Tim Bray's said good things about the iTunes Music Store often enough, but it was last week before I finally gave in. I'd already used it a few times to listen to samples: it's much better than amazon, which seems to just have computer-generated samples of the first n seconds. The iTMS actually has chunks you'll recognize rather than intro. But I'd always ignored the nagging "please log in to download music" dialogs.
American radio forced me into it. They have this habit of playing the same thing at the same time every day. So on the way to tae kwon do, unless I was on the bus, I was getting to hear a lot of Semisonic's "Closing Time". I'd never heard of either band or song before, but I can see why it was so popular, even if it does mean they get called a one-hit wonder. And I'm sure it helped that their chorus seemed so apt on that journey.
Anyway, class time changed, and Semisonic's been replaced by Kelly Clarkson.
iTMS to the rescue.
It's pretty much as good as searching your own iTunes library, but it sucks that you have to hit return and get no feedback until then about how well your search is doing. If Google can do it (and not make $0.99 off it), surely Apple can? Mind you, I hated Google's implementation and never use it myself. But you know what I mean.
What's frustrating, though, is that this isn't a universal library of all music ever published. High on my list of stuff to get was stuff by Ayumi Hamasaki. I've heard a couple of trance tracks based on her songs, and I'm interested both in having copies of those and in hearing the original. (Assuming those aren't the originals.) But iTMS has never heard of her.
But it's still pretty cool. I like anything that involves instant gratification.