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MP3 Agents

Imagine getting practically any song, anytime, from anywhere in the world. MP3 Agents are very good at this, and they make it very easy to get the music that you want.

Welcome to the most heated debate on the Internet - MP3 Agents. They are changing the face of music distribution and it has many people in the music industry very concerned. MP3 offers a variety of benefits because it is portable, easy to distribute, and it allows you to store hundreds, or even thousands of your favorite hits on a computer or portable MP3 player, and arranges them in custom play lists with all of your personal favorites.

TopWhat is MP3?

MP3 (MPEG-2 Layer 3) is an audio/music file format that offers small file sizes (12:1 compression) while maintaining near CD quality. MP3 audio file names usually end with the .mp3 file extension, so it is easy to identify the files. The size of an MP3 file varies based upon recording quality, but most are at about 1 meg for every minute of music (2-5 megs in size). The bit-rate identifies the level of compression of an MP3, and the higher the bit-rate, the better quality MP3 (but, conversely, the larger the file size). This combination of high fidelity and small file size has made MP3 the file type of choice for transferring audio over the Internet. Check out Xory's MP3 FAQ for more info.

TopFinding MP3 Music

Searching for audio files is as easy as typing in the title of a song, name of the artist, or an album name. You can download over 20 free MP3 Agents and experience the ease and use of this new technology.

Napster is the most popular MP3 Agent combining chat features with a music player, and lets users share their MP3 libraries with each other. This software makes finding MP3 files easy, and they have access to a massive online music community. Like most file sharing systems, no files are actually hosted on their servers. They provide access to music files on other computers connected to the network. There are 4 major components:

  • Search capabilities able to search linked computers throughout the world.
  • A chat program to enable users to chat with each other in forums based on music genre.
  • An audio player to play MP3 files inside the software, in the event that users do not have an external player, or prefer not to use one.
  • A tracking program to allow users to keep track of their favorite MP3 libraries for later browsing.

The Gnutella site has also distinguished itself as one of the foremost authorities on file sharing programs as well. Agent MP3 uses newsgroups as a source to find MP3s. Songs can be saved separately or in a group, and searches can be conducted by category: classical, dance, rock, etc. MP3 Album Finder finds full albums, and single MP3 files on the Internet and on FTP servers. It resumes downloads if it loses its connection, retries when sites are busy, and tells you all the information you need to know. MP3 Grouppie is an MP3 newsgroup monitoring agent which allows previewing of music, and since you're downloading from a computer located at your Internet service provider, downloads always occur at the fastest possible speed.

MP3-Wolf is a search robot that continuously scans the Internet, and it can locate, sort and verify 10000's of music files and links per hour. Planet.MP3Find claims to find any song, by any artist, in under 60 seconds, and it automatically locates and determines which MP3 Music Servers are online. TrackSeek is completely multi-threaded, which means it can check many search engines at the same time, and it combines the power of multiple search engines to bring you one of the most comprehensive MP3 search programs available. REAL MP3 Finder is multi-use and utilizes many different search engines to find MP3 files and lyrics! Scour.net and Pluckit MP3 Studio search the newsgroups, where thousands of MP3 files are posted every day. Riffshare is different. It doesn't download MP3s to users hard drives, instead it streams them over the network. SongSpy entices users to upload material by granting points that can be exchanged for prizes.

Searching for MP3 audio and music files is as easy as typing in the title of a song, name of the artist, or an album name.

3PMMP3's MP3 Alert Service will search for MP3 files regularly and send you an email when music is available, so you don't need to check back every day in the hope your song has appeared. RioPort is a full-featured jukebox that allows you to copy, download, organize, and playback digital audio files. Enhanced features allow you to burn audio CDs from WMA & MP3 files for playback on any CD player! You can even listen to streaming audio and view video clips. Music.cnet, MP3 Fiend, Mega Search, MP3 Mag-Net, MP3 Meta Search, OnMp3, Palavista, Cybertropix, the MP3 Bee, and MonsterCrawler will allow you to search many of the major search engines and directories all at once. There are also download managers (Go!zilla, Getright) which manage downloads for you. They can schedule downloads to take place while you're sleeping, and they will automatically re-start interrupted downloads, resuming where they left off.

