The different types of music sharing programs are peer-to-peer file sharing programs, monthly subscription music sharing programs, and file sharing software that is free to obtain and install but comes with a small price per downloaded song. Some music sharing programs offer free songs to be downloaded legally because these songs are not subject to copyright laws. Some music fans use more than one type of these programs to download their favorite songs while others stick with only one of them. Paid programs for downloading music are generally designed to offer affordable options to a wide range of buyers, and these legal file sharing options are often considered innovations designed to counter illegal downloads of copyrighted material.
Peer-to-peer music sharing programs typically operate without a centralized source of the swapped files, and users are the sole source of media to be uploaded and downloaded. While these software programs are usually free of charge, their quality can vary widely. Some file sharing software can even come with undesirable hidden downloads such as ad ware, spyware, or viruses.
Users who install a free peer-to-peer program sometimes run the risk of their computer security being compromised. Signs of these downloaded components include machine lag time or a large increase in spam email or pop-up advertisements. Along with security problems, peer-to-peer file sharing programs can frequently be sources of music that has been illegally copied and distributed.
Subscription programs are popular types of legal music sharing programs. The music files available from these programs usually have digital coding that restricts their specific use, so each song can normally be transferred to certain music players a limited number of times. Some of these music subscription services allow an unlimited number of downloads while others have maximum numbers per month.
Pay-per-song file sharing software is another favorite option among many Internet music fans. The software program itself is free to download just as with peer-to-peer programs, but the majority of the music files come with their own prices. A small number of songs may sometimes be available for free as a promotional measure to entice members to digitally buy a particular album. The uses of each music file often carry similar copying and transferring restrictions as is the case with monthly subscription music sharing programs.