FullAudio Music Now review:

FullAudio Music Now

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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Offers a decent selection of songs from major-label recording artists; lets you share downloads on up to three computers.

The Bad Won't let you burn downloads to CD or transfer them to a portable player; can't stream music; downloads play only while membership is active; no Mac version.

The Bottom Line Music Now more than meets your need for radio-friendly fluff, but unless you're always bound to the computer, you'll miss eMusic's CD-burning capabilities.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

6.0 Overall

FullAudio Music Now works just fine, but it doesn't stand out unless your tastes begin and end with commercial radio. Created though partnerships with EMI, BMG, Universal, and Warner Music Group, this service offers a surprisingly small catalog of just 50,000 tracks and doesn't allow users to burn music to disc or enjoy it on a portable music player. Ho hum. Save your money or spend it on RealOne MusicPass instead. FullAudio Music Now works just fine, but it doesn't stand out unless your tastes begin and end with commercial radio. Created though partnerships with EMI, BMG, Universal, and Warner Music Group, this service offers a surprisingly small catalog of just 50,000 tracks and doesn't allow users to burn music to disc or enjoy it on a portable music player. Ho hum. Save your money or spend it on RealOne MusicPass instead.

Sloppy info; simple setup
FullAudio partners with Clear Channel radio, so Music Now is available only through Clear Channel radio Web sites, such as BMG or EMI. Visit FullAudio's site for a list of affiliates. It doesn't matter which you choose, though, since they all offer the same content.

FullAudio offers two recently discounted membership plans. The Platinum plan lets you download 100 tracks per month for $14.99; Gold offers 50 tracks per month for $7.49. With either, you can pay 15 cents per track if you exceed your limit. All users start with a 30-day, 100-track free trial. These prices are slightly lower than those of Pressplay and RealOne MusicPass, but Pressplay and RealOne both offer song streaming, which Music Now doesn't, and they have larger song catalogs, too.

We found the installation to be easy. Once you sign up and pay, FullAudio automatically downloads a client to your PC. You access Music Now through your Web browser, so the software simply manages your files. Unfortunately, there's no Mac version.

Humdrum browsing
Sadly, we found that Music Now offers a mundane browsing experience; it's nothing like the musical exploration that eMusic provides. In fact, surfing Music Now's catalog isn't even as interesting as browsing Amazon's music lists. From the main page, you can choose to browse by category, such as Rock, or by subcategory, such as Pop. You'll find brief bios of most artists, though they're not as complete as the bios on Rhapsody. Around half of the albums we found offered all of their songs for download, while just as many had only one or two songs available. Most music services, such as Pressplay or RealOne MusicPass, rarely offer all of the songs on an album, but Music Now seemed skimpier in its selections.

Three PCs but no devices
This service's main drawback--the same one RealOne MusicPass suffers--is that you can enjoy songs only from your PC. Music Now lets you sync your download list on as many as three computers, but that's it. You can't burn to disc, and you can't transfer songs to a portable player, as you can with BurnItFirst. And you can download songs only in WMA format and play them only on Windows Media Player, which will install during setup if you don't already have it. Worse, you don't even get to keep the songs you've downloaded. After your membership ends, you can't access your songs. That's no fun. With eMusic, you can keep your downloads.

Plain as vanilla
Unfortunately, beyond its basic services, Music Now is simply dull. It lacks any of the special features that jazz up other subscription apps, and it doesn't even provide the community areas, such as message boards, that you find with Pressplay. Hopefully, Music Now will gain some color as it grows and adds new features, but for now, we'd rather leave it than take it.

Take me back to the roundup!

You can preview songs on Music Now for 30 seconds by pressing the orange speaker button next to the song title. To download, press the blue button next to the song title.

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