As a software developer and supervisor, I spend a lot of time in front of a keyboard during the day. Between programming and email, I like to have a variety of music to keep the right side of my brain occupied. While I have a largish collection of CD's and have them ripped to my hard drive, I've also listened to them for 200 days a year for 9 years.
A year ago we signed up for SBC Yahoo! DSL and have been mostly pleased with the service. While there have been a couple of outages, the tech support has been very polite (albeit a scripted politeness) which is as much as I can ask. With the DSL subscription we also have access to LAUNCHcast Radio by Yahoo (formerly Launch.com). This music service provides a customized list of music which plays songs based on artists, albums, songs, and genres that you've indicated that you enjoy. Sometimes it will pick songs based on what other listeners like that have similar tastes and I've learned about some new artists this way that I quite enjoy. (There's a free version which didn't have the sound quality I expected, but the high-quality station was quite good.)
Unfortunately, this live music service is prohibited at work because it is constantly downloading music from the server which reduces the network availability for the other people in the building. This has been a real bummer as I love to listen to a variety of music. For some on-line music variety, check out the Dunce's post for music he likes and sources to find it.
As a remedy, I've subscribed to a rather new service from Yahoo called Y! Unlimited (or Yahoo Music Engine). With this service, I have access to Yahoo's entire music library and can download the songs to my computer (or to a portable audio (MP3) player). I download the songs at home (to conserve the corporate bandwidth) and listen to the files at work. To make such a deal profitable, Yahoo charges me $60/year (about the cost of 4 cd's) and uses a digital trick which makes the music stop working if my subscription expires.
My subscription just began and today was my first day listening to music at work. I listened to an aid album for Katrina victims, a new Coldplay release, Best of Earth, Wind, & Fire, and a couple of others. The music was high-quality and the tunes all fresh (at least to me!).
Watch this space for my updated thoughts on this topic, but so far, the Yahoo Music Engine is meeting my expectations. Add the fact that I can have the software on three different computers (a refreshingly generous approach), and I think I'll enjoy this approach to keeping music fresh at work.