Getting the Music
Now that you have found some tunes that you want to download and record to CD, acquiring them and converting them into usable form is easy enough, usually. The first thing to remember is this: If a song does not download when you click its link-for example, if it tries to play but doesn't, your software tries to download an html file or a file with a different extension than the song that you want-hold down the Shift key (Windows) or the Control key (Mac) and click again. Or you can do it this way: in Netscape Navigator right-click (Windows) or Control+click (Mac) and choose Save this Link as. Internet Explorer handles these files without any special machinations. Just click the song link, and IE will download it to your hard disk.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of legal free and low-cost music out there to be had. It takes a little poking around, but you are bound to find many new artists that you like and many of your favorites, too. Obviously, if you are going to be downloading a lot of music, a fast Internet connection is helpful but not necessary. You will be surprised to see that your 56-Kbps modem will download MP3 files pretty quickly, and you won't even notice if you are downloading in the background or away from your computer. Using one of the download programs, you can cue up what you want before bed and the songs will be waiting for you in the morning. Drag them into your recording program, and you'll have a CD in time to play it on the way to work.
For the most part, your computer, hard drive, sound card, and other peripherals you use are probably sufficient for audio recording from any source and to any recorder, unless your computer is very old and slow. We want to urge you to get a 56K modem if you don't already have one. Anything slower that that is just too painful to deal with when downloading music files. If DSL or cable modem is available in your area, you may find that it is cheaper than you think. It varies from location to location. But beware-once you use DSL, you will be hooked and you will never be able to stand a 56K modem again. Ever.
What is SDMI?
In December, 1998 the RIAA launched SDMI, or Secure Digital Music Initiative. The purpose of this plan was for record companies and others to come together and design and choose a copy-protected or watermarked format for Internet music files, one that would disallow copying or be able to control what could be done with a downloaded song.