Apple made a few announcements today, including opening the iTunes Music Store. Finally, someone has come up with a simple, fair, legal, and inexpensive way of distributing music online. Basically, for $0.99 per song, you can download a song, play it on up to three computers, burn it to CD, or sync it onto an iPod. No monthly fees or heavy restrictions on how you can listen. Unfortunately (for me, anyway) this is only available for Macs right now but hopefully this kind of model will catch on elsewhere, too.
I'm testing out listen.com right now on my PC, but the iTunes store has a number of advantages. Listen.com has a monthly fee which includes unlimited songs if you stream them on a computer, otherwise it is $0.99 per song to burn to a CD. There is also a lot missing from the listen.com library; for example there are no albums from Billy Joel or the Beatles. (I don't know how the iTunes store library is in this respect, YMMV) While iTunes works with an iPod, it doesn't look like either service would let me listen with my Creative Labs MuVo MP3 player or my SLIMP3 player without burning to a CD and then ripping the track back to an MP3 file.