Free Music From the Rhapsody MP3 Store

Hang on a sec, before you pack up to hit Cousin Bob's legendary barbecue for the 4th of July, let me mention that if you're among the first 100,000 people to sign up for an account at the new Rhapsody MP3 Store, Rhapsody will give you a US$10 credit.

Yeah, it requires a valid email address and a credit card (just like an Apple ID) but no purchase is necessary. And the credit must be used by midnight, Pacific Time, July 4, 2008. If you're an existing Rhapsody subscriber, you can get the credit too. Limit one per household.

In case you hadn't heard, the Rhapsody MP3 Store--much like Amazon MP3--is selling DRM-free 256kbps MP3 music files. Average track- and album price, like the iTunes Store, is 99 cents and $9.99, respectively. For Mac users the downloading experience isn't as seamless as iTunes or Amazon MP3--your tracks are bundled into a .zip archive which you then uncompress and move into iTunes--but it's hardly onerous to add these tracks to iTunes. Of course once in iTunes they can be copied to your iPod or iPhone.

One advantage offered by Rhapsody that's not found at iTunes or Amazon MP3, you can preview up to 25 tracks per month, from beginning to end, at no charge. Rhapsody subscribers, of course, can preview as many songs as they like.

If iTunes or Amazon MP3 don't have the tracks you want--or in the unprotected form you want--the Rhapsody MP3 Store's worth a look. And for a short time, that look could earn you a free album.

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