Amazon finally launched our Digital Music Store, and get this: the music is plain old MP3s. No DRM, no nonsense. I've already switched to using it as my primary source of music, going there first before iTunes. So far, I've been impressed with its selection. It has a bunch of independent artists as well as some of the more popular musicians I look for. In particular it seems to have a very good folk selection and I've already been able to discover several pieces I probably wouldn't've found otherwise (iTunes discoverability is abysmal, IMO, and its just the sort of thing we're (Amazon) is good at).
I'm super excited about possibly no longer having Apple's vendor lock in. For a long time I've had some ideas about a sort of programmable playlist program that could really let you tweak what songs get played. For instance... Most of the time I have about 2-4 songs that I want played a lot. These are songs I've generally just added to my collection, that I'm trying to memorize and enjoy. But, I really don't want to listen to just those 2-4 songs. What I'd really like is for half of the time to pick a song from that small set and the other half, choose from my regular playlist (of about 3k songs). Whats more is that I want to be able to do this for a play list or for a set of songs. Even more, maybe what I want is for from that 1/2 time playlist, 1/2 the time for songs to come from one set of songs, and the other half from another. And so on. You should also be able to apply specific percentages as well as timing "17% or every 5th time should both be valid. Also, I want to have the ability to easily "link songs" together. For instance, if you play one of these tracks you then must go on to the next song. These linked songs should be able to say whether or not you can play the second song without the first one as well. All of these rules should apply to playlists (which can contain other playlists) as well as individual songs. There are a couple of other ideas involving track splitting and track management, as well as volume management (tweak a song to be higher or lower volume all the time), but I think you get the gist. I've been wanting to do this for a while, but ever since I've been locked into iTunes, such a thing has been essentially beyond my control (yes, you can probably do it through AppleScript or some such, but the documentation for application interface with iTunes doesn't seem that good).
Anyway, now that there seems to be a good alternative, I may be embarking on this project in my spare time. Especially if I can convince someone else (like Keith) to help me out on the project.
So check out the new store, I think its pretty kickass. There is both a Windows and Mac downloader program (though you don't need it to download individual tracks), and a Linux version is said to be coming soon.