As far as I’m concerned, the greatest thing the internet has provided is the mountain of musical freebies – be they legal or otherwise. There has never been a period in history like this one, where so much music was just a few clicks away.
If you’re one of those nose-in-the-news types, I’m sure you’ve heard a thing or two about this SOPA bullshit. While many popular websites are staging blackouts as a protest to the anti-piracy legislation, I’d prefer to take a more direct route.
Here’s a guide to some of my most reliable methods for finding free music.
The first one is a no-brainer: torrents. If you’re still living in a cave, torrents are super-sneaky way of downloading files from multiple users at once. All you need is a simple torrent sharing program, such as BitTorrent, and suddenly a sea of free music is only a search away.
Becoming a superstar in the torrent community often leads to an invitation to one of the uber-exclusive websites, like Demonoid and ImmortalSeed. These sites host an even broader selection of goodies, including rare demos, bootlegs and unreleased material. Get into one of these and you’ll never need to buy an album again.
If you find yourself technologically inept, as I often do, there’s an even simpler, faster and more illegal way to have instant access to thousands of tracks. Search the domain of MediaFire.com for instant access to countless downloadable albums.
MediaFire is a massive file hosting website. Simply type in what you’re looking for and download the .zip file in which the album is contained. With average bandwidth, an album is downloaded in less than two minutes.
If downloading isn’t quite your thing, there are plenty of options for streaming music for free online. Although it is heavily policed by hordes of lawyers hired to defend the major labels, YouTube hosts an impressive amount of independent and eclectic music.
Other websites boast a massive catalogue of streaming audio, often utilizing a simple interface and playlist capabilities for maximum ease. GrooveShark is easily the most popular and makes it easy for users to create lengthy and diverse playlists.
Another popular website that embraces this platform is the HypeMachine. But unlike GrooveShark, it also serves as a blog aggregator and posts an up-to-the-minute list the latest music trending in the blogosphere.
And finally, for those looking for the most indie of indie, there are plenty of community-based sites that attract artists embracing the world of free music. SoundCloud is a European website that hosts a lush variety of independent artists willing to offer their tracks for free. Although it originally specialized in electronic music, musicians from nearly every genre now make use of SoundCloud to reach out to fans.
Of all the sources for free music on the internet, these are some of the most reliable that I have come across, and although I thrive off free music, I still support those artists who need the cash. Go to a show, buy a shirt; there are so many ways to support a band without buying the record. The reality is that it always costs a little bit of money to make recorded music possible.