Pressure has been building on established MP3 download services like iTunes. Rivals such as 7Digital and Play.com are now offering DRM-free content, and with more set to follow we could soon be seeing the end of audio encryption that restricts the way you use your music.
Easy MP3 Downloader is a new service that allows you to browse a catalogue of over 100 million songs collected from free legal music sources such as YouTube and Yahoo. It claims to be 100 percent legal and to offer clean, verified downloads of tracks, all of which are accessible through a small application you install on your PC.
This is quite simple and uses an iTunes style interface with a search bar at the top and a ‘What’s Hot’ list of current favourites. After entering some search criteria, results are returned in seconds and we were impressed by the range of tunes on offer. Not only did it return tracks from studio albums but in most cases you’ll find B-sides, EPs, live performances, rare material and even interviews.
We were also impressed by the speed at which the tracks were saved to a location of our choice; on an 8Mb connection during peak hours it took little longer than a minute to retrieve an average sized song. Selections can be queued in a download list and incomplete tasks will be resumed if interrupted, resulting in a tidy and efficient service.
Importantly, the music is DRM-free and contains no restrictions on copying or burning to other media. Subscriptions to the service are available for periods from 6 months (at $3.33 per month) up to 2 years (at $1.66 per month) or you can grab a lifetime subscription for $49.95, with secure PayPal ordering available from the site. There are no limits on how many songs you can download during the subscription period and a free trial of the service will allow you to try it out by retrieving 50 percent of the track.
All of this sounds too good to be true and in fairness there are some issues that may put people off. Most tracks seem to be encoded at 64kbps bitrate, there’s no facility to download complete albums and songs often contain incomplete ID3tag information. While the latter is easily fixable we can imagine that some users would consider the audio quality to be inadequate.
We’re a little surprised that Easy MP3 Download found a legal way to offer such a product; such is the speed and convenience of the service and the extensive nature of the database. If you’re not concerned with the relatively low bitrates you’ll find it to be an excellent albeit basic way to build a large collection of your favourite tunes.
Company: Easy MP3 Download