One of the most beautiful things about being human is our ability to appreciate music. Granted, we’re probably not the only species blessed with this capability but our intelligence and ability to recognize patterns, even in sounds, take it to another level. Before the internet became a lot more accessible, audiophiles could only really access music in two ways: through digital and analog storage media like CDs and tapes, and through the radio. The popularization of portable MP3 players like the iPod changed the landscape. They did not introduce the MP3, only innovated how it is used.
The accessibility of music through technology hasn’t only made it convenient for listeners, it’s made it convenient for creators as well (while virtually inconveniencing record labels too). What this means is there are now more musical artists out there than ever. The internet is oversaturated with euphony. There is some great music streaming services out there like Spotify and Apple Music and some of them even have free user subscriptions. The problem is the free option isn’t always as good as the paid version. So what we decided to do is a compile a list of streaming services and websites where you can download and listen to music for free. Some of these websites are as good as their paid alternatives and they are all completely legal.
Top 10 music download websites | 2019
The last two years have not been good for SoundCloud. It has been on the brink of closing down and users were waiting for it to happen like Dionysius was waiting for the sword to come down on Damocles. Fortunately, since Kerry Trainor took over in 2017, things have been stable for SoundCloud. Which is a win for all of us.
SoundCloud has always been a great platform for people to discover new artists. It works similarly to a social media site, where users create an account that allows them to follow each other, share music, create playlists and listen to and download music free online. It has a great interface and has apps for Android and iOS. It also allows you to share music through embedded links on other social media platforms like Facebook.
Jamendo is one of the oldest entries on this. Their aim has always been to connect independent musicians and artists to music lovers all over the world. Besides being one of the best free music download sites, Jamendo earns its spot on this list because of how it takes care of its musicians. Artists a paid largely through donations and listeners are encouraged to donate and support them.
You don’t have to donate in order to use the service though. Users have access to unlimited listens and downloads. All free of charge and advertisement free. Although Jamendo provides an incredible user experience through its website (which is heavy with useful features), it is also compatible with music players like VLC, Song Bird and Amarok. Which means users can integrate it with these music players and this gives you another option on how to download music for free.
The Internet Archive
If you’re looking for a website that allows you to listen to music and legally download it for free, look no further than the audio section of The Internet Archive. If you’re unfamiliar with the internet archive, it’s an online non-profit digital library whose mission statement is: “universal access to all knowledge”.
The Internet Archive allows users to download and upload media. So there’s a section specifically dedicated to community audio and sounds. The bulk of its content is either public domain or under a creative commons license. The beauty of The Internet Archive is how well organized the site is. Finding content is a breeze. If you’re downloading entire albums, it gives you a choice on how you can download them and in what formats. You can also download podcasts, audiobooks, old radio programs or just stream content if you want to. The internet archive earns its spot on our list for its variety and user-friendliness
Free Music Archive (FMA)
Another website that was unsure of its future and survival, Free Music Archive has managed to defy premature reports of its demise. In late 2018, it was announced that it could no longer sustain itself and was about to close down, fortunately, it partnered up with Kitsplit and was able to stay afloat. Free Music Archive is an active digital library in a similar vein to The Internet Archive.
Its catalog spans over 100, 000 songs and each song can be sorted according to its license and usage allowance. FMA is a great place to find new independent artists. Each artist page contains photos, a comprehensive bio, music, and links to the artist’s homepage. There are curated lists you can explore as well as weekly, monthly and all-time charts. It’s a great grassroots site that allows you to discover and download music free online.
If you’re looking for where to download free music, look no further than SoundClick. SoundClick allows you to connect directly to artists and download music from their home pages and websites. Alternatively, if you want to support these artists, you can also purchase their music. SoundClick describes itself as a music-based social community. It was founded in 1997, which makes it the oldest entry on this list.
SoundClick permits unlimited uploads of songs in MP3 file format. Not all songs are available for free download though. Some can only be streamed and others can only be purchased. SoundClick has apps for Android and iOS as well. Because of its social media-like business model and how it treats artists and users, SoundClick has earned its space on this list.
AudioMack is similar to SoundCloud both in design and what it’s publicly known for; which is hosting and streaming mixtapes and singles. AudioMack’s current focus is still on rap and electronic music. Because it’s a relatively young audio streaming service, hopefully in the not so distant future, its library will be a lot more diverse.
Artists and new users have the option to upload and download music. Verified artists are given a spotlight on the home page. Not all music is free to stream through. Some tracks are samples and you have to purchase the song in order to listen to all of it. AudioMack has a mobile version for Android and iOS as well. Though its library is limited, it definitely deserves its spot on this list.
This aptly named site allows you to share, stream and download music from independent artists. Much like BandCamp, it permits you to stream music for but requires your email address and postal code before you can actually download a song.
Albums are downloaded as compressed zip folders. NoiseTrade also allows you to search for and download free books. Even though this is a free site with free content, we suggest that you make a donation to the musical artist.
Guess what the CC in CCTrax stands for. If you guessed Creative Commons, then you guessed right. Creative common files can be used in the creation of websites and other commercial ventures, however, there are limitations. If you need to download free music for personal use then that shouldn’t be a problem. What CCTrax also does is allow musicians to dictate the limitations of the CC license pertaining to their work.
Most of the music on CCTrax is by indie artists and it could be considered hyper-niche. It’s a great place to discover unknown artists and download their work in high-quality mp3s. You can also download videos and stream curated playlists.
Amazon Music may primarily be a paid music service but it also allows users to download a ton of free music. The music isn’t limited to free artists though. There are entries by big named artists like the Foo Fighters and it offers some of the latest songs by these artists.
They do this to make their music service a lot more enticing for new users. So if you’re looking for a site that allows you to download trendy music in high-quality formats, look no further than Amazon.
Last.FM is an online music library that allows you to stream and download music. It uses a recommendation system known as Audioscrobbler to build a profile of each user’s musical taste by noting down the details of the tracks a user listens to.
It allows you to stream music by providing external links to services like YouTube and other free streaming sites. In addition to this, you can use it to download music. Unfortunately, not all music hosted on Last.Fm is free. But there are options.
Music is all around us and you shouldn’t have to break the bank to afford to listen to some. It’s important to support musical artists though, especially if you love their music. If you put an artist in a less stressful financial position, it means they are in a position to create and record better music. If you like this article, please share it so we can also be in a better position to offer you good content. We hope you found this article helpful. Thank you for reading.