iLike is Myspace Music, a social music site that lets members find and explore new music online through fellow members. Myspace is home to the largest collection of FREE streaming music on the internet. You can use it to listen to 42mm songs, search for music, create playlists, share music plays, watch videos, listen to radio and connect with your social networks like Facebook.
This site has plenty of streaming content and some MP3 downloads of really good quality. The down side here could be the (annoying) pop-up Ads, but if you like the music selection enough, it wouldn’t matter much to you.
3. Free Music Archive
Launched in April 2009, the Free Music Archive site was launched by WFMU in Jersey City. The music archive is actually maintained by “curators” or personnel from other radio stations and music labels. The site is described as “a social music website built around a curated library of free, legal audio”. At present the site maintains over 22,000 songs. The archive’s creation was financially supported in part by The New York State Music Fund which also provides the means by which donations can be received to compensate participating artists.
ccMixter is another social music site that promotes remixing of music samples in order to create new musical content. To be able to encourage this, they have made available a huge collection of some 10,000 music samples available for download. Sources are musicians, music producers and content writers or creators who have licensed their work under Creative Commons. The site also provides tools that users can use to listen, sample, mash-up or interact with the music to create their own entirely new musical compositions. The site encourages re-mixers to upload their versions back to ccMixter. Other users can then make comments or offer constructive feedback.
Jamendo was introduced on the net back in 2005. It provides links to legal sources of digital music, at no cost! This site offers music-only downloads with over 32,000 albums. The music available in Jamendo covers a wide range of musical genres from independent artists. These artists have made their work available to the public through the (CCL) Creative Commons License. Users can offer their own review of the albums. In addition to offering 50% of site revenues to participating artists itself, Jamendo has also provided a means for users to make donations to their favorite artists
6. Legit Torrents
Legit Torrents’ music downloads include formats like MP3, Flac and Ogg. It has some 1,800 LEGAL links for music, movies, games, books, software apps and anime’. The software apps available not only cover Windows, but Mac and Linux as well. They also include a forum where comments or questions regarding the downloaded files or non-download related stuff can be posted for discussion.
This site can very well be called the haven for “trade friendly” artists whose own recordings of live concerts are featured. The site encourages users to support these new artists by sharing their work to friends, by buying their CDs or actually going to see them perform live. Lossless Flac is the file format of choice to assure excellent quality and pure listening pleasure. Flac means the downloaded files are huge but users who appreciate the quality don’t mind.
YouTorrent is one of the more popular legal torrent download sites. It offers various files for download with strict reminders to users not to indiscriminately share files unless they are certain the materials are okay to download and share. From the site itself, all music, books, movies, anime’ games, TV shows, software and pictures available for download are free and legal.
Fenopy is fully integrated with IMDB and Last.fm. It is able to offer some really good links for exploring new music and movies on the net. It features a “fake finder” to help users avoid bad files. Fenopy has available downloads for music, games, books, anime’, software apps, videos, TV shows and movies.
Panda.cd is a free and legal music-only sharing site whose primary goal is to provide an online showcase of the works of independent artists who might one day become famous. There is a growing community of fans who like original music. Anyone can register as a recording artist (or not) and upload original material that other users can download. Non-artists are asked to support the artists by making donations. Their music genres cover a wide range from country to blues all the way to hip-hop.
LegalTorrents was the original name for Clearbits. It is a good source for all types of media downloads that are all LEGAL. The user-interface is straightforward for fast and easy searching. Users may opt to use the search box or simply browse by category. The media files available are for videos, music, movies, audio books, TV shows and games.
Burnbit downloads are safe and legal. Burnbit offers automated creation and management of torrent metadata. Torrents only contain the metadata information and are not copyrighted themselves, but the files that are downloaded could be. Burnbit only sources from websites that use legal files and stay away from those with malware, pornography and other bad content.
13. Vuze Network
The Vuze network offers an all legal selection of P2P source websites. These websites allow download of various media by using the Vuze client, offered free. This Vuze software client has a simple interface with filtering system to let users sort their search results. You can get access to an entire portfolio of media like videos, music, audio books and TV shows via the Vuze Network.
