October 2, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 20  

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Music 2 legit 2 quit

Don't be discouraged by the Recording Industry Association of America. For those of us with morals (me not included), here are some legal online destinations filled with music to stream and/or download:

New Music Canada (www.newmusiccanada.ca)

Leave it to the CBC to compile the best database of independent Canadian musicians. Tons and tons of streaming audio available here.

Umbrella Music (www.umbrellamusic.ca)

A great balance between American and Canadian artists is offered at this online 'zine which hosts both mp3s and streaming windows audio.

AOL Music (www.aolmusic.com)

Despite an annoying voice proclaiming "AOL first listen!" intermittently throughout an AOL exclusive premiere song - an attempt to deter file-traders - the Aolmusic.com site is still a great way to hear new singles before they hit the radio.

MTV: The Leak (www.mtv.com)

Hear full albums before they are released! Every week, a new album is featured in the music section of the MTV site, allowing visitors to stream the entire record in medium-quality sound.

Fanscape (www.fanscape.com)

Fanscape is a marketing entity aiming to bring fans and artists together, but ignore all that online street team crap and just listen to audio of select artists' latest singles.

RollingStone.com Downloads (www.rollingstone.com/dds/default.asp)

The downloads section of RS' site includes both downloadable mp3s and streaming formats. A wide range of genres is covered.

Epitonic (www.epitonic.com)

A great selection of both mp3s and streaming audio covering mostly artists on independent labels. Space is also dedicated to ambient and experimental works, making it a great source for more obscure tracks.

Band Web sites & Record label Web sites

These days, most bands and their labels realize there is a demand to hear songs online - and those that don't should think long and hard. Just do a search to find the official site of the band and label and look for an audio/listen/hear/media section. The best sites will include previews of new songs before they hit the airwaves and independent artists and labels - like Matador (www.matadorrecords.com), Epitaph (www.epitaph.com) and Vagrant (www.vagrant.com) - are often willing to post good-quality mp3s of some of their tracks.

Subscription-based programs

If you don't want to be restricted to a small selection of sometimes so-so quality songs that often can't be saved onto your computer, you still can pay for your downloads by signing on to one of several subscription digital music sites. Apple's iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes) has been a popular choice recently, but there's also Pressplay (www.pressplay.com), Musicnet (www.musicnet.com) and RealNetworks' Rhapsody (www.listen.com).

-Brian Wong




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