Rhapsody has always been kind of the stepchild of the online music industry; not as hip or niche-oriented as iTunes or eMusic, they've basically served as the best of the subscription online music services, which is an OK model with the major drawback of having to eschew an iPod in favor of one of the WMA/DRM "plays for sure" models. Anyway, in addition to maintaining their subscription service Rhapsody this week has joined the crowd in selling non-DRM'd mp3s, and the reason I bring all this up is that between now and Friday (July 4), they're offering $9.99 worth of free mp3 downloads, which is either 10 tracks or most full albums. The only requirements to qualify for this offer are to create a Rhapsody account and give them your credit card info. There's no further obligation to buy anything.
And this offer gives me the opportunity to segue to a post on the new Paper or Plastic release, Don't Be Like That. It's the perfect segue because Don't Be Like That is an digital-only release and for now at least, PoP is only selling pressed CDs of the album at their shows. For those who don't recall them from their 2006 mini-album Best of Luck to Cody James, PoP is a piano-based power pop band from Portland (love me some alliteration) that comes down somewhere between Ben Folds and Elvis Costello with a little bit of The Argument and Jack's Mannequin thrown in. This one might be their best yet - tracks like "Good Looks & Dedication", "For Christ's Sake" and "Break Your Bond" capture their essence, while "Six Diplomats" even trends a bit into Decemberists territory. Great stuff, and since it only has 9 tracks, you can get them individually and still have one free download left over. (Incidentally, you can listen to full streams of each track on Rhapsody as well by clicking on the play button; you can stream 25 full-length tracks without even setting up an account).
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UPDATE: Although it's not power pop, perhaps the best deal to take advantage of in this Rhapsody promotion is The Doors' Perception, a 90-track boxed set that's amazingly listed at $9.99.