. This term encompasses both legal and illegal downloads (downloads without the owner’s permission).

Popular online music stores include the iTunes Store, Amazon MP3, eMusic, Google Play etc. Sometimes paid downloads are encoded with Digital Rights Management. It restricts copying the music or playing purchased songs on certain digital audio players. They are almost always compressed using a lossy codec which reduces file size and bandwidth requirements.

Some artists allow downloading their songs from their websites or an online music store, often as a short preview or low-quality sample. iTunes, for example, allows listening to a short preview of any song before buying. This replaces listening to music in a store before purchase. Others embed services in their sites that handle single or album purchases.

Basic Audio File Types

You should be familiar with basic audio file types if you want to transfer music from your computer to a CD or if you simply want to download it. Different sites usually offer you the possibility to choose the file type you want. Here are their meanings.

Waveform Audio (.wav)

This is a common file format created by Microsoft and IBM and it was one of the first audio file types for the PC. These files are defined as lossless, meaning that files are large and complete, nothing has been lost. For example, professionally recorded CDs are also a lossless audio source.

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 (.mp3)

MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3 is probably the most downloaded file type. This is basically a compressed WAV file. MPEG-1 files are about one-twelfth the size of WAV files (and that’s why MP3 players can accommodate hundreds of songs on a tiny chunk of storage space).

Windows Media Audio (.wma)

Another media file created by Microsoft, Windows Media Audio was created to compete with the MP3 format for Windows Media Player. Microsoft actually claims that the WMA files are compressed three times more than MP3 ones, and they yet retain the original sound quality.

Ogg Vorbis (.ogg)

This file type is very similar to MP3, but it’s more compressed, like WMA. Ogg Vorbis is an open source (free to all, unlicensed, no strings attached). While MP3 compresses data at a constant bit rate, Ogg uses a variable bit rate. The rate varies with the need, so if you’re trying to copy chunks of silence into Ogg, your compression rate will drop to nothing, destroying the file.

File Sharing Timeline

The coming generations will probably download all their music from the internet. Not so long ago, downloading from the internet was unimaginable – people used to buy music from music stores. Here we will give you a specific timeline of file sharing, from the very beginning until nowadays.

1970s

In the 70s, floppy disks made an absolute revolution. It was the first removable media and it allowed manual file transfer. Floppy disk is a predecessor of CD-ROMs and flash media. But, floppy disks had one flaw – low capacity.

1980s

Most file sharing in the 80s was done by a modem over a landline phone, and many file systems in use only supported short filenames. Different minor modem and protocol improvements were presented in this era.

1990s

Probably the most important period in history for file sharing, the 90s were the era when the World Wide Web was presented and when experimenting with different types of file sharing started. Fiber optic cables appeared in the late 90s. Winamp audio player was born in 1997 and the first hosting site for unsigned artists was founded the same year.

2000s

Modern file sharing begins in the 2000s. Several file sharing protocols and file formats were introduced along with nearly a decade in protocol experimentation. BitTorrent became very popular in this decade.

2010s

In computer science terms, there have been few significant developments in these few years of the 2010s. The BitTorrent protocol and clients have become more stable, adopting UDP to defend against transmission problems. IPv6 support increased with clients and trackers. So far no new file sharing protocols have been introduced, only patches to the existing ones. Also, ThePirateBay was founded in 2010. One of the most famous file hosting services (RapidShare) and the music streaming site (Grooveshark) were shut down in 2015.

Websites For Free And Legal Music Download

People usually connect legal downloads with some sort of payment, but there are some websites that allow you to download music legally – and for free. Here you’ll read about three of the most reliable ones, but there are also plenty of other sites out there.

Amazon

Quite surprisingly, Amazon has found a place on this list. Amazon is recognized as a place where you can find almost anything – but “anything” comes with a price. So it’s nothing unusual if you don’t know that Amazon has a well-hidden section of music that is totally free to download. Go to the Amazon Digital Music Page and on the sidebar you’ll see many options. There are two ways to find this free music library – on the left sidebar, you can click on “Free Songs from Artist to Watch” or on “Free” under “Songs by Price”. Both ways will get you the same result – free songs.

Free Music Archive

Free Music Archive is not a site from which you can just download music – it’s much more. The people who run it are interested in offering you a legal and free access to new (and good) music. On the front page you’ll see their blog posts, in which they particularly recommend downloading music from some specific artists. Also, this site allows you to browse music by genre or by curator. You don’t need to create an account if you want to download music – you can do it instantly.

Jamendo

Jamendo is a little more commercial than the other two sites. Besides free music, here you’ll run into some tracks that require payment before download. Also, before downloading anything you’ll need to create an account. Jamendo offers a lot more international music than either Amazon or Free Music Archive. “Search” option is there if you want to search for a particular song or artist, and “Advanced Search” allows you to search music by an artist’s country. All songs can be heard for free; all you need to do is click on Radio link.