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Streaming music from a service like Spotify or Apple Music may be great, but sadly, it’s not forever. That is, if you stop paying the monthly fee, your access to the music disappears. That’s just one of the reasons it makes sense to purchase and own your music.
When you buy digital music files, such as MP3 or FLAC, there are a number of key benefits. Most importantly, the tracks are yours to keep and to put on whatever device you want, plus it gives the artist more money to keep making more music. Sure, you could buy CDs and rip the music, but where do you then keep the physical discs? Online music stores offer instant downloads after your purchase — no need to bother with a physical disc — and there is often a choice of different formats. If you want to save space and (maybe) money, lossy MP3s or AAC might be for you. Or, if space constraints aren’t a concern, most sites also offer lossless FLAC or ALAC versions for a noticeable increase in quality (and they usually cost the same as MP3s).
Whether you’re looking to buy a music single or a whole album, and across a variety of genres, I’ve compiled a list of the best sites to visit. I’ve included both the biggies — iTunes and Amazon — and some of my personal favorites, including Bandcamp and Qobuz. If you want to play the music you buy, most stores offer both Android and iOS apps, or you often can just use the native music apps on your phone.