ExtraTorrent’s goal is to provide a simple search engine for all kinds of torrent files. The site has a very busy website in terms of design, with plenty of colorful photos that may not necessarily be what you’re looking for. They do have a good variety of movies, music, TV, software, games, anime’, books and pictures. You might want to control who uses this download site at home as they have plenty of links to porn sites.
Stereogum has been offering free and legal MP3s since 2006 and remains to be one of the leading online communities for independent music, news and video downloads. They regularly feature amateur artists who are hoping to become famous, and some have, like Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes and Vampire Weekend. They have received various citations including best Music Blog from Plug Award, Most Influential people in Online Music from Blender’s and Best Music Website from Entertainment Weekly.
16. Unsigned Band Web
Unsigned bands share their music here. This online venue helps them get noticed. They offer music from almost all genres, even using charts to track which ones are hot. Downloads are available in MP3 format.
SoundClick was established in 1997 as an originator of the social media format. They continue to be one of the leading free music communities that features signed and unsigned bands. MP3s, audio and video streaming, music charts, custom radio stations and lyrics are offered free for download. At present the site has 3.4 million members. It is a good site for original music artists to showcase their work.
18. Indie Rock Cafe
This site’s mission is to provide a venue for talented but unknown musicians to showcase their music for people all over the world to enjoy. They hope to encourage creativity and promote independent music. Downloads are only by clicking on the links for the particular music you are looking at, as there is no main download page.
DMusic began in 1998, and is another venue for independent musicians to launch their music. This site maintains a Top 20 chart for each of the genres available. There are 20+ genres with sub-categories.
iCompositions is an internet community for aspiring musicians. It focuses artists using Mac, specifically Apple’s GarageBand. Member artists are encouraged to upload their songs to be played and commented on by other community members. Constructive criticism is encouraged to help the new artists hear their work through other people’s ears, and make improvements as maybe needed. The site has been featured in major publications including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. It has users from all over the world.
Peoplesound is similar to Jamendo but with some offerings from major label artists as well. Users must register to be able download. There are plenty of MP3 files but you need to do some looking from within the genres and artists.
BearShare v6 and later offer free P2P MP3s and paid WMAs. The site now also includes some social networking features like MySpace. It has a staggering 20 million music files in its store. The P2P music files are offered free as they are shared by users and are automatically verified by BearShare for copyright infringement. This verification is done by acoustic fingering. BearShare is excellent at protecting users from virus threats.
BearShare is fully compatible with iPod and other MP3 devices. It also has a Discover tool that will find and play music genres according to your mood, and find new artists and bands you previously didn’t know about. Other cool features include the personal profile page, a contact list and a messaging system. LimeWire (already shutdown) users can import their music library into BearShare. All file sharing are legal and free.
Epitonic has a long and rather bumpy history in the world of music discovery. Originally launched in 1999, it went dormant in 2004, had a few not so successful revival attempts until finally making a good comeback in 2011, exactly 12 years from its original launch. Epitonic recaptured the spirit of the original site by curating and filtering underground music with cutting edge technology and features not available a decade ago.
For nothing but MP3s, 3hive is a self-proclaimed jukebox. They link directly with official labels and artists and assure users that the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will not come running after them. The reasoning behind this is that these record labels and artists make their full-length MP3s available online, for FREE, so that they get downloaded, listened to and enjoyed. They consider this a form of advertising, to titillate the public enough that they seek out the CDs and the concerts and the souvenir items etc.
Every week, the iTunes store offers free songs or shows that you can download and play in your iPod or computer. It’s all very nice if you have nothing else to do but sit there watching out for the freebies, so this website does it for you. It keeps track of all the recent iTunes freebies and makes them available for you at your most convenient time.
Purevolume was launched in 2003 as a social music site dedicated to the discovery and promotion of emerging artists and their music. There is a profile for each of the artists containing basic info, photos, schedule of shows and their music for streaming. They themselves can choose which of their songs are made available for download, so you can be sure whatever you’re downloading, it’s because the artist allowed it. PureVolume has received recognition and praise from The Chicago Tribune, The New York Times, L.A. Times, The Wall Street Journal and Newsweek.
iMesh is the first P2P music file sharing site approved by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America) and the longest running in the world. They introduced many of the P2P technologies in use today including what is now called “swarming”. The site offers a 14-day FREE trial so new users can check out their features and the massive collection of 11 million tracks. Users can also get access to iMesh’ collection of non-copyrighted music and video and download them for free.
