Free music online isn’t a thing of the past, contrary to popular belief. In fact, you can still find the hottest music tiles spanning all genres for either a small fee or totally free of charge. There are plenty of great websites offering a diverse collection of music, often by new or independent artists. These sites operate under the concept that music is meant to be heard. Here are some of the best of these sites:
The more than 350,000 titles featured on this site are released under the Creative Commons license. This just means that songs can be legally be listened to free of charge and then distributed again under the same license. The artists involved get paid via site advertising, commercial programs, and user donations. Most of the artists are independent or relatively new, but there is a diverse selection spanning various genres. Navigation is really easy.
All songs on this site, also operating under the Creative Commons license, can be instantly played or downloaded in mp3 format. The site allows you to browse selections by song title, artist, date, number of hits, or tags. The site does prompt you to rate each song you listen to, but that actually helps you find the songs you like again later. A Ning account is required, but there is no fee involved and it’s easy to sign up. The database is somewhat limited, but is steadily growing though.
This site allows many songs to be downloaded and sampled for free, an especially appealing feature if you’re into mixing and re-mixing. The samples are sorted by categories such as beats-per-minute and overall popularity. This site tends to be more aimed at DJs, but all you really need to be is a music lover to enjoy many of these high-quality mixes.
You’ll find a nice selection of royalty-free songs released daily on this site. Most of these are aspiring or unsigned artists. If you’re looking for new music, you’ll definitely find it here. Most of the music on this site tends to be trance and house music, but other genres can be found too. Sometimes you’ll find a little pop, rock, or classical mixed in with house and trace tracks. If you redistribute songs from this site, you need to credit the artist. If you’re just going to listen to random songs on your computer, you don’t need to do anything.
This site is kind of like the musical version of the Six Degrees of Separation game. It’s what is known as a music map site because of the way it is set up. You enter the name of any artist you already like and you’re given six more similar artists. You can expand the results as you go to include a larger list of recommendations. The database uses the artist list generated by Last.fm and includes a link to purchase all songs featured on the site through Amazon, although you can listen to all songs right on the site for free without downloading.
This site is similar to TuneGlue since it also provides suggestions for similar artists you may also like. You can also listen to the songs, provided by YouTube videos, directly on the site. Some of the tracks are live versions and not always the official commercial video of the song. The songs can also be of poor quality, but it really depends on which version of the song was selected from YouTube. You’ll also get mp3 links to purchase any song you like from Amazon. You do get more freedom to manipulate how your results appear and can specify how many artists are returned in your results.
None of these sites are the torrent kind like Limewire and Blubster, but rather sites that release free music under creative licenses or other special arrangements allow you to legally enjoy music for little or no charge. Rest assured that everybody involved is still getting paid for their part in creating the music, with revenue usually generated for this purpose through advertising and other promotional efforts. These are sites that believe that the music business should be more music and less business.