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The Internet: The Missing Manual by David Pogue, J.D. Biersdorfer

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Streaming Music Sites

If hard drive space is tight and you'd like to hear even more music without maxing out your computer, streaming new music is another way to get a little ear candy.

If you have a broadband connection, streaming music is a nice alternative to downloading files. You don't have to worry about file compatibility with your portable music player because you're usually just listening at your computer. You can even buy gadgets like the Squeezebox or the Sonos Music System to pipe the streaming music to speakers all around the house.

Streamed music may also make you more adventurous in your listening habits; because it's all free or included in a monthly subscription fee, you don't have to worry about feeling gypped that the album you paid for and downloaded actually sounded nothing like the preview you heard. You can sample all kinds of new things over the songstream without lifting a wallet.

Many companies like RealNetworks that offer streaming service also have downloads for sale, too. (And programs like iTunes let you stream your own downloaded music, but only to authorized computers on your home network.) Each streaming site has its own rules and regulations, so make sure you know what you're getting when you sign up for a service.

Real Rhapsody

The real business of Rhapsody.com (which is owned by RealNetworks, maker of the RealPlayer program used by many Web sites to stream audio and video clips) is selling downloaded music, as described earlier. You can pay ...

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