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. To simply listen to songs for free, check out these streaming sites.
Amazon is one of the top stores for purchasing music, and it is also one of the very best for downloading free music. The massive online retailer currently lists over 50,000 songs for free download. Many of these are from rising artists competing to gain the attention of pop music fans. Amazon also does a great job of categorizing the songs for easier browsing. This is an outstanding source for discovery of new 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. This site also makes it clear what are permissible uses for the music included. Those uses are determined by the artists themselves meaning some music may only be downloaded for listening while others are cleared for use and distribution in other ways such as background music for an audio or video production.
Dogmazic is a free music download manager based in France. It was created in 2004 and maintains a database of over 50,000 items. It is currently undergoing a major redesign, but Dogmazic remains open for accessing materials during the reconstruction. The site is written in French, but online translators make it easily accessible.
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.
Jamendo boasts a collection of 390,000 free and legal tracks. That makes it one of if not the largest compendium of free and legal music available on the Internet. You have a variety of ways to browse and discover new music and artists. Jamendo was first launched in 2005 and claims to return approximately 50% of revenues to participating artists. In addition you may make donations to individual artists.