Sites with an extensive selection of free music downloads are 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 five 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 32,000 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." It currently hosts over 22,000 songs. 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.
Dogmazic is a free music download manager based in France. It was created in 2004 and maintains a database of work by roughly 2000 artists. The site does not carry advertising.
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, Warren Zevon, and Smashing Pumpkins.
5. CC Mixter
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.