An extensive selection of free music downloads is the dream of any serious pop music fan. Unfortunately, legal downloading of most mainstream pop music requires purchasing the song in question. Many of the top sites offering music for purchase will offer an occasional song for free download, or you may pay a monthly subscription for a wide access to music. However, there are a number of web sites that promote lesser known pop artists or classic pop recordings by allowing free downloads of hundreds or thousands of songs. These are 5 of the best of these sites.
Jamendo opened its doors in 2005. It is based in Luxembourg but is a multilingual site accessible to users around the world. The music available is free to download and licensed through Creative Commons and Free Art licenses. Over 20,000 albums are available to download. The site incorporates tags and reviews to help find music. It also accepts donations to artists and has implemented a system to give 50% of advertising revenues to participating artists.
The Free Music Archive was launched in April 2009. The site was launched by Jersey City radio station WFMU, but personnel from additional radio stations and labels serve as curators for the music in the archive. The site describes itself as "a social music website built around a curated library of free, legal audio." The New York State Music Fund has assisted in financing the creation of the archive. The Free Music Archive also provides the opportunity to donate directly to compensate participating artists.
3. Amie Street
Amie Street was launched in 2006 and utilizes a unique approach to pricing music. Tracks frequently are offered on the site initially for free. As more users download the song, the price increases to purchase the track. Those who love hunting for new, buried treasures in music are richly rewarded with free music at Amie Street. However, those who wish to download the music preferred by their friends and peers do pay for the "curating" of other users. Amie Street has received strong support from establishment technology organizations and media in its effort to provide a new model for supporting and paying for quality music.
The Audio Archive is a sub-project of the Internet Archive, a project which aims to collect and make available archived "snapshots" of Internet content for access to researchers and the public in general. The Audio Archive is a collection that includes audio books, news broadcasts, and old time radio shows as well as music. The music collection numbers over 50,000 recordings all available for free download. Among the treasures included are live concert recordings of the Grateful Dead and Smashing Pumpkins.
CC Mixter is a social music site that encourages remixing to create new musical content. A key component of that mission is making available a library of over 10,000 samples that can be freely downloaded and then used, with tools made available on the site, to create entirely new musical compositions.