Other online music stores and services
While they're not standard stores, these online music services might offer preferable plans.
eMusic made its name with an all-you-can-download service but now offers limited subscriptions, starting at $5.99 per month for 10 unrestricted MP3s. For other plans, see here. All content is from independent labels and includes more than 2.8 million tracks. To browse content before joining, go to the main page, scroll to the bottom, and click About eMusic. This will get you to the main site.
Focusing on emerging independent artists, Audio Lunchbox lets you purchase a la carte from its 2 million-plus track catalog for 99 cents per track, or buy a limited subscription starting at $9.99 per month for 40 credits (most albums cost 10 credits, regardless of the number of songs, and most songs cost 1 credit). To see other plans, click here.
This novel service offers more than 100,000 live recordings of a limited number of bands, either from albums or from recent concerts. Music needs to be purchased by album or concert, not by song, and usually costs from $9.95 to $10.95 per recording for MP3 format or $12.95 to $15.95 for FLAC. Umbrella site Nugs.net offers many free recordings and links to similar artist-driven stores.
Here's an example of a service--or two services, rather--that cater to specific genres. Beatport offers exclusively club and DJ-oriented music, while the Beatsource catalog is dedicated entirely to urban and hip-hop music. The two services combined offer more than 400,000 tracks, which all come in an unprotected format suitable for mixing (choose from AAC. MP3, or WAV). Prices vary from $1.99 to $2.49 per track.
Anthology Recordings offers only rare and out-of-print music, most of which cannot be found on any other site. Most tracks are 98 cents and all are MP3 files encoded at the highest quality (320Kbps).
MP3tunes offers storage and shopping in one. Use it to create an online locker to store your songs (which you can access from any computer), then shop its catalog to add new songs directly to your locker. A premium membership, which allows music uploads, costs $39.95 per year. Individual tracks can be found for 88 cents.
iMesh holds the unusual position of being both a peer-to-peer file-sharing application and a legitimate music download service, offering 2 million licensed songs from MusicNet. A subscription costs $6.95, and iMesh claims it's now free of any adware, spyware, pop-ups, Trojan horses, or advertising.