There are a variety of sites that offer catalogs of free music to download.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images
You can find free music downloads on the internet without relying on a streaming subscription.
Sites like Free Music Archive, SoundCloud, and BandCamp make it easy to legally download music for free.
Here are seven of the best sites to download original music from.
Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.
Subscribing to a service like Spotify, Tidal, or Apple Music means you get unlimited access to millions of songs — in many ways, it’s like owning every song on Earth. But that illusion only lasts as long as you make monthly payments. If you end your subscription, you abruptly lose access to all of that music.
For a more permanent solution, you can download tracks that are yours to keep forever. And you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get those tracks, because there are websites that let you legally download music for free. Here are the best free music download websites.
Free Music Archive
FMA has a wealth of free music in a slew of genres.
Founded by East Coast radio station WFMU in 2009, Free Music Archive is a clearinghouse for free original music uploaded by independent artists. It has a clean and simple interface that’s easily browsable by a dozen genres and countless sub-genres. The site has its own player where you can make playlists, or you can download tracks and reuse them via a Creative Commons license.
SoundCloud lets artists and fans connect with the option to download some free tracks.
SoundCloud is a music streaming and sharing platform that allows artists to connect with listeners and offer tracks directly to fans. While SoundCloud has paid subscription plans, you can listen to tracks on the site for free with a basic account. Moreover, artists have the option to make their tracks available for download for free, so it’s possible to download some music in a variety of formats. To download a track, hover over it in the player and then click the three-dot More button. If it’s downloadable, you’ll see a Download file menu option.
BandCamp is a digital storefront for indie artists.
Bandcamp has been around since 2008, serving as an online storefront for independent artists who can sell their music directly to fans. If you’re a music lover, Bandcamp is like a musical candy store with content in dozens of categories from rock to reggae plus music for kids and even audiobooks. Unfortunately, Bandcamp doesn’t have a way to browse for free music baked into its navigation, but it’s still simple to do. To find free music at Bandcamp, search for “free downloads” and you can then browse tracks you can either simply download for free or name your own price (and you can name zero dollars).
The Internet Archive
The Internet Archive is a treasure trove of free audio.
The Internet Archive is a nonprofit digital library that is on a mission to curate and catalog millions of books, music, software, websites, and more. It operates the Wayback Machine, for example, which you can use to see websites as they were at various times in the past. It also has a vast library of songs, concerts, audio books, podcasts, 78 rpm records, and more in the site’s Audio Archive, where you can browse by countless filtering criteria including musical genres. Not everything here is available to download, but when music is downloadable, you have numerous file format options.
You can download free tracks from mainstream artists at NoiseTrade in exchange for your email address.
NoiseTrade is one of the unusual free music download sites you’ll encounter. A subset of the Paste Magazine website, it connects artists directly to fans by letting you stream music and, in most cases, download tracks for free. And you don’t get to choose individual tracks — if you want to download music, you get all the tracks in the collection from a particular artist in a single zip file. NoiseTrade features some mainstream artists in a wide range of genres, and the only thing you need to do to download tracks is provide your email address so artists can connect with you.
You can filter searches in ReverbNation by free tracks.
ReverbNation was launched in 2006 as a central hub for musicians, producers, venues and others in the music industry to collaborate and communicate. It’s also a venue for music fans to discover and connect with news artists. To that end, you can browse and search for music, use the built-in player, and download tracks as well. To find music that artists have designated as free to download, use the site’s search page and click the Free MP3s Required checkbox on the left. All search results will feature tracks you can download for free.
Last.fm still maintains a small collection of free tracks.
Last.fm was once a popular destination for streaming music for free in the early days of the internet, but the site discontinued its streaming services in 2014 and now serves primarily as a destination for making music recommendations based on users’ listening habits. Even so, there is still a small catalog of free music here that you can legally download for free. The Download Free Music page at Last.fm has a simple, unsearchable list of 227 songs you can play and download in MP3 format. There’s no indication of style or genre, so making use of this library requires some exploration.
Tech Insider, Tech Reference, Streaming (Reference), Free music, Download, Music, Streaming, Tech How To
All Content from Business Insider