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IBMA

Bluegrass Music MP3 Downloads

Bluegrass music has always had a loyal, dedicated army of fans. Nowadays, the popularity in MP3 download services has given more people the chance to discover and appreciate this genre. It has also allowed followers to reappraise almost forgotten songs and artists. The ease at which a Bluegrass MP3 can be accessed, listened to and downloaded has brought the music to a whole new global audience. The availability of Bluegrass CDs and radio airplay is still very limited in large parts of the country and particularly overseas.

The beauty of online music downloading is that a listener can preview a Bluegrass MP3 in full or part, before making a purchase. For those people reluctant to part with $15 for a CD that might only contain one or two songs of interest, this is an ideal, cost effective solution. By using one of these services, you can customize your own play lists and make individual compilations of your favorite music.

The legal, paid for market for music downloads is dominated by 5 main companies - iTunes, Emusic, Napster, Rhapsody and MusicMatch (now Yahoo). All offer a selection of Bluegrass and acoustic music with Emusic having a particularly good range. They have tracks by Steve Ivey, Jason Bailey, Erica Wheeler and others, showing the variety available here:

Each of these services has differences in how they operate with various restrictions, differing formats and payment plans available. The service with the largest collection of Bluegrass downloads may not necessarily be the best option for you. Before committing, you should have a definite idea of what you want to do with your music once you have paid. By choosing an option that won't allow you to enjoy your music to the full will only make you feel frustrated.

The first choice you have to make is what type of payment model is best for you. There are two types; you can opt for a monthly subscription which allows an entire music catalog to be streamed to your computer, which for an extra surcharge can be transferred to a portable MP3 music player. For $14 per month, Napster and Rhapsody both offer this service. This however, does not let you burn music to a CD, for that you will have to buy the individual song for an average $0.99 a time. This is the other option available and is called Pay Per Song or PPS. If you hear a song you like, you can simply buy it individually and you have the freedom to play it on your computer, a portable music MP3 player or burn it to a CD. This is the payment model used by the dominant download service iTunes.

Another major factor to think about is the format of your music. Again there are basically two choices. iTunes uses a proprietary format called AAC which will only work with a iPod music player while almost everyone else uses WMA or universal MP3. With WMA dozens of music players can be used. Although iTunes is the deserved market leader with the largest and most varied catalog, owning an iPod really is an essential requirement to using this service. The eventual release of the Zunes music player from Microsoft will have AAC compatibility.

When first playing your Bluegrass MP3 download, you may be subjected to certain restrictions of use depending on where you downloaded. This is known as digital rights management whereby the file is encrypted in a certain way to combat widespread piracy or simply giving it away to a free file sharing website. You may be able to say, stream an entire catalog on up to 5 different computers or burn a song to a CD up to 10 times. Each service has a slightly different policy on this. These regulations are mainly driven by the major record companies in order to protect their revenues. The notable exception to this is eMusic which offers its music in straightforward MP3 format. A bluegrass MP3 download has no restrictions on its use and is not digital rights managed. This is because eMusic does not work with the major record labels and only offers music from emerging artists and independent labels. The two fold benefit of this is that virtually all music players are compatible- even iPods - and works out much cheaper than its main competitors. It is also a good source for Bluegrass MP3s.

A Paid for MP3 download is an obvious alternative to an audio CD, so the customer expects the equivalent level of sound quality. There is little to choose between the major services here as they all offer CD quality128kbps (also known as audio bit rate) as standard although Rhapsody also has a choice of higher bit rates of 160 and 192kbps. With each service offering literally millions of songs for download, a good search and preview function is essential to save time and hassle. Rhapsody is widely recommended as having the most user friendly interface and easiest to navigate.

Enjoy your bluegrass MP3 downloads - and any other music that takes your fancy - and take advantage of the wealth of choice out there with tons of new music and old long deleted tracks being uploaded constantly. By making the correct, informed choice on download service provider to use, you are sure to save time, money and frustration and enjoy a new music listening experience.