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With so many music streaming services available, the idea of downloading a song on to a device is getting older by the day. Yet there are some people out there who like to have the playlist stored on their devices rather than relying on a service (I’m one of those).
The Internet has made it easy to get a free download of just about any song you want. The problem, however, is that free music isn’t always legal music. If you’re the honest type and you like to pay for your tunes and support the artists, labels, and retailers who distribute them, then illegal downloading simply isn’t an option.
Some people out there have strict morals when it comes to media consumption habits, so is list of the best places to find free and completely legal downloads. There is a high chance your favorite musician is not listed in the sites below…
You can surf Soundcloud by artist, genre, popularity, or latest postings; and you’ll be surprised at how many free tracks are out there. Most big-name mainstream artists will have a few freebies on their pages, and there are millions of independent artists who post all of their tunes for free. There’s also a section of the site dedicated to tracks released under Creative Commons licenses — which means you’re free to download, remix, or tweak them as much as you like.
Scroll down to the bottom of the page, and there you’ll find in the bottom right corner a blue link that reads “free downloads”. Click it, and you’ll be met with pages and pages of MP3′s that you can filter by genre. It’s hard to get a solid count on how many tracks the site has, but each genre seems to have more than 25 pages containing ten tracks each, so it’s a pretty sizable collection. The best part is that if you’ve used Last.fm before, the site has a good idea of what type of music you like, and will suggest MP3′s based on your listening habits.
This site combines two different approaches to posting tracks. First, it indexes free music posted by all of its partner curators; and second, it allows users to post their own music directly to the site’s archives. This synthesis of sources gives them a mind-bogglingly large library of tracks that you could literally spend months browsing through.
It should come as no surprise that the WalMart of the Internet has a massive bargain bin of free MP3 downloads. The nice thing about Amazon’s list of freebies is that you can easily browse it by genre, and it even tells you how many free tracks there are within each category. The only tricky part is navigating to the right section of the site. To get to all the free goodies, you can either click here, or go to MP3 Music > Music by Price > Songs > Free.
Noisetrade is part free music site, part artist promotion platform. You can get tracks and albums from independent artists if you supply them with your e-mail address. So basically, if you allow them to send you promotional stuff in the form of e-mail, they’ll give you free tunes. The site also politely asks you to spread the word about the artists you like by posting about them on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. The UI is clean, simple, and visual, which makes the site a joy to browse through.
With nearly 400,000 tracks from over 40,000 artists, this one is easily one of the biggest repositories of free music on the web. Instead of browsing by genre, you peruse tracks by popularity, most downloaded, most played, or by latest release. Popularity is based on user ratings, so despite the massive amount of tracks on the site, you don’t have to spend a lot of time searching before you find stuff that pleases your ears.
When compared to most other sites on the web, it’s still got a great collection. In addition to their broad selection of high-bitrate MP3′s, the site posts a new free track every day, and features a different album every week. They also seem to have a good number of songs that you can’t find anywhere else, so it’s definitely worth a look.