Is the tide turning in the battle over music file sharing?

After a decade of rampant digital piracy that has helped to gut album sales, a raft of new streaming music sites is making the experience of legally finding and listening to music just as seductive as downloading it free, reports the New York Times. Many music industry observers now believe there is a fundamental shift under way: from illegal downloads to licensed streaming services like MySpace Music, imeem, and Spotify, where users can play any song, anytime, and–coming soon–on any device. These sites are free, supported by ads, and with an expanding catalog of songs, they are finally ready to overshadow the more cumbersome, unauthorized services that can be hard for newcomers to navigate. The new streaming music services are providing not only an authorized but also in some cases a superior alternative, and they might be the first obvious stop for a generation that is too young to remember when the original Napster revolutionized the music industry…

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