asked to explore a site from among this years Web 2.0 Award winners at SEOmoz.org, not being in a mood for surprises (let's save those for Santa) I looked under MUSIC and chose their #1 site: last.fm It's a great site, only...
Don't try this at work.
At least in the afternoon because it requires bandwidth which the City connection and/or the crappy PCs (and my resulting blood pressure) can't handle. I couldn't find anyway to pause the streaming until the entire file loads, so if you don't have enough bandwidth you'll get a thousand, give or take, stops and starts as a recording progresses.
Started as a legal music-sharing substitute for Napster, last.fm is a site where musicians or record labels can share their music--excertps, full tracks, even complete albums. You don't have to set up a free account to listen, but if you start an account you can set up a personal library of recordings. Much music is free to listen to, and you can set up an account to buy mp3 downloads. (Perfect for when we get our players for participating in JPL 2.0)
I set up an artist account and uploaded two albums of original compositions I recently compiled:
Please listen to some of my tracks some time, and invite a friend ...
They apparently made some big improvements to the site lately, so typically a lot of the stuff that used to work doesn't work now. Progress. For instance, for newly added accounts (like mine) the tags don't currently get indexed. But they know about the problems and they will be fixed (sooner I hope than later, since it isn't Cheers and everybody doesn't know my name so no one will ever find my stuff...unless you go and tell your friends...), and the old (pre-improvement) entries still work.
I only looked at classical stuff, but for many composers you can listen to entire albums for free, or at least hear representative works. It's pretty incredible.