These days, most people stream music from services like Spotify, but it’s not a perfect solution. Although you get access to millions of songs for a reasonable monthly cost, you don’t actually own any of this music. If a service changes or stops, you risk losing access to everything in your library.
The alternative is to purchase your music digitally from the Apple Music app, Amazon, iTunes, or another digital storefront. But it can be expensive.
For the best of both worlds, these websites allow you to download music for free, and they are completely legal. Here are the websites you can visit to get free music.
Founded in 2008, band camp allows artists to upload their music to the site and set prices for digital music, physical albums and merchandise. Artists can add music to their Bandcamp profiles for online listening, and tracks or albums can be purchased for digital download. The website supports multiple formats, including MP3, AAC, and Ogg Vorbis, as well as lossless FLAC, ALAC, WAV, and AIFF files.
If you are looking for free downloads, look for tags such as To free and Free download. On the mobile application (for iOS and android), you will have to dig deeper; go to search, choose a genre, then select “add custom genre” to search for tags.
If you find something you want, the artist lets you pay what you want. With no minimum price in place, you can “buy” the song for $0 and download it to your computer. However, you may need to share your email with the artist or be asked to pay a little extra to add music to your Bandcamp collection, if you’re interested.
Specialized in hip-hop and rap music since 2005, Datpiff allows users to download and stream free mixtapes uploaded by up-and-coming and well-known artists including Drake, Future, Lil Wayne, Meek Mills, The Weeknd, Wiz Khalifa, and more.
Free Music Archive
Created by several community radio stations, the Free Music Archive strives to provide free music that can be downloaded and used in other creative works under Creative Commons licenses. Users can find new music by searching curated collections, specific genres, and trending music. Find a song and listen to it online or download it as an MP3 file.
FMA is under new ownership, so the service is currently in a transition period. The website remains operational and usable, but has been labeled as “static”. According to the Free Music Archive Twitter accountthe service is being revamped to improve the free product and offer premium content to subscribers.
The Internet Archive
The Internet Archive audio archive offers free access to music recordings, audiobooks, podcasts and radio programs. You can search the archives Live Music Archive to find live performances and LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection for public domain audiobooks.
Not all recordings are available for download, but those that are can be downloaded in several different file formats, including MP3, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, and more.
Jamendo has a unique setup that splits the service into two divisions: Jamendo Music, for personal use, and Jamendo Licensing, for licensing available music. The company allows artists to upload songs to Jamendo Music so users can listen to them for free and find out what they like. Artists can also earn money by making their music available for licensing deals with Jamendo Licensing.
If you are interested in free downloads for personal use, Jamendo Music (on the Web, iOSWhere android) lets you save any song from the service as an MP3 file to your computer or mobile device. All you need is an account to download songs, albums and playlists directly to your computer. There are even built-in radio stations and songs can be downloaded while playing them.
These days, Last.fm primarily focuses on recommending music to its users and does not actually host its own music. If you play a track on the site, you’ll find that it plays YouTube videos instead. If you click on a song’s download button, it will send you to Amazon, iTunes, or another destination that sells the track.
However, there is still a way to find free songs to download from the Last.fm website. Embedded in the footer of the site is the link Free music downloads. This will take you to a page with a full list of all tracks that can be downloaded for free. No login or subscription needed, and you can’t actually filter the results, but it’s worth a look.
Musopen is a nonprofit effort to make music accessible to people without copyright restrictions. This means that it primarily focuses on public domain offerings, including classical music; search by composer, period, etc.
To download anything, you will need to create an account with Musopen. Free users are limited to just five downloads per day and standard audio quality. Through subscribe to the serviceyou get unlimited downloads, HD audio quality and access to an HD radio feature.
Oriented towards the independent music scene, ReverbNation allows local artists to upload their music for fans to discover. Music can be found from the website’s Discover tab, community-driven Crowd Picks tab, genre-based playlists, or ReverbNation channels integrated into the website’s music player.
Artists have the option to add music for sale, online-only listening, or direct download. If you are looking for free music tracks, you can download songs directly from the music player. Find a track in the music player and click the + sign next to a song you want to download. If available, you can click the Download button for the MP3 file.
You can also download music directly from the artist page by clicking the download button next to the track you want. Some artists may ask for your email address in exchange for free music.
SoundCloud is the first place on the Internet where amateur artists can upload their music and get discovered. The platform primarily focuses on on-site streaming, but SoundCloud gives artists the option to make certain tracks available for free download. These files can be downloaded in AAC, AIFF, ALAC, AMR, FLAC, MP2, MP3, WAV and WMA formats.
To download a track, you must first be logged in with a SoundCloud account. Find a song you want to download and click the More Options button. If the track is available for download, you can click Download File to save the song to your computer. The mobile app (for iOS and Android) does not support downloads, however SoundCloud Go/Go+ Followers can save tracks for offline listening.
If you don’t want to mess with the other options, turn to YouTube instead. Many songs and music videos have been uploaded to the site, so it’s a gold mine for free content. If you can find the right tool to create an MP3 or MP4 file, you can have all the free music you want. Just be aware that it is not entirely legal to convert and download copyrighted content.