The Internet has made it incredibly easy to get access to music and share it. With services like Pandora and Spotify, music lovers can listen to countless tracks for free.
In addition to streaming music, there are ways you can download music, and probably more legal ways to get that music than you realize. Before you download music illegally, consider these alternatives that still support artists and let you get great music for free.
1. Grab the track of the week
Sites like iTunes and Amazon often offer free music, and you can typically find new downloads each week. There isn’t much choice as far as genres, but you never know what will be free to download that you might just fall in love with.
2. Bandcamp’s pay-what-you-want model
Bandcamp gives musicians a lot of control as far as pricing, and even offers pay-what-you-want and free options. A lot of bands will upload their singles and EPs and give you free access, or let you decide how much you want to pay. Often, when musicians use the pay-what-you-want option, they’re surprised to find a lot of people will choose to pay the typical amount — or more.
3. Discover music on SoundCloud and Last.Fm
Like Bandcamp, SoundCloud and Last.Fm are great places for musicians to upload and share their music, and while all of the music is free to stream, many users choose to make their some of their tracks available to download for free as well. They’re both great places to stumble upon great music and enjoy it at no cost.
Things to remember about free music
Whenever you download free music, there are some things you should realize. Technology might be making it easier for the average musician to produce and record music, but producing high-quality music that actually sounds good still takes a lot of work.
Musicians spend time learning to compose and play, and creating their music. Then they have to record it and make it available to their fans. When you find free downloads that you like, the best thing you can do to support that band or musician — and ensure that he, she, or they will survive artistically to make more great music — is to pay them some money.
If you can’t do that, at least share the free download with friends or post it online. You can also actively promote the artist(s), and let them know you enjoy their work.