10 ways to save on CDs, MP3s and downloads

Barely had Adele left the stage after her performance at Tuesday's Brit Awards in London when sales of her new album 21 shot up, rocketing 890% in less than an hour.

Award winners Arcade Fire, Tinie Tempah and Mumford & Sons also saw album sales soar as fans rushed to download the latest tunes. How can you get hold of your favourite tracks and save money?

Experts from consumer group Which? have come up with these 10 great ways to save on music, MP3 downloads and CDs.

1. Get streaming with Spotify
There are numerous streaming sites online which allow you to listen online for free. The best known of these is Spotify. To listen free, you either have to be invited by a friend who is a paying subscriber or sign up to Spotify Open (which limits you to 20 hours listening a month). Other streaming sites include Musicovery, We7 and Grooveshark.

2. Free tunes on eMusic
Download site eMusic is currently offering a £6 music credit if you sign up. This gives you a 7-day trial membership and 14 free downloads. However you'll need to enter your credit card details so if you don't want to sign up remember to cancel at the end of the trial to avoid paying a subscription fee.

3. Free tracks at Last FM
Last FM is a free streaming site similar to Spotify but has more of social networking function. It monitors what is on your MP3 player or computer, compares these with people who play similar music and recommends artists you may like. There is also a range of free downloads.

4. Cheaper tunes at Tunechecker
If you are looking for downloads or CDs at the lowest price, then check Tunechecker. We found you could save £2.50 by downloading Adele's latest album at Tunetribe rather than more popular sites such as Amazon or Tescos.

5. Find cheaper CDs
If you are more of a music collector and don't go in for downloads, then look no further than Find-CD, which compares prices for CDs across a wide range of online retailers. We found Rumer's new album for £5.99 at Amazon – a saving of £3 over HMV.

6. Free MP3s
If you're looking for free MP3s, check www.mp3.com. You can find free downloads from a broad range of artists including Radiohead, Michael Jackson, Rihanna and Willie Nelson.

7. Insure your downloads
If your computer is stolen or breaks down, you could be at risk of losing hundreds of pounds worth of downloads. Check that your insurer cover downloads – many don't, as we blogged recently.

8. Cheap Best Buy MP3 player
MP3 players have revolutionised the way we listen to music as we can now carry our whole collections with us. However, the best of these can stretch your budget. The Philips GoGear Spark 2Gb is the cheapest Best Buy MP3 on Which? and is a real bargain at around £40.

9. Visit your library
The news has recently been full of doom and gloom about libraries closing down. If you have a library in your area, the likelihood is that it will rent out CDs cheaply, giving you a chance to try before you buy.

10. Amazon free downloads
Amazon offer a range of free MP3 downloads which change on a regular basis. When we went online, there were 32 free downloads available from the likes of The Streets, Elvis Presley, REM and Macy Gray.

Related stories
Read Full Story