Free Music Downloads
Free music downloads date from June, 1999 when a start-up company called Napster began facilitating peer-to-peer transfer of MP3 formatted music. For ease of use, however, Napster maintained file sharing information on their servers, although not the music files themselves. This led to the charge that they were, in effect, facilitating copyright violation, and subsequent adverse legal decisions effectively shut the service down.
The popularity of file sharing, however, soon resulted in the development of other free peer-to-peer content services, most of which sought to avoid legal entanglement by not maintaining either the content or any record of its transfer. Additionally, some services proposed free downloads bundled with advertizing, from which revenue was to be derived to pay royalties to copyright holders. Increase in file transfer speed has also enhanced the ease of downloading feature films. However, the recording industry as a whole did not want to move in this direction, and while innovative people were still obtaining free content, a vacuum was created. There was a strong demand for easily downloaded, inexpensive music.
This Apple portable media player came out in October of 2001 and its popularity has grown enormously. Songs can be downloaded to the iPod device using iTunes software. The songs are priced at 99 cents each. More than 100 million iPods have been sold. The devices are feature rich, but they certainly are not free. There is a lot of choice, however.
Reference http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2004/aug/10itms.html for more information.