Downloading music is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get access to your favorite tunes, but there are a lot of unsafe and unreliable download sources available online. If you're not well-versed in downloading files, it might be difficult to recognize the signs of harmful viruses or other software that can wreak havoc on your device. So, how can you tell which downloads are safe and reputable? Check out the article below for tips on how to download music safely and easily, without going over your budget.
With thousands of music downloads available online, it's important to be cautious when choosing a site. It's in your best interest to go to the more popular sites such as iTunes, Amazon, Listen or LastFM. Sticking with well-known, reputable sources can help prevent malicious sites from stealing your personal information or spreading malicious software to your computer. If you're not sure if a site is safe, there are a few warning signs you can look for. If the site heavily promotes free software downloads, has frequent misspellings or a bad layout and has a lot of survey or video pop-ups, that might be a sign you should look elsewhere.
Watch out for free music downloads
While many reputable sites offer free songs, if you're not getting your music from a good source, it's very possible that free downloads contain viruses, adware and spyware. This is because virus writers know that more people are likely to download free files, and it spreads the virus more easily.
Most music files tend to range between 2 MB and 5 MB, so if your file size is much smaller, like 250 KB or less, that could mean you're downloading a virus. Most viruses are coded text files, so pay attention to file size when downloading from lesser-known sites or P2P software. If a file seems suspicious, play it safe and don't download it.
Scan your downloaded files for viruses, adware and spyware
When downloading music, it's best to keep your antivirus software on and up to date, especially when you're downloading from a lesser-known website or using P2P software. If your anti-virus program has a manual file scanner, scan the file before downloading so you know it's safe. If the virus scanner notices any malicious content in the file, it will alert you and destroy the content before it infects your computer. Some anti-virus programs scan downloads automatically, but if you're not sure, check your program.
Choose music that's in your price range
Some sites charge a fee per song, and others offer a monthly subscription. Choose one that fits your budget, and avoid providing your personal and financial information to lesser-known websites if they seem suspicious in any way.
Preview the songs before you purchase them
You should take full advantage of the Preview option before downloading songs, especially if you've never heard them before. This can help save you money, especially if you were planning on buying the whole album but you only end up liking a few songs.
Many reputable sites offer discounts for certain music. Sign up for promotional e-mails to receive discounts, deals and news about releases. Many sites offer a discounted price if you're willing to download a whole album, so if you're fairly certain you'll like it after listening to the previews, you'll save money this way.
Back up your music files
Many download sites allow you to re-download songs you've already purchased them, but it's always a good idea to create a backup in case your device malfunctions or you lose your files. Copy your music library to an external hard drive so you'll have instant access to your music in case of an emergency.
If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please post in the comments section below.