Most of the downloads are of complete albums. As such, due to the files being so large, they have to be zipped for downloads. Otherwise the download time for each item would take forever.
One may take the zipped file, unzip it, extract all or selected tracks from the file, and save in a non zipped folder.
Ah, I mistakenly said I downloaded a song. In fact, I downloaded an album that my parents had from before I was born and which has been out of print for decades. I do understand why a zip file has to be used, the thing that bothered me was that everything else on my computer was being put in this zip file, too. I guess I just don't understand how the whole thing works. And then, every time I went to listen to the album, it would display some message saying that I had x amount of days and then would have to pay for use of the zip thingy. Well, that day came and went and nothing happened. Oh, and I chose the free user download and maybe that makes a difference, too but I don't know. Maybe I will try it again.
I think you might have two different things going on here! With sites like rapidshare (that many of the music sharers use for keeping the zip files on) you can have a free account or a premium one. The free one just beens you're only allowed to download so much in a time period (more or less works out to about an album about every 60/90 mins si if fine for most people including me!).
The zip '30 days' things sounds like you were opening the zip file with a program called winzip. This used to be the main programs for opening/extracting zip files and did have a 30 'free' period before you had to pay for it. But since XP (and also vista and on the mac) opening zip files in build it - so no extra program needed.
In XP/Vista/Mac, you should just be able to just double click a zip file and it will open the zip like a normal folder (if winzip still opens, instead right-click on a zip file and open with 'extracted folders' or something like that). You can then drag and drop the contents where you want.
You certainly should have 'everything else on my computer was being put in this zip file' if that happened, the computer wouldn't work!!! I think it was just winzip being silly...
I downloaded some of these yesterday. Will do more today. I haven't listened to everything I've downloaded yet, but what I've heard I have really enjoyed. Thanks for the links. and thanks to those of you with helpful comments to me. So far, it's been easier this time around.