Some sites such as Spotify offer free music streaming, but you’ll have to pay extra for all of the features available including downloading. Here we’re concentrating on websites where it won’t cost you a cent to get and store your favorite tracks for your computer or phone.
Jamendo offers a massive choice of music available via Creative Commons licensing and is one of the largest sources to choose from. Free Jamendo apps for Android, Windows phone, iPhone, and iPad are also available. The site covers thousands of artists, and the number of available tracks runs into the hundreds of thousands. It has a nicely organized user interface that enables users to browse tracks, not just by genre but also by Most Downloaded, Latest Releases, Most Played and more.
There’s also a Most Popular feature that is based on user ratings and is an excellent way of discovering new talent. In addition, there are radio channels as an additional resource for discovering more music that you like. Because Jamendo very much focuses on work from lesser-known musicians, this is a good option for those who always like to discover something new or a little different. However, you can also search for your favorite artists to see if any of their tracks are available.
As its title suggests, this site concentrates on live concert material. The site is a collaboration of etree.org and Internet Archive and aims to provide high-quality concert coverage, although that cannot always be guaranteed. The provided concert material offers a hugely diverse mixture, from Jack Johnson to the Grateful Dead, and The Smashing Pumpkins to Sound Tribe Sector 9. You can browse various genres with just a few of the selections on offer being reggae, jazz, and jam bands.
The sheer amount of content means navigation is not always easy, but there are filters available so that you can narrow things down by title, original creator, or date. Tracks can also be streamed or downloaded as a FLAC or MP3 to your media player.
SoundCloud offers streaming and download content from independent musicians as well as some from professional artists. Not all of the tracks offered here are free, but if you see a download button next to a track this means it can be downloaded straight away, even if you don’t have an account. There is plenty of free music to download, although for some files you’ll have to Like a Facebook page, which really isn’t too much of a hardship.
Users can browse by Latest, Popularity, Artist, or Genre, and there is a section solely for Creative Commons licensed track releases. With the latter, you can freely download, tweak, or remix the tracks. The user interface is nicely streamlined, and the service also offers access to its mobile apps.
This is another site that offers thousands of albums that are absolutely free and legal to download. From the homepage, you can find new content to enjoy by checking out the New, Notable, or Top Download sections.
You can give something back here to the artists that are allowing you to listen to their works, as you can promote them to your circle of friends or tip them a donation. When you find an album you want to download all you need is just enter some details such as your email address. Following this, you’ll receive a download code via email.
Some people might not think of Amazon for downloading music, but in fact, there are thousands of free tracks available. These can be sorted by genre or alphabetical order or artist, album, or title, or by release date, song length, popularity or reviews.
Before choosing your download you can preview, and once you’ve decided it’s worth keeping you simply click the Free button and it will appear in your cart. From there you proceed just as if you were making a purchase. Once you’ve placed the order, a link will take you to the download page.
Some of the songs here are only free for streaming, but there is still a wealth of tracks that can be freely downloaded from the various artists’ websites. This includes music from both signed and unsigned performers who want to allow you to access their portfolio with no charge. Users can browse through the genres and charts to find downloads that they want and can also generate custom radio stations or view music videos.
Further features include being able to find out more about the artists on SoundClick, as well as being able to communicate with other users through the forums. With more than 5 million available tracks via streaming audio, MP3 downloads, or store purchases, there’s something for everyone here. It’s worth knowing that the Analog Hole feature allows users to save audio streams to listen to another time.
The Archive was formed back in 2009 as part of a WFMU Radio project, and now offers a huge amount of free content covering all kinds of music genres. Music from partner curators is indexed on the site, or users can choose to add their music straight to the archives. Browsing the tracks is therefore somewhat of a mammoth task, but it’s certainly an enjoyable activity if you’re a real music enthusiast. In addition to free songs the site also offers podcasts as well as studio session live cuts from well-known radio stations and artists.
This site is purely aimed at fans of hip-hop and rap, and unlike many download sites, it regularly features free content from mainstream music artists. A lot of the music on DatPiff comes as mixtapes. You’ll find feature rappers, original compilations from artists, and free tunes from performers who want to reward their following of fans. Users can also check out new tapes, release schedules, and compilation albums from fans themselves. Further features include a pop-out player and news stories collated from various hip-hop sites.
Of course, not everyone wants to download contemporary music and so nonprofit organization Musopen fills the gap for classical music fans. It’s not difficult to get free downloads of classical works, as the majority have been in the public domain for a while. However, Musopen offers a convenient hub for a big selection with no copyright limitations. This makes it a good resource for people such as teachers, as it avoids the worry about royalties.
The site is dedicated to preserving the classics and easy accessibility to listeners and offers everything a classical music enthusiast is looking for. You can filter your results by performer, composer, instrument, or time period, with free streaming & download and also background information to absorb.
The BeSonic music promotion network offers thousands of songs after a simple free registration. You can listen to the tracks via streaming audio or choose to download them or view videos. A quick and easy-to-use search tool will help you discover the tracks that you’re most likely to enjoy, with categories such as new songs, new artists, or all artists, and there’s also a daily most wanted section.
The site also includes music charts covering various genres and recommendations. An interesting extra with this site is Mood Radio that allows you to enter your mood to find music to suit the way you’re feeling. A final feature worth noting is the chance to become a BeSonic Scout. The scouting system means users can push the artists they like by rating music and offering feedback with self-written contributions. These then appear on genre-related subsites, in the recommendation section, and on the relevant artist pages. You’ll need to apply with an extract of your writing to be considered for scout status.
his means that you can enjoy the music you already love, as well as discovering something new from independent performers. Perhaps you have recommendations? If so tell us by sending a comment.