Musopen is like an online library of music that promotes better access and exposure to music by offering music sources for free. No copyright restrictions are imposed on textbooks, recordings and sheet music. Musopen has a huge selection of public domain classical music, sheet music and MP3 music. The collection is categorized by period, composer, performer and instrument. Other available downloads are classical instrumentals and vocals, also in MP3 format.
Practically all forms of audio which includes book readings, poetry readings, alternative news, old time radio shows and original music uploaded by their own creators can be found in this online audio archive. Many of these files are available for download completely free. There are approximately 1 million digital recordings already and it keeps growing. Music choices include jazz, electronic, classical, rock and other kinds for use on video and multimedia productions.
30. Classical Archives
For classical music enthusiasts, this site is for you. Classical Archive has the largest collection of classical music MIDI files, all FREE. They have over 600,000 files you can listen to (be streaming) or purchase in DRM-free MP3. That is equivalent to 15,000 composers and 60,000 artists.
Public domain classical sheet music is available for download at Mutopia. Search by instrument, composer or by latest addition. They are able to offer the works free since they are in the public domain. The collection includes Chopin, Bach, Handel, Mozart, Beethoven, etc. The music files may be downloaded freely, modified, recorded and shared. The music sheets are in PDF format.
The IMSLP (International Music Score Library Project) makes available some 100,000 muscial scores sitting in the public domain. Search categories are either name or period of the composer.
MP3 Rocket is one of the largest music websites in the world that offer free and legal downloads. Their free MP3 music selection alone is 12 billion strong, plus another 30,000 free movies, videos, radio stations and games. The songs you can download are of top quality. MP3 Rocket is free from spyware and adware and provides state of the art protection against harmful content. Its powerful YouTube download conversion to MP3 is perhaps its best feature.
This is a really cool site for discovering music you never even knew about but are made along the same musical lines as your old favorites. It will be like your very own radio station with your personal DJ playing only the kind of music that you like. Beat that! Their music library is some 8 million big, so they are sure to have your kind of music. You listen for free, but the Ads you’ll have to live with. Still, you don’t have to waste precious time looking at hundreds of sites just to compile your very own collection. Just type-in a favorite song and you will get all the songs that match your favorite’s category. If you type-in an artist’s name, the site comes back with all of that artist’s songs and all similar to it in genre! This site is great!
Of course, MTV music downloads! The freebies here will not compete with most download sites for sheer volume (or lack of it), but MTV after all is THE place for the latest and the greatest, and if it’s free who are we to complain? The hottest downloads are good for your iPod or MP3 player.
We have sites for everybody else, so why not one for the kids? Children’s music, especially educational tracks can be expensive, so this is a welcome respite for moms who like enriching their children’s days with good, wholesome music. The independent music artists who are featured on the site are a league of their own. They allow their music to be downloaded for free, to be enjoyed by children and parents alike on their computers, on road trips etc. Parents in turn are expected to return the favor by perhaps watching the artists’ live, going to their shows, buying their CDs and spreading the word.
37. Classic Cat
This site indexes classical “free-to-download-only” MP3s. They keep users from having to do their own searching. It saves them plenty of time that they can otherwise devote to listening. Their index is some 6000 classical performances. They encourage support through donations or by making your own collections available.
HONC was created in 2006 for emerging artists to launch their music online. The music has to be in MP3 format. The site allows for each artist to receive votes and comments from the user community. Users can download as many songs as they want completely free and totally legal, but they are asked to vote to help out the artists whose work they get access to.
The Free Music Directory serves as a guide to free and legal MP3 downloads on the internet. Their directory will help you find what you’re looking for. In return they ask that if you have a site of your own with at least 1 free MP3 available for download, get it listed on this site to help them grow their directory some more.
Beautiful site, this! They release digital-only albums, singles, music compilations and showcase them with really nice artworks. Everything on the site is free as all downloads have been approved by the artists and the labels that own them.
If you just take the time to look around, you will find a wealth of information about sites that offer totally free and legal music downloads. You need not make do with sites of questionable integrity. All it takes is a little personal commitment to never again participate in the use and spread of copyrighted music without paying a cent. If we want good music for free, they are out there.
The 40 sites featured here should be a good starting point for you. Visit any one or a few of them and be delighted at what you find.