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How do I download Wave and MP3 sound files from the internet?

Here's the problem. You go to download a sound file, so you click the link to it. Then Windows automatically plays it, but doesn't display a download screen (OK, this varies a bit depending on what flavor of Windows / Explorer you're using). What can you do? Easy! Right-click it.

When you right-click the link to the Wave file, you should get an option to "Save target as..." Select that and you'll get a dialog box that allows you to put the file wherever you like. (P. S. This also works for stuff like pictures, movies, etc.)

That's all well and good, but where do you put all of these little WAV files? Personally, I set up a folder on my C: drive for 'em

To do this, follow the procedure above, but when you get to the dialog box, navigate to your C: drive. Next, click the new folder button on the dialog box (it looks like a folder with a little star in the corner). Name the new folder Music, and put all your downloads in there. Win XP already has folders for "My Music", "My Movies" and "My Pictures" that you can use.

Oh, if you're really in the dark about all this downloading stuff, check out a downloading guide at:


Legal Online Music?

If you go to record company websites you can usually find free music—either as "streams" (you can hear it but not save it), samples (under one minute), but occasionally as downloads. Granted, you won't find that song they played all last summer, but you can get some new stuff, often before you start hearing it on the radio twenty times a day. Many even offer streaming video in QuickTime, RealAudio, or Windows Media. Check your CD liner notes to find the record label website of your favorite performers.

Another place to find free music is at the artist's official web site or fan club. You might find a live track, an unreleased song, or the latest single. Again, check the CD liner notes for websites. Try running some of your favorites through a search engine and you may be surprised what you find.

The Internet Underground Music Archive is a place where independent artists can offer their songs for download. You probably won't find super-stars, but you will find great music by unsigned artists, independent bands, and local talent that you might not hear otherwise. Every music style can be found here too, including Pop/Rock, Classical, Jazz, Country. You can listen to a "stream" of the song before you download.

Beau-dacious Oldies But Goodies offers over 4000 full length songs in Real Audio format available for streaming or download. This is a great place to find classic doo-wap, swing, and oldies.

For fans of Folk, Bluegrass, Celtic and old-timey music, be sure to stop by Some songs can be downloaded for free by registered users, while others will cost you just under a buck. Since radio stations still ignore this kind of music (despite the popularity of the soundtrack to "O Brother, Where Art Thou"), this is a valuable website indeed.

Paste Music also features downloads and reviews of folk, Americana, blues, Alternative Country and more. has a free music download site too. You'll find a few major stars along with thousands of independent artists. It's not as easy to navigate as the previously mentioned sites, but it is worth a visit if you have not filled up your hard drive with music files yet.

Sure, the days of file sharing mp3s a'la Napster are over. Illegal music downloads can bring the recording industry lawyers to your door like wolves to fresh meat, but that doesn't mean online music is dead. Record companies and artists are aware of the benefits of online music—they mainly just want their cut of the action.

If you're willing to pay you have a few options:
Music Now

In a few years the storm will calm down. Of course, by then, every music lover will probably think nothing of forking out $1 per song or paying a monthly subscription fee to download music. While the storm rages on, you can sail into some of the safe harbors mentioned here today.



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