Another advantage of mp3fiesta is that it offers music at much better bit rates (162 kbps and higher) than iTunes (128 kbps) and the rest (Napster, Amazon, and Wal-Mart). Bit rates for newer albums can be as high as 320 kbps, so I never feel the need to buy the CD anyway for better quality (something I often feel with 128 kbps). Also, downloading can be a good alternative to ripping your CD collection, since it's faster and less hassle (after re-purchasing your albums let them download at night) and way cheaper than using a ripping service. The catalogue is respectable, so you'll find much of mainstream music and less of the obscure. The process is simple: sign-up, pre-pay, and download. The pre-pay feature is common among sites of this type and helps them keep their price down, for some it's a pain, but I prefer it to a number of $0.99 charges on my credit card statement. The site is no where near as elaborate as iTunes, so it is a bit awkward to listen to a sample and download the tracks. Unlike, iTunes, which puts them directly into a playlist in no time, each song must be downloaded separately and then added to the iTunes or other player's catalogue.
Bulk downloading can be accomplished by using Firefox (simply the best browser) and the add-on DownThemAll!! (you click on the "Add to Firefox" link to install it). Then DownThemAll!! has to have a filter added to it to identify .mp3 files. Open the program, in Firefox under Tools, and click Preferences then Filters and Add New Filter. In the caption box type ".mp3" or something like it and in the extensions box type or paste (no quotes), "/\/[^\/\?]+\.mp3$/". Now you're ready to go to .mp3fiesta's download page (or that of any other music site). Open DownThemAll!! and click Start. The downloads will begin immediately. The program downloads files very fast by downloading a number of packets simultaneously and then reassembling them. DownloadHelper is another good program that can be added to Firefox in the same way and requires little modification. Although this program identifies media files quickly and downloads them, it opens the download window after each download or batch download, which interrupts your web-surfing. Nevertheless, you can disable the Downloads window in Tools/Options/Main or minimize it. I have installed both to ensure seamless downloads and both work well for video downloading as well.
Then you can put the downloaded songs into files by artist and album, if you like, before adding the files/folders to iTunes. If you're not using iTunes you have to do this most of the time anyway. The best thing about the site is that albums are so cheap that you won't feel bad if you don't like it. Lastly, ensure you backup your purchases because you can only download them for 48 hours (to keep traffic down on their servers). Have fun!
Calabash Music, which I've already mentioned in Music, is a great source for world music, including North American folk music. The best thing about this site is that they offer ten free songs a week! They have a good catalogue and a strong mandate for supporting the artist through promotion and granting a fair-share to the artist. There is also a lot of good information on the site about world music, since it is also the operator of the National Geographic world music site. The service works like mp3fiesta (pre-pay and download page), but is more expensive, $0.99 a track. The one disadvantage is that DownThemAll, which works flawlessly elsewhere does not work so well here. DownloadHelper also misses tracks but has more success, damn pop-up window. Expand your musical horizons by using Calabash.