I'm not exactly unbiased, having worked for an online music company and digital rights management in the past, but my online music subscription has paid for itself this week. It's been fun to hear or read about a music group at the Dem convention and be able to pop over to my Rhapsody account and listen to some music while reading a bit about the group.
After reading a Salon War Room article today, I just listened to Black Eyed Peas AND The Eisley Brothers. Added Black Eyed Peas to my playlist. Yesterday it was Wyclef Jean. Before that it was a guy named Bob Schneider--oh wait, he didn't have anything to do with the convention, I just had to find out whether he sounds as good as he looks (he does).
I use Rhapsody because it's convenient and the interface doesn't totally suck. Their emphasis on streams instead of downloads (you can also burn content, too) works for me because I'm mostly interested in listening to a wide range of music at work. But others, such as AOL MusicNet and iTunes seem to serve the same purposes.
My point is the promise of online music--that it can inspire greater music appreciation and consumption--has certainly been fulfilled in my case. Once again, visionary progressives triumph over conservatives thinkers, who were too nervous about protecting the status quo to see the opportunities!!