• TUNED IN
PANDORA.COM Want to create your own streaming radio stations? Type in the name of a band you like, and this site begins playing its songs, as well as ones by other artists that Pandora determines to be similar. If you don't like a song, you can simply knock it off the playlist. Start multiple stations for your different moods. There's a 10-hour free trial before you're asked to pay for a $36 annual membership.
VH1.COM/RADIO Maybe you didn't know that the network that brought you I Love the 80s also offers I Love the 80s radio. Instead of picking a genre, click on Themes-Moods for a wide array of audio options. And yes, there is a Divas channel.
MERCORA.COM Mercora's IM Radio probably isn't scoring points with music execs. As with some other radio services, you can type in the name of artists you like and hear them instantly. But it also lets you save songs on your hard drive by using the "record" feature. Mercora says it's on the up-and-up, and cites the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in order to separate it from outlaw services.
SHOUTCAST.COM One of the most popular of the free Internet radio sites, Shoutcast makes it easy to listen. No need to sign in. Just browse the amazingly long list of free stations, click "Tune In!" and the music begins playing through your iTunes or Winamp software.
LAUNCH.YAHOO.COM Yahoo!'s pioneering online radio program lets you create your own station by selecting your favorite artists. As you listen to music and share your preferences, Launchcast gets better at playing what you want. There's also a collection of music videos--remember those?--that you can watch for free. Just be sure to use Internet Explorer, because Launchcast doesn't work as well with Mozilla's Firefox.
• PLAY ON
OLGA.NET The Online Guitar Archive is a longtime favorite of kids who, as Bryan Adams might say, just got their first real six-string. It's a great place to discover guitar notation and chords, as well as the lyrics to a huge number of classic rock songs.
SHEETMUSICDIRECT.US For more classically trained musicians, this site lets you listen to sheet music before you buy it, thanks to a browser plug-in. When you think you have found the sonata you want, click and play it online, pay for it and then print it out on your printer. In addition to Mozart and Beethoven, you will find a large selection of sheet music for songs by modern hitmakers from Josh Groban to Bonnie Raitt.
SHOCKWAVE.COM/SW/CONTENT/EZDJ Even if you don't have much musical ability, EZ-DJ is a fun way to make some noise. You might even discover what real DJs do on stage. If you happen upon a groove that could be called "infectious" by those in the biz, you can send it to your friends by entering their e-mail addresses.
• GET SMART
PITCHFORKMEDIA.COM This online music mag can make or break a band with its insightful and at times acerbic reviews. Although heavily slanted toward indie artists, it also covers the coolest--or most unavoidable--of the commercial crowd. If you're looking for more than just opinions, this site's news ticker will keep you informed.