The Internet Jukebox
Does Rhapsody have the answer to the downloading wars?
But hard as it may be to believe, streaming is the best online-music option for the desk-bound. I've long been a slightly guilty user of KaZaA, but so many of the files there now are "decoys"—files of junk noise masquerading as real songs, sneakily seeded into the network by music labels—that finding a pristine version of a song has become a serious chore. I'd rather pay a reasonable fee for instant gratification.
Besides, put on your Jules Verne cap. Think about what it'll be like when wireless companies finally roll out broadband networks nationwide and streaming is possible out in the streets. Imagine subscribing to something like Rhapsody on a mobile device that lets you access any song, anywhere, instantly. What will you think of your iPod and its 1,000 songs then?
Clive Thompson is a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and
a columnist for Wired.
Illustration by Mark Alan Stamaty.