Brendan Benson, Audio Lunchbox, Fiona Apple

Tangled Web: A weekly column featuring intriguing online music-related issues & destinations. This Week: Brendan Benson, Audio Lunchbox and Fiona Apple

HOLIDAY SONG GIFTS FROM V2: V2 Records is celebrating Festivus season with free MP3s from a couple of its artists.

Brendan Benson, whose third album, "The Alternative to Love," is due out in March, offers a free download of that album's penultimate track "What I'm Looking For," at the V2 site.

Veteran singer/songwriter and labelmate Rickie Lee Jones has posted three free downloads of her takes on Christmas songs -- "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen," "Have a Merry Christmas" and "O Holy Night" -- at her official Web site. Visitors/fans should peek around for more free download goodness at Jones' online home.

GOBBLING UP THE LUNCHBOX: Indie-music digital clearinghouse Audio Lunchbox, previously profiled in these pages, has been bought out by competitor NetMusic Entertainment, significantly increasing the latter's breadth as an online music store.

The merged NetMusic claims a catalog of more than 1 million tracks drawn from more than 4,000 labels worldwide. In January, the company plans to relaunch its site with a new design based on the Audio Lunchbox site. The latter site will also continue to operate as a division of

AN APPLE WITH NO SEASON: The brainchild of a handful of web-savvy Fiona Apple fans, is a site dedicated to campaigning to get the artist's third album, "Extraordinary Machine," released by Sony BMG.

According to the site, Apple finished "Machine" in May 2003 and turned it into her label, which had released her first two albums, "Tidal" and "When the Pawn..." Sony has not yet set a release date for the set, a fact the site's creators blame on the major label's management for deigning the release "too uncommercial." The organizers are planning a protest week during the last week of January.