Both MusicMatch and iTunes have their own encoded music files, meaning if I download a song from iTunes, it won't play on MusicMatch and visca versa. Both are pretty decent and you pay by the song (usually a dollar a song).
For awhile now I've been meaning to listen to some new(ish) bands, I buy a lot of classic rock (I view it as fleshing out and building my library) and 'catch' up on bands I wasn't around for. The last indie cd I really listened to was the New Pornographer's Twin Cinema. (I did buy the new Clap Your Hands a Say Yeah album, and I was underwhelmed).
Yesterday I read an article in the new Rolling Stone about a music service called eMusic. The article talked about how eMusic has a lot of indie bands on it and that a lot musicians use it. And unlike MusicMatch and iTunes, its a monthly subscription service, not a per song basis. You get 40 downloads a month for 10 bucks, not too shabby. Then I read the kicker:
Unlike any other major service, all music comes in an unprotected MP3 format, which means that tracks can be copied or burned to CDs as much as the owner likes and played on any MP3 player. And, distinct from subscription services like Napster and Yahoo!, the music doesn't disappear once you cancel the service.MP3s!!!! I hate the DRM and encoded crap. I loved the fact that I could download music and it A) would work on my iPod and B) I could burn them to CDs and C) it would work on MusicMatch Jukebox (my desktop music player).
So I did the trial version and checked out what all they had. They have pretty nice selections of albums to get, not a whole lot of 'mainstream' stuff, but not a bad selection either. eMusic has a lot of old blues and jazz tracks, some old Ray Charles and Johnny Cash albums and they have a TON of comedy CDs; Dane Cook, Dave Attel, Patton Oswald, George f-in Carlin, Mike Birbiglia and Jim Gaffigan. Good stuff.
So anyways, I highly recomend checking eMusic out (I did the free trial, then I decided to actually join), and if you decide to sign up, let me know first, because if I recomend you, I get 50 free downloads and you get 50 free downloads. (Also, its not hard at all to cancel, I've had to cancel shit before (realplayer) and they'll give you the phone runaround. At eMusic, all you gotta do is go to you're account page and click on cancel.)