The internet has become a major source for obtaining music within all genres. The option to listen to music or download audio files is available on several music sharing communities and websites. Yet, downloading music can be problematic because of the possible copyright infringement that may occur. For this reason, users must be careful when selecting a source to download songs. Downloads may attract a cost or be completely free. Most mainstream music cannot be downloaded legitimately without paying a set fee. These songs are sold by record labels as albums or singles and distributed by popular sites like Amazon, iTunes and TuneTribe. Free music downloads should not be confused with illegal downloads on unauthorized P2P sites. Free music is usually made available from independent or fairly unknown artistes who wish to market their songs. In other cases, they may include mainstream songs that have been licensed for mass distribution without an associated fee.
If you would like to download free music, there are a number of sites you may use. You may not necessarily be able to download the latest mainstream songs without making a purchase, however, you will be exposed to a richly diverse archive of independent music, classical music and international music.
Sources for free music
MP3.com is a long-standing music community that has thousands of free songs available for download. The site remains the largest source of music online and allows users to review artist content, read blogs, watch videos, enter forums and download music for free. The site also has an integrated flash audio player which lets users download files directly.
Jamendo has a wide selection of music. Most of the songs are from international independent artistes. The site is accessible in several different languages with over 32,000 albums available for download. Users also have the option to make a donation to any artiste of choice.
The site is based in France and currently has music available from 2000 artistes.
The Audio Archive
The Audio Archive is a subset of the Internet Archive which presents a large collection of audio clips, recordings and music, all available for free download. The purpose of the project is to give researchers and the general public the ability to access free internet audio content that is catalogued and sorted in one location. Some of the recordings include performances from well-known musicians like the Smashing Pumpkins and the Grateful Dead.
Free Classical Music
Wikipedia allows users to listen to and download music from famous classical composers. The list can be found at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Sound/list. The format available for download is ogg, therefore, if you wish to download and play these files on an external media player you will need to convert them using another program first. The list includes music from Franz Schubert, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Johann Pachelbel among many other great classical composers.
PureVolume enables users to download songs for free from up and coming artistes.
TuneShout is explicitly created to showcase independent artistes. Users are able to connect with others with similar tastes and also submit reviews.