I'm trying Napster's and Rhapsody's free trials. They are two of those music subscription services where for $15 a month I can download music to take with me. (They have another service for $10 a month, but you can't load the music to a portable player.) At first I was skeptical. But something happened today and I think I'll hold onto one of them, don't know which one yet, though.
I read a good review about an artist named Van Hunt. Seems he released an album but it hasn't done very well. Could be it's not been advertised?? -- I certainly haven't seen it. Anyway, I went to Napster and took a look. Lo and behold, there it was! I downloaded and actually quite like it, so if I want, I can buy it from the Napster site for 99cents each track. It reminds me a lot of Prince. You should check it out: Van Hunt, On the Jungle Floor (30 second clips from Amazon).
Anyway, it was an interesting experience. Quickly, I was able to check out some new music from an unfamiliar artist. I like that. I didn't have to go to the mall to listen to it, didn't have to search the web for snippets of music, I just picked it from the list. It downloaded to my portable and I listened. Great!
As to fees, I'm not sure about the $15 a month forevermore to access the music I download. HOWEVER, if I went out and bought two CDs, or if I downloaded 20 tracks, I'd pay more than that anyway. I have a lot of purchased music on my Archos, so using this service could be a great addition to my purchased music. Both services' interfaces allow me to mix the purchased music and the downloaded music seamlessly, so I don't even have to know the difference.