I’ve just been informed about a new site called AllOfMP3.com. It is a Russian site (link for English in the upper left corner) that offers digital music at a steal. What’s a steal, you ask? Well, iTunes charges $.99/song, and Listen.com charges $.79/song + $10/month. So how does 1-2 cents/MB sound? Yes, they charge by bandwidth, and their Online Encoding (OE) system allows you to choose the format and bitrate. Of course, higher bitrate = more data = more money. Some songs cost $.02/MB, so for a high quality, long song, you maybe pay a quarter, but on average it’s a nickel. And some albums are even free.
You’re thinking, “This can’t be legal! It’s too good to be true!” Well, guess what, buster? I think you’re right. Well, it’s definitely true, but I am highly skeptical that this is a legitmate service. They claim they’re legitmate in Russia, which is very possibly true, but they also warn you that it might not be legal in your country. Since they don’t have time to check everyone’s laws, you’re on your own.
One of their payment plans seems particularly suspect. If there’s a CD they don’t have, but you do, you can rip it and upload it for twice their standard bandwidth costs. Something about that just shouts “accomplice”.
Most of the internet lore on them is testimonials, and I haven’t seen any stories of people getting burned. A few believe it’s run by hackers, and even though that claim is largely unsubstantiated, you’re probably best off using PayPal to avoid giving away your credit card number.
I’m curious as to how the RIAA will strike at this. Even if it’s illegal, they’re only finding/sueing those who share music for free. Can they subpoena Visa or PayPal? Get Russian authorities to hand over AllOfMP3’s records? Hard to say. Well, hard for me, at least. Every other review of this site is absolutely sure this is legal, no doubt in their minds, and this includes Tech TV. Granted, it has been around since 2001. Maybe they’re right.
Disclaimer: I have not used this service.