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Watch for Freebies

One of the biggest advantages of electronic media is access: Music aficionados who once had to wait for their local record stores to order special recordings or spent their spare time scouring record swaps for rare tracks can now find nearly any recording they wish, all with a few clicks of a mouse.

But that ease of access can get expensive, even with the ability to buy single tracks instead of entire albums. Add videos to the mix, and it's easy for a large iTunes library to eat up your discretionary spending money in a hurry.

But savvy media shoppers can score a wide range of deals if they know where to look. Many bands and artists have taken to releasing select free tracks as part of promotional efforts; if you have a handful of favorite artists, monitoring their Web sites or forums dedicated to their genres can net you a good bit of free music. The situation's even better in the case of video: Many TV shows offer episodes at no cost, and the Web is full of movie trailers just waiting to be downloaded [source: Medina].

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