Go Abroad for Cheap Tunes?

John P. Mello Jr.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004

If the restrictions imposed by U.S.-based online music stores frustrate you, you may want to tap into the global market. But download at your own risk.

Sites such as Russia’s AllofMP3.com and Spain’s Weblisten.com are alluring because of low prices and the lack of restrictions on copying the music you buy. AllofMP3 sells tunes for 1 cent to 2 cents per megabyte (a 5-minute MP3 encoded at 384 kbps costs about 15 cents). Weblisten has an $11 subscription plan that gives you 8 hours of downloads, among other pricing schemes.

Both sites claim that they’re legit. But according to Francine Cunningham, spokesperson for the IFPI (the recording industry’s international rights enforcement organization), they are distributing music without having received proper authorization from her organization’s members.

Nevertheless, the IFPI has been unable to quash the sites, and this makes some music lovers happy. “I’m kind of a cheapskate,” says one AllofMP3 user, “and the price that they charge is about what I’m comfortable with.”

But bargain hunters should beware, warns attorney Tom Lewry. “My advice would be stay away from them because you run the risk of being sued.”