It seems that legitimate online music is finally getting a little more reasonable. Yahoo! has a music subscription service that you can join for $60 a month that gets you unlimited downloads and the ability to copy those songs to your portable player. That's something that I may take advantage of once I have trimmed down my fairly-long queue of unlistened new music. I guess that if it were convenient enough, I'd consider doing something like that over buying CDs some of the time, but while I'm sure the quality would be just fine for my portable player, I don't think I'd probably be satisfied with the quality on my desktop PC; once I get a new hard drive I still plan on re-ripping my music (gradually) into a lossless format, and downloaded music would be a step down, not a step up.
But, I'm glad that things seem to be getting less stupid. There's absolutely no way that I'm paying ten bucks to download a compressed version of an album when I could get the same album on a physical disc for two bucks more. I don't think I'd even pay ten bucks for a downloadable lossless version of the album. For individual tracks, the price is still too high, and the quality too low... I think it would have to get down to about six dollars for a lossless album for me to be interested. I think that I'm getting screwed by getting lumped in the same group of people who want to burn CDs; buying music online and then burning it back to a disc just seems kind of insane. Downloadable tracks are still priced as if everyone who gets them is going to burn them to a disc, it seems. If there were a service that just flat-out didn't allow you to burn tracks, I'm sure it would be less expensive, and much more likely to offer a lossless version.