Someone once told me that ‘free’ doesn’t exist. Today it almost looks as if the whole world is trying to prove him wrong.
Just look at MakeUseOf, the site you’re hopefully browsing at the moment. Where in the world can you buy a magazine with (currently) 1,754 articles for free? (more if you include the Directory and Geeky Fun).
‘Free’ does exist, and it’s brought to us through the internet.
Last week we saw industry quality open-source games with Yo Frankie. This week, we’ll take a look at the audio visual side. Free industry quality movies are pretty scarce but free music can be found in many places. So, enter what in my opinion are the best sites to download free music.
Not the torrent or limewire kind; the I-take-it-without-paying-so-it’s free, but music released under creative licenses, by people who don’t think music should be a business. People who sing for emotions, not money.
All the music available on Jamendo is released under the Creative Commons license. This means that it can be freely listened to and used and redistributed under the same license.
The artists then get rewarded via user donations and revenues from the Jamendo’s commercial programs and partnerships.
You can browse through over 150,000 tracks by artist, album and genre, or you can use the tags for quick navigation.
All of the tracks and albums are available for download without any needed registration and can be shared over the internet using widgets.
CCHits is a great website to find and share music under the Creative Commons license.
All the songs can be played on the spot and downloaded in MP3 format. You can browse through the different songs by date, the number of hits, or by using tags. Alternatively, you can also search through the database.
The site uses a digg-like system, in which you can ‘like’ a song. This will increase both the song’s rating and also allow you to find it easily again at a later moment.
To give songs your ‘liking’, see your listening history and your liked songs, you’ll need a Ning account. Signing up is a very quick and easy process.
The song database is somewhat limited at the moment, but this website is destined for growth. You can always help by uploading your own songs to the website.
Amie Street is an online marketplace for music by independent artists.
As you may have deducted from the word ‘marketplace’, not all music on this site is free, only the yet-undiscovered ones.
This is how it works: Initially, about all of the music that appears on Amie Street gets released without a price – you can then download it without paying a dime. However, as the popularity of the piece increases, the price goes up.
The trick is to browse the new releases, and find the musical pearls between them. Note that signing up is required to download an album.
Another great feature is that you can earn credits by recommending songs to friends – up to 98 cents per song – which you can use to buy some of the premium songs. The retail price of these premium songs never goes over 98 cents apiece either.
Check out our earlier story on Amie Street.
ccMixter hosts many a capellas and samples which can be freely downloaded and resampled by remixers. The samples can be ordered based on various categories, popularity, beats per minute, or can be looked through using search queries and tags. In short, a great place for DJs and alike to find free samples.
A lot of these remixes have also been reposted on the website, for video-makers to use or music lovers to enjoy. Among these remixes are some really high-quality works, that even most people with less interest in the genre (like me) will enjoy.
Just like flash games and movies, lots of royalty-free songs are released daily on Newgrounds by aspiring musicians.
The author must be credited upon redistribution, and the music can only be used for non-commercial purposes. If you just want to play it on your computer though, there’s even less you need to worry about.
The major part of the songs consist of house and trance music, but pop, rock and even classical music is represented. Though a lot of the songs are only good to use in flash games and movies, there are also a ton of songs that wouldn’t look out of place on the average radio station.
Do you know of any other good site to download free legal music? Do you want to share a song with the other readers? Give your opinions and suggestions a nice home in the comments section below.
Picture Credits: marimoon