Got your attention, eh?
Apple Computer has saved the Internet :-)
I have worried for a few years that Napster and other P2P music sharing systems would cause a backlash against a free and open Internet.
Lawrence Lessig (in, for example, "The Future of Ideas") makes the case for keeping the Internet open (i.e., 'dumb' standards based network with freedom to create new applications like P2P, Grove, etc.). An open Internet is, I believe, somewhat at risk in today's economic and political climate.
Anyway, Apple Computer has a new commercial music distribution system that is built into the new version of iTunes. Using this system is extremely slick: I start by searching on artisit name and music genre; you can listen to the first 30 seconds of any song for free (I wish his were 1 minute, but 30 seconds is not bad). After signing up, you can click-to-buy any song for $0.99, instantly download it, and back it up to CDRs and an iPod if you have one. There is DRM (digital rights management) built in, but Apple has done a very good job at balancing the rights of consumers with the rights of artists and music companies.
I have to see if I can get an MP3 of purchased songs for my non-Apple MP3 player.
I wonder if/when they will support Windows and (hopefully!) Linux?