Torrents are still around for sharing all sorts of files. If you are looking for songs which are hard to find but posted by their authors, that's a good place to look for legal MP3s. You can find a great deal of independent artists that way, exposing yourself to new music.
If you purchase your music through iTunes, pay the extra cash for iTunes Match ($25 per year). This music service gives you access to your entire library on the web - not just the songs you've recently purchased. iTunes Match looks at all of your songs and matches them with a cloud version. It's an excellent way to increase your cloud-based music library.
If you are looking for free, legal music downloads, consider using a free music archive. A couple popular ones are Free Music Archive and The Internet Archive. These are nonprofit sites that contain all kinds of free, legal music from many genres. These are great for securely and legally experiencing some new artists or getting some rare tracks from some of your favorites.
Do some comparison shopping between subscription services. Individual legal song downloads gets costly quickly. Nowadays, a lot of of music stores on the web offer you music by subscription that can result in lower prices. When you shop for these, pay attention to the limitations of downloading and the method in which the music files are stored.
Before you buy the music, make sure to preview it. It's important to make sure that the file is what it says it is before buying. This is very true if you buy from a company that isn't well-known. Reviewing the file first also ensures you are buying the song you want.
Once in a while, even the big MP3 stores offer free songs, so keep tabs on what they're up to. You can sign up for email updates or their enewsletter to be updated when they put up such a promotion. In the end, free is free, so it's worth downloading!
If your taste in music changes a lot, consider using a site that producer allows you to stream music, rather than download it. Streaming allows you to listen to a large variety of songs, but the music never resides on your computer. This can save you money and space on your hard drive, so it is sometimes the better option.
When choosing to download music, be wary of giving out your credit card. Only do so if you know right away how much the service is going to charge. Some companies are sneaky and charge you a monthly fee, but end up limiting your downloads. The most reputable companies will charge you per track or album, so your credit card is safe.
If you use iTunes, make sure to sign up for their email alerts. They often send out specials and discounted albums that are available at a lower price for a very limited period of time. If you do not sign up for the email alerts, you might miss out on these savings.
If you want to quickly find songs you might like, check out the lists on Billboard.com. They provide you with a ton of ideas thanks to informing you about which songs are hot right now in each genre. They also have historical lists you can peruse as well for all genres.