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Digital music services: Pick a sound plan

You can get your music almost any way you like it. But what digital service suits you best? We compared a sampling of the options:

Service: Napster
Plans: All plans include streaming access of Napster's database. One-month pass (five MP3s/$7 a month); three-month pass (15 MP3s/$15 billed every three months); annual pass (60 MP3s/$60 billed once a year); Napster to Go ($14.95/month) allows downloaded tracks to be transferred to compatible MP3 devices (does not include iPod/iPhone/Zune) for as long as you keep the service
Songs: 10 million +
Pros: 60 radio stations; unlimited streaming; works with any Internet-connected computer/television/cell phone
Cons: MP3 credits don't roll over to the next month; Napster to Go doesn't work with popular MP3 players; service lacks cell phone apps (for now)
Bottom line: A balanced mix of streaming and downloads

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Service: Rhapsody
Plans: Both plans include streaming access. Premier (mobile app and MP3 player access for one device/$9.99 a month); Premier Plus (mobile app and MP3 player access for three devices/$14.99 a month)
Songs: 10 million +
Pros: App for iPhone/iPod/Android allows unlimited downloading for as long as you're a member; service offers sneak previews of albums before they're released
Cons: No MP3 credits; songs disappear once your subscription ends
Bottom line: For music fans more interested in streaming than downloading

Service: eMusic
Plans: Basic (30 songs/$11.99); Plus (50 songs/$14.99); Premium (75 songs/$19.99)
Songs: 7 million +
Pros: MP3s work on any player; offers audiobooks; knowledgeable staff helps you discover new music
Cons: Lacks major releases because of licensing issues; some albums aren't available the day they're released
Bottom line: For music junkies always searching for their next great "find"

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Service: Pandora One
Plans: $36/year
Songs: 750,000 +
Pros: High-quality (192Kbps) songs play ad-free; no daily "skip" limit (but the normal hourly skip limit — six — applies); Pandora mobile apps for iPhone/iPad/Android/BlackBerry/Palm; "QuickMix" offers station  customizing, which allows multiple genres
Cons: No MP3 credits; works just like Pandora — aka no choosing of songs; can't be used outside the U.S.; can't stream on multiple devices at the same time; mobile apps/in-home devices do not support high-quality streams
Bottom line: For Pandora lovers easily annoyed by advertisements

Service: Pandora One
Plans: $36/year
Songs: 750,000 +
Pros: High-quality (192Kbps) songs play ad-free; no daily "skip" limit (but the normal hourly skip limit — six — applies); Pandora mobile apps for iPhone/iPad/Android/BlackBerry/Palm; "QuickMix" offers station  customizing, which allows multiple genres
Cons: No MP3 credits; works just like Pandora — aka no choosing of songs; can't be used outside the U.S.; can't stream on multiple devices at the same time; mobile apps/in-home devices do not support high-quality streams
Bottom line: For Pandora lovers easily annoyed by advertisements

Service: Rdio
Plans: Web use only — $4.99/month;Web and mobile use — $9.99/month
Songs: 7 million +
Pros: Promotes online community to find new music ("follow" listeners with similar tastes/find users from Twitter and Facebook); mobile apps for Android. BlackBerry and iPhone; Web/mobile subscription covers multiple devices; syncs your existing music collection to its apps so you always have all of your music
Cons: No MP3 credits; brand new (still could be working out kinks); currently leans heavily on major-label music, so it may not recognize all of your songs; clunky interface; doesn't work with iPad (yet)
Bottom line: A promising subscription service with emphasis on social networking

Service: MOG All Access
Plans: Basic (Web use only for $4.99/month); Primo (Web/mobile use for $9.99/month)
Songs: 8 million +
Pros: Apps for iPhone and Android; no software download; high-quality songs stream ad-free; emphasis on artist information (including lyrics to more than 3 million songs, discographies, news, reviews and more)
Cons: No MP3 credits; lacks BlackBerry app; lacks customization (a la Pandora's QuickMix) so you're stuck hearing similar artists for a single session
Bottom line: A monthly alternative to Pandora with a lot more songs

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