A few days ago someone told me about spotify, a Swedish outfit which provides streaming music in much the same way as internet radio. Apparently they've been in existence for a while, but up till now you've had to be invited by someone sending you a `token,' so it's been a word-of-mouth thing. However, spotify recently opened its doors to British users. You register for free, download the spotify player, then just search for artists, tracks or albums and you can drag and drop tracks to create playlists.
And it's not bad. Some bands and labels have refused to licence their material to spotify - The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Oasis are among them - but I've managed to find stuff as diverse as Vaughan Williams's Job (a terrible version conducted, it pains me to say, by the twinkly Andrew Davies) `White Punks On Dope,' Kevin Ayers, Anna Maria Jopek, and Milla Jovovich's The Divine Comedy. And yes, Thog, it's every bit as good as you said it was, and then some. You get audio ads every now and again at the end of a track, but they're not intrusive and I listened to it all last night and only heard one ad.
Anyway, I dug around a bit (and forgive me if I'm preaching to the converted, this is new territory to me) and found Last.fm and we7. I haven't actually registered with either of these sites, just dicked around a bit. You can find the bands who haven't given spotify licences on both these sites, and of course (I presume; I don't know any differently) you can listen to them worldwide. we7 had the proper version of Job and tons of other Vaughan Williams.
I really like this. There's stuff on these sites I haven't heard for a very long time (Kevin Ayers) and stuff that I would have had to buy from Amazon or a store (the album version of `White Punks On Dope,' the Jovovich album) and they're letting you hear it for free.
The drawback is that you don't actually have the tracks, but the point is that you don't have to - they're there any time you want them. I suspect I've only scratched the surface of this, and I suspect I'm going to have some fun investigating further.