Ah, legally downloaded music. Ever since Napster, that phrase has a stigma attached to it that should actually belong to illegally downloaded music. If you lived through the mid 2000s, you know how downloading music illegally was the cool thing to do, especially among the teen geeks. The excitement of evading paywalls and using loopholes not known to general public to download sub-quality music actually seemed exciting at some point. But then iTunes showed up, and later on, Spotify. In the meantime, we all grew up.
But now and again you might still want to pursue that thrill of downloading music for free. May we suggest you do so legally. And let us help you on this straightforward adventure.
NoiseTrade is a really good looking website with one of the biggest collections of actually good free songs from artists around the world. Their For Fans Of section for each artist tells you which mainstream icon their music most resembles to. With links to Dylan and Beastie Boys, you’ll know if you’ll enjoy the song or not even before going in.
You can sample a song before you download. Every song is free to download but NoiseTrade does a good job at promoting the artists by suggesting you to tip them if you like their songs.
As you grow older on the internet, you start to associate free with inferior. Let NoiseTrade prove you wrong.
With NoiseTrade being a startup and a real business, there is one caveat. They want your information. When you try to download an album, NoiseTrade will ask you for your email address, country and your postal code and mail you the download link. If that’s fine with you, go ahead and download cool new free songs.
2. Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is another contender for good free music, proclaiming it on their front page – “It’s not just free music; it’s good music”. The website is a combination of a blog and a download site.
Which is good for beginners. You have curators who know their stuff writing about new free music, hunting down through the mess that is the internet and presenting you with the best, with reason.
It’s a good place to be if you ear buds just started developing.
Live music has a different charm. A note that’s played different, a song sung in a totally different voice. Another great thing about live music is that most of it is not wrapped in 56 layers of contracts. A lot of it is basically freely available. Even music from the big guys like Grateful Dead and John Mayer.
Live Music Archive is hosted on archive.org so navigating it might a bit difficult so use the search function to get to where you need to be.
6. Overclocked ReMix (Video Game Soundtracks)
Video game soundtracks are awesome. If you’ve played a puzzler or a platformer game, you know that. Video game music is specially devised to improve your concentration while not sucking you in completely. It’s also why it makes for great background music when you need to concentrate and do some work/study. Go to the site and wander around till you find something you like.
Insound is an online e-commerce store with a unique collection of vinyls for sale. But they also have a free MP3s section, and a pretty sizeable one at that.
MusicBox is a new service, which like Death To Stock Photo, curates the best new free music from around the web and emails them to you every two weeks.
Epitonic is a carefully curated music magazine for the web. There’s tight editorial control over every song that makes it in, which means you get a wholly superior listening experience.
Jamendo is one of NoiseTrade’s biggest competitors. It’s been around for a long time and used by indie legends like Sean Fournier to deliver their free albums and, depending on your usage, it’s even better.
You don’t need to give your email address to download an album. There’s a popup to connect to Facebook when you try to stream a song but just close it and carry on as it does not affect the playback function.
Oh, and it also has apps for iOS, Android and Windows so you can keep streaming free songs even when you are on the go.
Google Play, iTunes and Amazon all run weekly promotions where they offer one mainstream song for free each week. Keep an eye on them, they are usually good.
There’s a huge group on SoundCloud dedicated to curating the best free music available on the site.
Got any favorite site to download free music from (legally, of course) that we missed in the above list? Why not help your fellow GT readers by sharing it in the comments.