CNET Top 5: Worst downloads of 2008 (so far)

2008 is nearly halfway over, which means that poor CNET senior content manager Peter Butler has reached deeply into the trash heap to pluck out, shake off, and crown with glory the most useless downloads published this year. He's handed the best of the worst over to CNET Executive Editor Tom Merritt for show and tell. Hey, even truly horrendous software deserves its moment of shame fame.

My Brightest Diamond, 'Inside A Boy': Free MP3 of the Day

Imagine Antony's kid sister on a Portishead kick and you'll be fairly introduced to the lulling tones of Shara Worden. In her MBD persona, Worden headlines a snatchy attic orchestra--part dream-pop troupe, part postmodern drum circle--with a whorl of quivering vocals.

Plantlife, 'Lovetoy': Free MP3 of the Day

If you were to create a bionic band that compresses together the dazzling rhythms of B.T. Express, the sexy vocals of Prince, and the electro-funk sensibility of Afrika Bambaataa, you'd wind up with something similar to Plantlife. It's hard to pigeonhole the L.A. band's style, but like predecessors James Brown and Sly Stone, Plant Life has a knack for capturing the true essence of heartfelt soul music.

Frightened Rabbit, 'The Modern Leper': Free MP3 of the Day

The Scottish group's improvement on second LP "The Midnight Organ Flight" is simple: They do a better job of being themselves. The shrill indie-punk moments now are closer to drama than melodrama, and the group's mixing of dense rock texture with acoustic folk becomes truly deft.

Quiet Village, 'Circus Of Horror': Free MP3 of the Day

How come disco never sounded this good when we were stuck in the middle of it? These NYC folks are helpfully selective with their '70s history, giving the old sleazy beats new cool by pointing up their soundtrack heritage. Beneath sharp blues licks, scented with city energy, these rhythms stick.

Vetiver, 'Blue Driver': Free MP3 of the Day

The San Francisco freak folkers, regular riding buddies of Devendra Banhart, silence concerns about the genre--deemed precious by some--on new LP "Thing of the Past." The set of obscure late-hippie folk covers is utterly convincing: a dignified and noble bow from youths to elders.

Apple losing money in new movie deal

Apple drew a lot of attention when it announced that it will offer movie downloads the same day they come out on DVD, but the deal won't mean a windfall for Apple--at least initially.

The reason for that is Apple will lose money on every sale, a source said.

Apple announced on Thursday that it had reached an agreement with a group of film studios, including the six largest. Apple said that starting this week, iTunes customers will be able to purchase newly released movies for $14.99, while most catalog titles are $9.99.

The Wall Street Journal reportedRead more

Nina B, 'Madonna & JT '4 Minutes' (remix)': Free MP3 of the Day

Madonna claims she's only got four minutes to save the world, but Nina B manages to squeeze out an extra 40 seconds or so. How like the remix heroine. The latest from Nina proves she has mastered the lyrical overlay, in which fierce flows get catapulted from unlikely host tracks.

Dear ladies, I made this playlist for you

With spring in the air and Mother's Day just around the corner, we're getting in touch with our sensitive side here at Download Music. This week we're gonna slow it down a bit and send this one out to all the ladies. In the tradition of the Beastie Boys' 1989 song "To All The Girls," modern-day crooners (Justin Timberlake and Flight of the Conchords) are keeping the dedication-style love song alive, while iconic ladies men named "Kenny" (Kenny Rogers and Kenny G) remain tender-hearted. Listen to our free Dear Ladies playlist by clicking … Read more

Morning State, 'Oh Yeah': Free MP3 of the Day

Russ Ledford and comrades have found a high-energy middle-ground between steamy, blues-fired Southern rock and more angular indie strains, with arcing vocals to top it off. A Georgia double-bill of the Whigs and Morning State would amount to a rock aficionado's dream show.