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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

Technology Review: Picking A Music Player

How to choose the best one for your sport

by: John Biggs

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MusicMatch: MusicMatch's On Demand subscription service makes this system stand out. Instead of purchasing individual songs, you pay $5.95 listen to a selection of songs for a certain period of time. Once you cancel your subscription, however, the music disappears. MusicMatch also offers 99 cent tracks. A special music suggestion engine makes short work of figuring out what you'd like to listen to next.

eMusic: eMusic is a pioneering MP3 service that offers a number of downloads for a set price. The most expensive offer, for example, costs $19.99 and entitles you to 90 song downloads per month. The tracks will play on any MP3 player in the world and are completely unprotected by any digital rights management. The music is skewed towards the alternative and unknowns but there are thousands of gems in eMusic's extensive library, from the Pixies to Bloc Party.

Napster: The original music service has gone legit. Individual tracks are 99 cents and Napster To Go offers unlimited downloads to any MP3 player for $14.95. The To Go service, like MusicMatch's service, expires once your subscription lapses. You can only burn purchased tracks to CD but the catalog is wide and Napster features all of the latest from artists in all genres.

Rhapsody: Rhapsody offers free downloadable music in trial mode as well as a $9.95 all-you-can eat subscription with 99 cent downloads and Rhapsody To Go which allows you to download content to your MP3 player. Like other Microsoft DRM-based services, music you didn't pay for is erased when your subscription lapses.

Sony Connect: Similar to the iTunes Music Store, Sony's store will only work with Sony players, which use the proprietary ATRAC format for music files. But one of those players is the very hot Play Station Portable game, video and music device. Sony's story includes music from all the major labels, not just the Sony catalog. Like other music stores you can also burn downloaded music to CD.


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READERS COMMENTS

Lanny
Apr 08, 2009

Check out the Sansa Clip mp3 player, 40g with headphones, 1-4gb, $40-$80 or so.

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