Please note that Legal Sounds has been discontinued and is no longer available. You can read our old review of Legal Sounds below, or check out the rest of the US Music Download Websites we've reviewed.
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Legalsounds offers music downloads at almost unbelievably low prices. Single tracks are often only $0.09, even for the newest releases, and albums can cost the equivalent of a can of soda. How do they do it? Well this seems something of an issue for some, but we’ll come to that a little later...
First the positives: we’ve already mentioned the price, but there are also several ways to earn free credit on legalsounds. One way is to have a friend join the site, which all being well will earn you $9. In song terms this is 100 tracks! You can also write your own review of the site and ask them to check it out; if they’re happy with it then BOOM you get another $10. So without having spent a single dime you’re already over 200 songs richer. If these aren’t really the sorts of things you want to go for then you can simply buy credit. legalsounds frequently has offers akin to “buy one get one free”, whereby if you add a particular amount of credit (say $99) then they’ll give you twice that in credit. This means that you can buy a huge amount for your relatively low amount of money. $99 would become $198 and at $0.09 per track you’re looking at possibly downloading 2200 songs of your choice! Now compare that to what you can buy for $99 in the stores and there really is no competition. With some sites you are only able to listen to your songs online because you are held back by DRM law, which means you are not allowed to do as you please with the music. However this is not the case with legalsounds. Once you’ve paid for your tracks you can burn them onto CD, put them on your MP3 player or pump them through your home as you please. It’s also worth mentioning that legalsounds offers a relatively high sound quality, much higher than radio, and frequently higher than CD quality. This makes your low cost purchases even better value!
Something must be wrong, though, right? How can a site offer their music at a higher quality and lower cost than the others out there? When asked this question on their FAQ legalsounds responded with “Legalsounds.com has exclusive agreements with local copyright organization” and go into more detail under their “is it legal to download music from legalsounds.com?” section. In short they distribute from Russian Multimedia and Internet Society which has a few loopholes meaning that the same rights fees aren’t paid as USA-based music downloads sites. For some this is a problem because they feel that the artists and labels are being cheated out of earnings; for others they see no issue since so many artists are already rolling in cash. This is a decision for you to make for yourself.
There are a few other issues with legalsounds, including an inconsistency in the pre-set volume of some songs. All of a sudden your playlist becomes quiet or loud, which can be a bit of an annoyance though you can of course alter the volume manually. There have also been reports that users have had issues using their credit cards and that the software hasn’t worked. Some even claim to have lost credit or had it removed. The technical support section of the site seems quite helpful, though, and you can send them an email which they promise to respond to quickly, though often you don’t hear whether these problems become resolved. That said there are a lot of positive comments out there from people who have used legalsounds for years and not had a single problem. The number of tracks available, in comparison with other sites, is pretty slim. There are still hundreds of thousands to choose from, but it’s nothing in comparison to the mass millions of the big players.
legalsounds is perhaps a moral decision. Do you pay more and follow the USA guidelines for music download and distribution, or opt for the lower cost, higher quality product? It’s up to you...!
Please note that Legal Sounds has now been discontinued.