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Aimee Mann, 'Thirty One Today': Free MP3 of the Day

Since emerging in the '80s as the voice of 'Til Tuesday, and following that with a series of thoughtful, introspective solo albums, Aimee Mann has maintained her high status as a thoroughly engaging and accomplished singer-songwriter. Her songs carry the weight of complex emotions, yet they never get bogged down in too much sentimentality.

Anna Ternheim, 'To Be Gone': Free MP3 of the Day

Stockholm is keeping us stocked up on stellar indie pop, from Peter Moren to Victoria Bergsman to Jens Lekman (OK, he's out of Gothenburg). Ternheim is the latest smashing Swede. "Halfway to Fivepoints" is a haunting set run on reedy instrumentals and slinky vocals.

Radiohead, 'Nude (Holy F**k Remix)': Free MP3 of the Day

Radiohead's new material fits nicely in the post-"Amnesiac" era, where electronics are key but not the focus. They've pushed the envelop even further by launching their "create you own Nude remix" website. Holy F**k's version is the most popular one so far.

Desert tunes: Death Cab For Cutie, Portishead, Jack Johnson

This week, tens of thousands of alt-music junkies are fleeing to the desert to take part in the hottest event around: the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. And when we say "hottest" we mean both temperature hot and, yes, sexy hot, as well. We're impressed with the headliners, such as Portishead , Death Cab For Cutie, Jack Johnson, but we're even more down with the bands in the small print, too, such as Little Brother, Jens Lekman, and Modeselektor.

We're not actually going to Coachella (bummer), but we will be celebrating virtually via the playlist … Read more

Emmanual Jal, 'Warchild': Free MP3 of the Day

Jal's stunning debut, "Warchild," describes a horrific youth spent in forced military service in Sudan--difficult subject matter, to say the least, that Jal and producer Neal Pogue have admirably converted to engaging rap. This is hip-hop at its most elemental: tough stories made visceral.

Killer Download: Top MP3 apps not named iTunes or WMP

When it comes to software media players, computer users understandably follow what I'll call the "path of least resistance" rule of life: they use what's available on their computer out of the box. If you're a Windows user, that means Windows Media Player. Mac users have iTunes. Once Windows users take the step of adding their iPod (if that's their chosen player) into the fray, they will likely download iTunes to make it easy. But what if you don't like iTunes or Windows Media Player?

Before companies tied their portable players to their … Read more

M83, 'We Own the Sky (Maps remix)': Free MP3 of the Day

"Saturdays = Youth" is Anthony Gonzalez's vision of adolescent optimism, and the sonic shift for M83 might be described as frowns getting turned upside down. Synths that were once muddy have become translucent; formerly tetchy beats are now bubbly and hopeful. It's giddiness we're glad to buy into.

MP3 Insider 94: Top 5 online music services

Jasmine invites Peter Gavin from Download.com music to discuss their favorite online music stores. Plus, two listeners call in about iPod trading and MP3 players that use swappable batteries. Listen now: Download today's podcast EPISODE 94

Topic: Our top 5 online music stores (in no particular order)Amazon MP3: http://www.amazon.com/MP3-Music-Download/b/ref=sa_menu_dmusic2?ie=UTF8&node=163856011&pf_rd_p=328655101&pf_rd_s=left-nav-1&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=507846&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=042ED91AXJKXBZP8TDB3 eMusic: http://www.emusic.com/ Music.download: http://music.download.com/ Daytrotter: http://www.daytrotter.com/ Rhapsody: http://www.rhapsody.com/home.htmlRead more

Barry Adamson, 'Spend a Little Time': Free MP3 of the Day

Being a Bad Seed has rarely been so good. Like some nasty Leonard Cohen alter ego, the veteran bard plays blues-folk as something dark and gruff on "Back to the Cat." The trade of melancholy for something more bitter and less ambiguous is, after all, what rock is all about.

How we acquire music

A recent NPD survey cited by the New York Times' Bits blog confirms what I've suspected for a long time: the record industry's campaign against file-sharing sites is not only ineffective, but misguided. According to the survey, 19 percent of the music in consumers' collections comes from file-sharing networks. That's up 5 percent from last year--in other words, lawsuits and education campaigns have so far been ineffective.

But 38 percent of music listeners' collections come from CDs that they borrowed, then ripped to their hard drive or burned to a CD-R. (I'm not sure why NPD … Read more