TopPlaying MP3 Musicfiles

If you're using Windows, you can play MP3s using Windows Media Player, or even better, you can try Winamp or Sonique. If you have a Mac try SoundJam or Macast (or MVP for PC/Mac). Plus, you don't necessarily need a computer to play MP3 music files. There are some very cool portable MP3 players on the market including Diamond Multimedia's Rio, Compaq's iPaq PA1, Creative Labs' Nomad, i2Go's eGo, and Mambox. In addition, there are a few car MP3 players emerging to bring warmth to those long lonely drives around the block (Empeg). A great comparative list of portable and car players can be found at MP3.com. There are also a lot of other units summarized and reviewed at MP3car.com and Xeenon. If you have access to a CD-R burner, you can copy MP3 music files to a data CD, or convert the MP3 files to WAV format and burn the wave files to an audio CD for playback.

Now if you're a purest DJ type and you actually want the beats of the songs synchronized, check out Virtual Turntables from Carrot, or Visiosonic's PCDJ, which will allow you to do actual DJ type effects going from one MP3 song to another. You can also try the Nullsoft Cross-Fader Plugin with WinAmp (Plug-ins / Effects) for mixing and special visual effects. Plus, you can create a playlist containing all the MP3 files you have on disk, and there are many other MP3 databases programs that help you keep track of all your MP3 files.

TopMP3 Quality

Does MP3 offer good sound quality? Well, it depends on your equipment, the quality of the recording, and your hearing capability. Good encoding software really makes a difference. Some encoding software produces results that sound awful, whereas other software produces good results. The BladeEnc encoder produces MP3 files that are usually acceptable. The LAME encoder, an open source project, is another good free alternative. Musicmatch Jukebox lets you encode at all bit-rates using a version of the Fraunhofer encoder which you can get at CNET's Windows Shareware Collection.

128 Kbps compression is on the low side, while 192 Kbps done by a good encoder should sound pretty good under most circumstances (but higher kbps produces higher quality). Uncompressed CD audio data requires a transfer rate of 1,411.2 kpbs (16 x 2 x 44,100), so MP3 data encoded for 128 kbps is compressed by a factor of 11.025. Kbps (kilo bits per second) refers to the rate at which the audio data would need to transfer for real time playback. It is also a measure of how much the audio data has been compressed in creating the MP3 files.

TopMP3 Agents - Legal Issues:

Are MP3s legal? Well, like VCRs, and CD-Rs, yes they're legal. It's what you do with them that makes them questionable. There are many sites offering free, legal downloads (MP3.com, RioPort), although there seems to be many sites that are fostering the illegal distribution of copy-written material. The Recording Industry of Association of America (RIAA), the National Music Publishers Association (NMPA), the Business Software Alliance (BSA), and many others are very active on the subject, and they have filed several large-scale lawsuits (current litigation). Plus, the Transcript of the chat held by the musical band Metallica, with ArtistDirect and Yahoo expresses some very serious concern.

But, there is a group of highly respected musicians such as Madonna, B.B. King, Prince, the Eurythmics, Bono (U2), the Dave Matthews Band, Green Day, and Chuck D who are expressing open opinions on the subject. The RIAA and NMPA say "we are not suing a technology, we are suing a company that is stealing work that does not belong to them. They cannot build a multi-billion dollar business on the backs of other people's work." According to a report released from Forrester Research, the music and book publishing industry stands to lose billions in revenue from online file sharing, and there is not much anyone can do about it. Digital Security Systems or lawsuits don't seem to be able to stop Internet theft of content. It only takes one person to break the encryption, and then it is available to everyone in the world.

Napster's controversial free music file-sharing service is among the fastest growing Web sites in history. If it's not Napster, it will be someone else. It seems that music consumers will move to underground Internet services, and it is estimated that record labels will lose $3.1 billion by 2005 because of file sharing (book publishers $1.5 billion). Musicians will gain $1 billion, authors $1.3 billion, and third-party service companies $2.8 billion by 2005, the Forrester Research report said. Plus, it is actually proving to be a good way for small bands to gain a wider audience.

TopConclusion

The combination of high fidelity and small file size has made MP3 the file type of choice for transferring audio over the Internet. Searching for MP3 audio and music files is as easy as typing in the title of a song, name of the artist, or an album name. MP3 allows you to store hundreds, or even thousands of your favorite hits with complete playlists and database management tools. MP3 Agents and file sharing services are changing the face of the entire music and publishing industries, and they are impacting the whole Internet. It is also proving to be a good way for small bands to gain a wider audience. Sites that embrace artistic work will see the profits that traditional publishers lose, and artists will start to move toward self-publishing on their own websites. Everything is changing and it is starting to get exciting. There are large companies, famous artists, the massive public, and big money involved. It will be very interesting to see how everything turns out.

AgentLand Resources:
Home > Search agents > Specialized Search agents > MP3
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