Online Streaming Music -
Since Grooveshark went down, I have moved along to Jango for entering an example of what I want to hear, and having it create a 'similar' playlist. So far, the ads on the page are exploding, but there don't seem to be as many audio ads between the songs for Jango (about 1 every 3-5 songs) as there are on Pandora (ever 2-3 songs). Even though there are ads and they are irksome, it is the cost of free without legal ramifications.
Also, if I am more in a radio play mode, I will look up online radio stations like National Public Radio (NPR) or 365 Internet Radio. These have ads too, but often have some real people talking now and again, too, which is a little softening from the iPod algorithms of most song plays.
I Need That One Song -
Two step process for this.
1st: I go find the song I need on Youtube - checking to make sure it is the version I want.
2nd: I go to FLVTO, where I enter the share address of that youtube video, hit 'convert', and the website strips the video and creates a little MP3 of the audio.
Obtain Full CD's or Find Genre Collections-
Go to your local library. Or, like me, libraries (I am a member of 3 libraries in my area, alone - city, county, and metro area). They have CD's on site, you can request Inter-Library Loans of CD's from other libraries, and you can upload right into your computer as needed. If you don't like the artist, you aren't out any money. They also have some good 'mix up' collections and movie soundtracks that have a fun variety of artists on one disc.
Explore New Stuff-
Check out your library's online options for sites where you can download new audio files daily or weekly and listen to things for free. Or, just pull some of those wacky looking CD cases and listen to them.
Ask your friends, or check out the local music and events newspaper in your area to read up on up and coming groups and sou
I also will simply add this site's List of Apps and Stuff to Find New Music.