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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive
How to choose the best one for your sport
Music Services Come of Age There are online music services for every type of listener --from the casual pop lover to the audiobook listener. With so many services, however, which one should you choose?
Quick Tip: Mac or PC? Products by Apple, including the iPod line, are usually solely compatible with the iTunes Music Store, available on both Macs and PCs. Other devices with the "Plays for Sure" logo work well with Windows Media Player-based download services and are PC-only. Check your favorite devices for compatibility before you buy. Like Apple, Sony players will only work with the Sony Connect music service.
iTunes Music Store: The home of the 99 cent download, the iTunes Music Store (ITMS) features over 1 million songs. Entire albums are available for download but the ITMS only supports iPod devices. The system allows you to burn your tracks to CD for low-tech consumption. Most major labels are represented and ITMS tends to get newer music even before some of the other major players. A partnership with audible.com also allows you to download audiobooks, allowing you to while away the road miles with a good book.
MSN: A latecomer to the party, the MSN Music Store supports Microsoft's Janus DRM system, which is bundled with most copies of Windows. Tracks are 99 cents and the service is compatible with most non-Apple MP3 players. Major labels are well represented, but the featured music skews towards less alternative acts.