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Downloading music is legal, easy and relatively cheap. But is it the future of music? Mark Robertson investigates.

L‘ttteltilk‘t' 'Iillr' .lr'lmnv'.’ 'I‘he)‘ \VL'I'L‘ Pretty terrible the cartoon lamin who lived in the liuture. It was all jet packs. meals in pill form and rohots helping with the housework. While closer to liction than fact. they highlighted that things change. And not always the may \\ C expect.

Music. by contrast. doesn‘t change that much in content and with crappers like the Vines. let and the l)atsuns around you’d he excused for not realising it hadn't changed at all since hack when mullets w eren't ironic. What has changed is how we hny. consume and collect music. l’rom reams ol‘ sheet music and monster vinyl collections to ll).()()() songs on a hos the si/e ol‘ :1 packet ol’ lugs and with the stylings of a cheap l'ridge. liven (ieorge .lelsott would ha\ e smirked at that idea. He might not have smirked however. had he witnessed the power ol‘ downloading lirst hand. New York hip hop producer Danger Mouse made a bootleg record called T/lt‘ (infiv {ll/mm. an amalgam of .lay-/.\ Blur/t xl/lH/Hl and the Beatles White Album. Legalities ol' the whole project aside (it wasn't legal at



Tunes are there for harvesting online but what can you actually get? Here are the essentials on a few of the big names and a handful of specialist downloading sites.

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—! What can I hear? It holds the l Ml lot k r .19 ;. .y-o atom“; the xi it) latte-is on file so it's Rt Mm), H l\ lohrz '. l and Hum l’mlnl although some artists are only axai' ll lo

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What can I hear? Flectronirta at its finest. Pretty on l(‘h evmythmg Warp. l ex. Planet Mu and Ghostly Records have to otter. So it you like what they do. you're laughing. How much? 99p per track by card and f1 .50 by SMS Albums from a bargainous f6 99,

The test? The newne from techno wonder Jimmy Edgar. but sadly no Torto:s;e (it licensed them from another label).

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all) the alhtun became a cult hit through word of mouth and a campaign was launched so l‘ans could download the album from the internet. Demand was such that on '(irey Tuesday' as it became known. around one million tracks (|()().()()() copies of the album) were downloaded in one day. That would have been enough to put this ohscure hip hop artist at number one in the Billboard charts. an indication perhaps. of the hitherto untapped popularity of downloading.

There is a more legal option however. (ioing and buying a file from a website and hunting your own (‘1) version. liven with two of the main players in the US. Apple‘s i'l‘unes and the once illegal peer-to-peer lilesharer. turned legit. Napster. yet to launch in the UK (both plan to do so in the summer) there are still scores ol~ sites offering music you like. have heard or might want to hear online and demand is growing.

liarlier this year there was a watershed in the US. the first time ever the most downloaded song - ()utkast's ‘Hey Yal’ --