101 Fantastic Freebies
The latest version of the venerable free music player can sync with iPods and fixes a serious security bug in earlier versions of the software. Its new companion download, Winamp Remote, allows you to listen to non-DRM-protected music on your PC from anywhere through a Web browser.
This capable open-source download can edit and record .mp3, .wav, and other digital audio files. You can use the program to convert file types, record podcasts, and mix special effects into your favorite songs, as well.
iTunes Library Updater
If moving or deleting songs has thrown your iTunes library into disarray, grab this handy tool. It can easily clean up duplicates and orphaned entries, as well as add new music from specified directories that iTunes doesn't yet know about.
Find almost any type of royalty-free sound sample at this well-designed site, whether you're looking for trumpeting elephants, synthesized drum loops, or the perfect "boing" sound effect.
With a plug-in for Windows Media Player or iTunes, iLike installs a sidebar displaying artist news (recent albums, local concerts, and so on) based on music already residing in your library. It also recommends new music that you might like, offering song samples. You can share playlists and preferences with other iTunes-using friends, too.
Start with your pick of Internet radio stations in Slacker's in-browser player--from 90s Alternative to Outlaw Country to Big Band/Swing--or type in the name of a band to get a station covering that sort of music. Afterward, you can customize the station with your choice of artists, and fine-tune options such as song popularity and age. You can also download a stand-alone software player.
If you take the time to upload all or part of your MP3 collection to Lala.com, you can then play those songs anywhere through a Web browser. Though you can't download the songs to another PC, you can use a downloadable applet to sync your Lala music (both uploads and music purchased from Lala) to your iPod.
When you need to edit short audio programs, sound effects, or loops, give the free Wavosaur audio editor a try. It has all the basic audio editing functions (cut, copy, paste, crop, fade in, fade out, and so on), and some audio analysis features, as well. You can use it to record sound and do batch-processing on a folder full of files.