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Amazon is a great choice of where to buy digital music, because you are then able to play those MP3's on your different devices (desktop, laptop, phone, etc). For this tutorial, I will show you how to buy an MP3 on Amazon.com on your desktop or laptop computer and download it with step by step illustrations. It's similar but not quite the same as placing an order for a physical product with a shopping cart, so even if you're very familiar with that, this is going to look just a little bit different.
In a subsequent article, I will also cover how to download your past purchases again (without having to buy it again) and move your MP3's onto your other devices. For now though, we are looking at how to buy an MP3 tune at Amazon and download it onto the desktop or laptop device you're using.
First, log in to Amazon.com on your laptop or desktop computer. In the search bar, type in the name of the tune you are looking for, and just to the left of that, use the category menu (circled in image below) to select "Digital Music":
Click on the search result that seems best for you. In this case, my one was 3rd on the list they gave. Once you have clicked on your tune, your page will look something like this. FYI - near the bottom left, in most cases you have the option to listen to a short sample of the song to make sure it's the tune you were thinking of. I recommend doing that before pressing the yellow "Buy song" button, just to be safe.
If you've found the tune you wanted, press the yellow "Buy song" button. It will have the price clearly labeled on it. The purchase works the same way as all your other Amazon purchases, with a couple of main differences:
- MP3's do not go into a shopping cart like your physical purchases do. Therefore, if you want to buy 5 songs then it has to be done in 5 transactions. Yes, it's a bit annoying.
- After you buy it, you will have the option to download it. To make life easy, take the download option once it presents itself! If it's too late, it's OK you can still download it again without having to pay money again (I'll show you how in a subsequent article).
So here is what will happen after you press the "Buy song" button:
Don't stress too much about the Amazon app that they're pushing. There are better ways to get your music onto your phone - if you use their app to listen to your tunes, you will wind up chewing through your data plan. I usually just close that dialog box to make sure I'm not getting into anything I don't need. Next, you'll get this window, where you have the option to download:
I know it's more tempting to press "Play now", but really you do want to press "Download purchases" so you can have your music on your computer and not have to log into Amazon every time you want to listen to it. Once you press the download button, you'll get a dialog box come up from your computer asking if you want to save it, so go ahead and confirm that. I recommend saving it into your "Music" folder and not the default "Downloads" folder. Most computers and laptops have a pre-made Music folder, and this is where your computer's built-in music player will tend to look first for tunes. But the main thing is to download it somewhere on your computer.
That's it! How to play your music:
In the example above I bought just one track so it's an MP3 file that I downloaded, but if you bought an album, it'll arrive as a zip file, by which I mean it'll end with .zip. That's fine; the zip file is kind of like a box and the MP3 tracks from your album will be inside it. Go to whatever folder on your computer that you downloaded your music, and double-click on the zip file. If that doesn't unbox it for you, then right-click on it and one of the options will be "unzip", select that and it will unbox it. You should now be able to see all your MP3 tracks here.
If you're not sure how to play your MP3, just double-click on the track; your computer's default music player will know what to do with it.
If you're in search of inspiration, take a look at the digital music category on Amazon.com - you'll be able to click on subcategories you like and explore from there.