One of the leading music producers, Universal Music, have given the go-ahead to make free music downloads available. This will see mp3 music provided to the masses but not those who use iPods - unfortunately this service will not be available for iPod users and the tracks will not be transferable to a CD.
Spiral Frog is the online music store that you need to check out for your free mp3 music and they rely purely on advertising for their money. Subscription fees and fees for each track are now a thing of the past, at long last. However, eighty per cent of downloaded music usually goes through market dominators Apple iTunes music store.
It is possible that the service will be available after ninety seconds of advertising has been watched and this has its fair share of opposition. However, this isn't really much of a hardship given that all your mp3 music will then be free. It does, though, demonstrate the commitment of the music industry to find a way to provide free music to the listeners and rid the music world of the piracy from dishonest internet users.
If you are in any doubt as to whether or not it's all worth it, consider the fact that around 420 million tracks were downloaded last year and 60 million digital music players are expected to be sold throughout the world this coming year. All will require online mps music downloads.
Popular high street stores such as Tesco, Virgin and HMV sell music over the internet and Microsoft are about to jump on this bandwagon with the launch of Zune, a music player and download internet store. Zune will still be using the subscription method of providing mp3 music and music videos so another nice little earner for one of the richest men in the world then?
It is hoped the provision of free online music will counteract the work of those using piracy to get their tunes. There are still a staggering forty illegal downloads for every single legal download and this is something Universal hope to discourage by providing an easy, free service for those getting their music via the internet. Download speeds will be quicker and easier and free from viruses, thus encouraging people to use this method. All it needs now is for Apple to follow suit and provide an equal service to those with iPods.
So, what to do with all this free music? You may be surprised to learn that the top song for downloads is Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club by Paul McCartney. Not, as you would expect, some rapping noise from some teenybopper just in the music charts but a good, old-fashioned favourites. This tells us that either the older generation are not as technophobic as you would think or that the younger generation can actually appreciate good music. Either option is a good one!
James Blunt's rendition of You're Beautiful comes in as the second favourite mp3 music download proving that we are all softies at heart but don't worry - gangster rap takes a relatively impressive third place with Ghetto Gospel from 2Pac. Charlotte Church has Crazy Chick downloaded into fourth place and Paul McCartney makes another appearance at number five with The Long and Winding Road. I guess he must have played that a lot throughout his divorce!
Mariah Carey whines her way into sixth place with We Belong Together followed by Audio Bullys and Nancy Sinatra singing Shot You Down. Razorlights appearance of somewhere Else comes in at number eight on the most downloaded tunes and Gorillaz Feel Good Inc meets it at number nine. Just scraping into the top ten downloads is Kanye West with his Diamonds from Sierra Leone. I'd personally rather have diamonds from Cartier but when it comes to mp3 music I suppose he'll do.
Music expert Catherine Harvey looks at the new way of downloading mp3 music free of charge.