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10 ways to save on CDs, MP3s and downloads

How to cut the cost of music and music players

Save money downloads Lady Gaga

With Grammys recently handed out to the likes of Eminem, Lady Gaga and Muse, and as the great and the good of the British music industry were rewarded at last night’s Brit Awards, Which? shows you 10 great ways to save on music, MP3 downloads and CDs.

1. Get streaming with Spotify

There are numerous streaming sites online which allow you to listen online for free. The best known of these is Spotify. To listen free, you either have to be invited by a friend who is a paying subscriber or sign up to Spotify Open (which limits you to 20 hours listening a month). Other streaming sites include Musicovery, We7 and Grooveshark.

2. Free tunes on eMusic

Download site eMusic is currently offering a £6 music credit if you sign up. This allows 7-days trial membership and gives you 14 downloads free. However you’ll need to enter your credit card details so you’ll need to cancel at the end of the trail to keep it free and avoid paying a subscription fee.

3. Free tracks at Last FM

Last FM is a free streaming site similar to Spotify but has more of social networking function. It monitors what is on your MP3 player or computer, compares these with people who play similar music and recommends artists you may like. There is also a range of free downloads.

4. Cheaper tunes at Tunechecker

If you are looking for downloads or CDs at the lowest price, then check Tunechecker. We found you could save £2.50 by downloading Adele’s latest album at Tunetribe rather than more popular sites such as Amazon or Tescos.

5. Find cheaper CDs

If you are more of a music collector and don’t go in for downloads, then look no further than Find-CD, which compares prices for CDs across a wide range of online retailers. We found Rumer’s new album for £5.99 at Amazon – a saving of £3 over HMV.

6. Free MP3s

If you’re looking for free MP3s, check www.mp3.com. When we looked at the site, we found free downloads from a broad range of artists including Radiohead, Michael Jackson, Rihanna and Willie Nelson.

7. Insure your downloads

If your computer is stolen or breaks down, you could be at risk of losing hundreds of pounds worth of downloads. Check that your insurer cover downloads – many don’t. Check our recent news story for more details.

8. Cheap Best Buy MP3 player

MP3 players have revolutionised the way we listen to music as we can now carry our whole collections with us. However, the best of these can stretch your budget. The Philips GoGear Spark 2Gb is our cheapest Best Buy MP3 and is a real bargain at around £40.

9. Visit your library

The news has recently been full of doom and gloom about libraries closing down, and we have covered this on the Which? Conversation blog. If you have a library in your area, the likelihood is that it will rent out CDs cheaply, giving you a chance to try before you buy.

10. Amazon free downloads

Amazon offer a wide range of free MP3 downloads which change on a regular basis. When we went online, there were 32 free downloads available from the likes of The Streets, Elvis Presley, REM and Macy Gray.

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