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free mp3In October 2007 the UK alternative rock band Radiohead shocked the music industry by providing a free mp3 full album download of their new album In Rainbows. Fans were asked to donate whatever they felt the album was worth. The standard CD release didn’t follow until weeks later.

No other commercially successful band had ever done this before. Nevertheless, In Rainbows entered the UK Album Chart and the U.S. Billboard 200 at number one. It became one of the best albums of 2007 and won two Grammy Awards in 2008.

Despite this roaring success, only a few major bands followed track. Offering free single mp3s, however, has become an important marketing tool for both new and established artists. For example the Dave Matthews Band has released free tracks to catch attention and promote upcoming record releases.

Here are five mp3 albums from acclaimed artists and other great bands that you can legally download for free.

Nine Inch Nails – The Slip

The Slip was released in 2008 and continues to be available as a free download. It contains 10 tracks, available in high-quality mp3, flac, m4a or wave format. All download links are emailed upon request.

free mp3 full album downloads

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The album is licensed under a Creative Commons “attribution non-commercial share alike” license. Other artists are welcome to remix the album and share their work.

Coldplay – Left Right Left Right Left

As a thank you to their fans, Coldplay started handing out a free live EP during their concerts earlier this year. Left Right Left Right Left contains nine tracks and has also been available for download through their website. After submitting details, the zip file can be downloaded directly. It contains the mp3 files and front cover album art.

free full mp3 album downloads

iLL-Literacy – iB4the1.1

In November this year the US funk band iLL-Literacy released the first chapter of their new album called iB4th1.1. The five tracks can be downloaded for free through their website. They plan to “always provide a free option for people to obtain our music, forever.” iLL-Literacy’s open-source music scheme is described in detail on their DIGIT.ILL Network page.

To download right-click each song and select “Save Link As…” from the menu.

free mp3 full album downloads

The Crimea – Secrets of the Witching Hour

The Crimea are a British indie band that has toured with several big artists, including the Stereophonics, Travis, and Kings of Leon. Their last album, Secrets of the Witching Hour, has been available for free download since 2007. It recently reached 100,000 downloads.

The zip file contains 11 tracks and a PDF with the entire album art.

free mp3 albums

Across Tundras – Herds of the Fathomless Valleys

The US rock/metal band Across Tundras released their free record Herds of the Fathomless Valleys in August this year. The zipped mp3 album is available through Mediafire. It contains six demos, three live tracks, a Pink Floyd cover, and cover album art.

download free mp3 albums

Smashing Pumpkins

In September, Smashing Pumpkin’s Billy Corgan announced that the new 44 tracks counting album Teargarden by Kaleidyscope was going to be released one song at a time starting Halloween 2009.

Corgan wrote:

Each song will be made available absolutely for free, to anyone anywhere. There will be no strings attached. Free will mean free, which means you won’t have to sign up for anything, give an email address, or jump through a hoop. You will be able to go and take the song or songs as you wish, as many times as you wish.

He has yet to keep his word as not a single song has been released to date. We will keep you posted!

Do you know of any other online places where you can download free and legal music?   Maybe you’re an up-and-coming band who would like to give out free samples of your work? Let us know in the comments.

Image credits: duchessa

  1. hotel in der tuerkei
    February 13, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Start Name,concentrate another model often conclusion entire corner neighbour school material hot structure entitle social car cut defendant just nearly station hard hospital overall there win detailed according common although child authority care own attitude point turn alternative peace expert allow up provided for despite state myself rich cut employer mind correct wide simply theory card history contact able vital urban page railway conflict relevant cost head report passage wine place increase compare check combine his that offer half library detailed god bag access person defence behaviour fear employ index noise miss tape

  2. Baxter Tocher
    December 19, 2009 at 7:52 am

    You could do much worse than visit No Error for pointers to lots of free music, updated on a daily basis:

    http://noerror.scene.org/

  3. Mandy
    December 10, 2009 at 4:14 pm
  4. yauch
    December 9, 2009 at 12:38 pm

    A lot of artists allow bootleg to be downloaded. Two examples.
    http://www.freesofree.net Dinosaur Jr bootlegs
    http://www.buttholesurfers.com/buttlegs.html Butthole Surfers bootlegs

    • Tina
      December 9, 2009 at 8:58 am

      Andrew,

      thank you for pointing out that not even Wikipedia is perfect, let go complete.

  5. JD
    December 8, 2009 at 1:52 pm

    The Watermarks share some of their albums free.

  6. Bill
    December 8, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    No love for Jaydiohead? If you like JayZ and you like Radiohead, you'll love Jaydiohead.

  7. Elvis
    December 8, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    Jay Bennett, formerly of Wilco, who passed away not long ago has an album for free download.
    http://rockproper.com/jay-bennett/whatever-happened-i-apologize.html

  8. mave2k
    December 8, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Harvey Danger has a full album on their site for free. It's actually a few years old, but it holds up really well.

  9. Bradford Taylor
    December 8, 2009 at 10:56 am

    A great band I enjoy listening to offers their albums for free online, while accepting donations of course. Brad Sucks (www.bradsucks.com) Good alternative rock kinda stuff. I first heard this music on pandora, and later found the website. Its good music ( and no im not affiliated with it )

    • Tina
      December 9, 2009 at 9:00 am

      Thank you for sharing Bradford! I like their sound.

      The correct URL for their website is http://www.bradsucks.net/

  10. Ltotheo
    December 8, 2009 at 7:14 am

    There's a wide selection on Jamendo.com

  11. Rich_Roast
    December 8, 2009 at 7:07 am

    At the risk of sounding redundant, Jamendo is a great source of Creative Commons licensed music.

    • Tina
      December 8, 2009 at 7:10 am

      Thank you for sharing Rich!

  12. Simon
    December 8, 2009 at 6:33 am

    The first Smashing Pumpkins track from Teargarden by Kaleidyscope called "a song for a son" is available to download for free from the Smashing Pumpkins website http://www.smashingpumpkins.com :)

    • Tina
      December 8, 2009 at 7:37 am

      Thank you Simon!

      Apparently, I found out minutes before your comment was moderated. "A Song for a Son" was released yesterday.

  13. Evan
    December 8, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Nice roundup. I also chose to release my album Ten and Six free in FLAC or MP3 format.

  14. Tina
    December 8, 2009 at 7:15 am

    There is news regarding the free Smashing Pumpkins album. Yesterday, the first song, "A Song for a Son", went online. You can download it from smashingpumpkins.com.

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