Wednesday, February 18th, 2009...1:16 am

Awesome Website Bro:

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My moral compass is going all haywire as if I was Locke on The Island (nerdy LOST reference) but this site is way too good not to tell you about it. is a Russian operated website that allows you to download high quality music from just about every major recording artist and label in the world. It works similar to iTunes. All the music that you download is DRM free and is compatible with your iPod. The kicker is that each song is 15-20 cents and a complete album is around $2. On average, this is 5x less than digital music from any legitimate source. Registration is easy and once you deposit $20 into your account (through credit card) you’re ready to go.

You may, or may not, remember It was one of the predecessors to mp3Panda but was shut down in 2007 after massive lawsuits by the record industry. In 2006, it is estimated that the site generated $30 million in revenue and it transferred absolutely nothing back to labels or license holders. These Russian sites claim a technicality in some Russian licensing agreement that allows them to distribute the music in Russia without having to pay rights fees to the labels. They make no claim as to its legality outside of Russia however the site is accessible to visitors in all countries. My guess is that MP3Panda lasts about a year until the legal issues catch up to it. What usually happens first is that the credit card companies cut off their transaction service (through the prodding of US interests). But once that happens, it’s likely that another similiar Russian service will pop up. I have no idea if a consumer is in any way liable for purchasing music through this site. I would put nothing past the RIAA so download at your own risk (my experiences with Russian download sites have only been postive).

It’s amazing how an adjustment in price affects my affinity for new music. In 2008, I added one single new album to my iPOD. I forked over $10 bucks through iTunes for the Tha Carter III album by Lil Wayne. Since discovering mp3Panda (thanks to BorrowVomit-Man Rosen) I’ve downloaded 7 albums including two Lil Wayne mix tapes, Matt Costa, Lily Allen, a Biggie collection and Kings of Leon.

So why do I feel bad? Well, I work side by side with a Bollywood company that has paid millions of dollars to acquire rights for a huge catalog of Indian music. Illegal and boot-legged music is a huge obstacle that severely hinders the growth of their business. In the last ten years the music industry has been decimated by file sharing. I often hear stories about how cool it was to work in music in the pre-Napster world and it almost seems unreal how quickly the music biz went down the shitter.

Technology can be disruptive. It was, and still is, for the music business. I learned in college that it was and will always be pretty easy to get really good music for free. A while back I wrote about the future of digital content and one of my conclusions was that I would pay for convenience and that’s why I would buy an album on iTunes instead of through file-sharing. But with sites like mp3panda even that advantage is negated.

In the end, I decided to share this website. I hate helping the Ruskies make illegal chedder and do feel bad for the artists, labels and license holders who are getting scammed. But it would be a bigger injustice if I just pretended like this site didn’t exist. It does and it’s pretty damn good. Enjoy!

  • <fb:name linked="false" useyou="false" uid="2230164">Brian Litvack</fb:name>

    Testing comment with facebook

  • Chris Tiearney

    Is this site really illegal? They do specify on their Legal Info page that they do pay License Fees according to International Copyright Laws.