Though my "CD collection looks shiny and costly" it is not quite as extensive as some I've seen. I consider myself to have a very broad taste for music, and I'm always ready to try something new. I thought I'd share a few things that have helped my love for music grow.
I've tried last.fm, Pandora.com, iTunes, and a few others. I am overwhelmingly pleased with Pandora. Though it doesn't always guess the music that you like and sometimes plays the same songs over and over it's my favorite. As long has you have a station for every style of music you like (you have to have a broad taste for this to work) you will be endlessly supplied with music you like as well as music worth investigating further.
I used to buy CD's until very recently. I signed up with yourmusic.com which ships you a new CD every month for only $7.50, a pretty good deal, if you don't mind purchasing the entire album. I found that there are very few artists for whom I will spend more than $10 on their new album. So I've switched to buying music digitally, and I avoid iTunes and Walmart like the plague. I hate digital rights managment (DRM), it's a nightmare for anyone who like to have their music in more places than just their computer or who don't own an iPod. Amazon.com and lala.com are two places where you can buy DRM-free music, which means there is no security software keeping you from transfering your files to a backup drive and allow you to play it when you restore those files on a new computer.
Buying digitally allows you to only get the songs that you like. Some musicians feel that this is wrong because it depletes their earnings. To me, it says, "make every track on your CD worth buying, or let me buy the only one or two good songs on it separately."
Lala.com is a new website that I really, really like. It allows you to listen to any song once before you buy it! It also give you the option of buying a "web only" version of the song for $.10 or less so you can listen to music you don't feel like paying $.99 for. Lala gives you 50 free web songs when you sign up, and even more if you get others to sign up (so let me know if you're interested :) . It's also a bit of a social networking site and allows you to follow other friends' listening patterns. As I mentioned earlier, the music here is DRM-free and the prices are comparable and sometimes better than amazon.com.
I've had a heckuva time finding piano sheet music online. Musicnotes.com seems to have a really good library, but there should be more sites than that. They are a little over priced than what you could get at a music store, but it does save you the trip of driving and waiting for the order to come in.
Ever since Olga.net disappeared, I've lost the drive to look for new guitar tabs online, any suggestions here?
What technology has fostered your love for music?