Jamendo is a music-only download site. All the music available for download is completely free and completely legal, covered by any of the six (6) Creative Commons Licenses. The licenses make the download legal and the site provides a global venue for the artists to promote and share their music while protecting their rights. There is no limit to the number of tracks that can be downloaded.
With over 54,000 albums across all possible genres, users will have more than enough tracks to stream or download at any one time.
The concept certainly isn’t new and Jamendo isn’t the only website that offers this service. This short review will cover the website itself, the music selection available, Jamendo’s services, how it compares to other sites in the same category, what it does better than the others and what its weaknesses are, if any.
The Website – offers unlimited, legal and FREE music only downloads. It looks visually nice enough but a little busy. It needs some getting used to. New users would easily get lost inside the drop-down menus.
The Music – is an impressive collection of amazing music covering practically all genres by non-mainstream yet obviously very promising artists. Simply browsing through the website cannot possibly give one a complete appreciation for just how much talent is out there, but it sure gives a good hint. Users who truly love music will have a heyday.
QOS (quality of service) – is good, if only based on the forums and technical support provided for artists and users alike. Very prompt response from site moderators. The music downloads are available in MP3 or OGG formats depending on how users are downloading (http link or P2P).
Streaming is also served at 96kbps. Unregistered users have enough access to be able to sample the music, but after registration they will have their own profile, be able to create their own playlists, comment on and rate the albums and participate in the forums, just like in social networking sites. What’s really nice is that for every track, they have an option for users to “license” that particular track. It is a very good (and simple) tool for people who visit the site specifically looking for a particular kind of music to use on their own Ads, or short films etc.
Legal music sites similar to Jamendo include: bt.etree.org, panda.cd, archive.org, Peoplesound, Purevolume.com etc. These are good sources of free and legal music but with some differences to Jamendo. The site bt.etree.org for example uses only Flac music format, archive.org offers not just music downloads but a whole lot more, like movies and books, and Peoplesound has some major labels alongside the original artists.
The long and short of it, Jamendo is probably the biggest source of free and legal independent music out there today. All the music they publish is free for personal use but offer commercial rights for interested users in order to protect and support the artists. Their operation is pretty much established as they have been doing it since 2007 when they first launched.
The Jamendo user base is very active, indicating a very healthy interaction between users, artists and site admin. The website could probably use some improvement to make it a little easier to navigate. Overall, Jamendo could very well be the top free and legal independent music download site today. If you know of a site that does better all things considered, we would like to hear your views.