The newest thing in music-listening technology, as Miles Raymer writes, is the cloud, not to be confused with SkyNet:
The metaphor may be blurry, but the idea’s simple: imagine yourself surrounded by an invisible nebula of data waiting to be accessed anywhere there’s an Internet connection, untethering you from the necessity of accessing your digital stuff via a specific device.
Here in Chicago, there’s some nice stuff in our local proto-cloud. I stumbled on a nice resource recently from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra: the CSO media player, which plays hours of performances, interviews, and ephemera. I’ve got about eight hours of free music in my playlist right now, which is thoughtfully cut with introductions and discussion. It’s great.
If that’s not enough, the Chicago Public Library has a fair amount of music available through its Overdrive service (which will soon be Kindle-compatible), though it appears to be all Windows Media format, making it incompatible with Macs. The majority of it is classical, but there are some good rock albums available, mostly from Radiohead and David Bowie.
And the legendary local label Thrill Jockey has long made its albums available for streaming; go to an artist’s page, select an album, and click on one of the songs in the tracklist.