The 15 Best Free Music Download Sites

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If you've ever tried to download free music online, then you know just how frustrating the experience can be. You have to worry about viruses, risk coming across illegal copies, and feel guilty about ripping off artists. It doesn't have to be that way. We've combed the web and found 15 music download sites that actually work.

These websites made the cut because they host tons of music and offer well organized and easily searchable databases. Best of all, they are completely free and legal.  

Noise Trade

Noise Trade is a sleek music-sharing site where artists can create widgets to share music, both within the site and on their personal social media accounts. The tagline is fantastic and explains it all: "Free albums from thousands of artists who would love to meet you."

You can download songs for no charge and tip if you like what you hear. The hip-hop section is vast and the folk and indie scenes are quickly picking up steam, though there are great finds in every genre.

The site allows you to browse through top downloads or check out the most recent shares. There's also a very useful newsletter that sends new suggestions to your inbox weekly.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal music downloads, offering over 100,000 songs. Launched in 2009, it is backed and curated by WFMU, a well-known Jersey City radio station and enlists people from other radio stations to join in the curation. That means you can trust the source and discover some amazing new recommendations from the pros.

All the tracks have been pre-cleared by the rights holders and are free for listening and educational use. However, you do need to check each track because the artists determine what rights they want to offer for each. It is possible to find some great background music for a video or audio productions as well.

You can search by a curator or by genre, from hip-hop to pop. And, just like Noise Trade, you have the option to tip the artist if you really love the work.

Jamendo

Jamendo is one of the largest sites in the world to service both fans looking for music to download and artists who want credit for their work. It has a collection of over 400,000 songs and you can stream for free, too.

The entire site functions under a Creative Commons agreement. Users can search from thousands of free music tracks uploaded by the artists themselves. Artists get a chance to gain popularity and possibly sell a commercial license for the use of their songs. Best of all, though, is that music-lovers can download music guilt-free.

If you're looking for production music, Jamendo offers a royalty-free service for that as well. Brick-and-mortar store owners may also want to check into their radio subscription service. The cost is minimal and allows you to choose the station that fits the mood of your business.

Bandcamp

Bandcamp is a great place to find new up and coming artists, as well as established artists in every genre. It's an artist-direct music sharing site that allows fans to directly support the musicians they enjoy. They even state, "We treat music as art, not content," a statement many music fans can appreciate.

Similar to other sites of this model, Bandcamp offers music in a variety of ways. Some tracks are given away for free, others ask you to pay what you like, and some may be offered at a set price. The site also highlights new artists every day, so it's a great way to discover fantastic new additions to your playlist.

Last.fm

Last.fm is more than just a place to grab free tunes. It's a combo radio-social networking site and the features are nearly endless.

On Last.fm, you can discover new music, track your listening habits, and, of course, download free MP3s from the likes of Bon Iver, Yeasayer, Sufjan Stevens and more. It also offers a community where you can share the tunes your into and discover what other users with the same taste are listening to.

Pure Volume

Pure Volume is an artist-share site where fans can discover an awesome variety of emerging artists. Not only can you find music downloads, the site also offers the latest on independent festivals and events.

The homepage of Pure Volume is filled with highlighted artists for you to explore and it rotates regularly, making it a new experience with every visit. You can look for music to download by checking out featured artists, top songs, top downloads, and past features.

Epitonic

Epitonic's tagline is simply "the center of sound" and is home to "thousands of free and legal carefully curated MP3s." The site, which has been around since 1999, features a mix of songs across every genre from math rock to new wave. You'll find songs by the likes of Run the Jewels, Freddie Gibbs, Sonic Youth, and Metric, among others.

You don't have to register to download. Simply navigate to a selection of songs or run a search. With one touch of the button, you're ready to enjoy a diverse array of songs, old and new. The site is also adorned with featured playlists, exclusive label releases, and music articles that will guide you to many new discoveries as well.

MP3.com

MP3.com is a well-organized music sharing site and it works like many of the newer download sites. Artists can upload their music and offer it to fans who can download to their heart's content. It's an excellent way to discover new music directly from the talented artists who created it.

MP3.com has an easy search function and you can seamlessly browse music by genre or time period. Whether you're into folk or hardcore, electronic or country, there's a lot to choose from.

Soundowl

Soundowl is a free music download site that features songs in just about every genre you can come up with: rap, trap, dubstep, house, electro, moombahton. It also offers tons of instrumentals, in case you're looking to bust a freestyle or something.

The interface is clean and minimalist. Just plug in the name of a song or artist you want to experience and it returns a list of tracks. You can definitely browse by genre or just hit shuffle to randomize your selection and enjoy the surprise.

SoundOwl promotes itself as an artist-friendly site. To keep the site legal, they've partnered with Copyseeker to catch and remove copyright violators.

Soundcloud

Soundcloud is a blessing for music enthusiasts. Not all of the songs on the website are downloads, but a huge amount of them are available with the click of a button.

The site boasts a clean streaming interface, a great community, and more free stuff than you can consume in a lifetime. Like a number of these sites, Soundcloud offers both Android and iOS apps if prefer your freebie on the go.

Incompetech

Incompetech is the ideal site for all your royalty-free music needs. Whatever your project, from YouTube videos to amateur films and games to office presentations, this is an excellent source. It's perfect for anyone who can’t afford the exorbitant licensing fees associated with commercial music.

Unlike many of the sites on this list, Incompetech is basically a one-man machine. The founder Kevin MacLeod explains the philosophy behind giving away his music for free: “There are a lot of schools with no money, and plenty of filmmakers who want to have music - but can't afford to clear copyrights from the existing systems that are set up. I believe that copyright is badly broken, so I chose a license that allows me to give away the rights I wish to surrender.”

If you decide to use any of the songs for commercial purposes, be sure to give ownership credit. As with other sites, read the license agreements carefully before downloading any songs.

Public Domain 4U

Public Domain 4U is more than just a library of free songs. It's also a window into great historical music recordings. It does a fantastic job of combining legally free and carefully curated music with a historical perspective.

This is one of only a handful of venues on the web where you can enjoy beautiful recordings and learn about old timers like blues legend Big Joe Williams and Cajun artists, Joe and Cléoma Falcon. It is a blast from the past and an ideal way to explore the great voices you may have missed.

Bump Foot

Bump Foot has been around since 2005 and focuses primarily on techno, trance, ambient, IDM, dance, and electronic music. The site doesn't have a native player, but you can download MP3s or launch individual tracks in your web browser.

It also offers mixes with names like "bump200" and "foot242." These typically contain anywhere from 9 to 20 songs. You can grab the entire batch at once or pick out solo tunes.

The Japan-based site allows you to copy, distribute and adapt the work as you wish. Basically, share as you like, as long as it's not for commercial purposes. It's a great database with tons of songs if you're passionate about the genres it caters to.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a well-known website that prides itself on storing old versions of millions of websites. A division of that is their Audio Archive project and it is an audiophile's dream.

The idea is that the archive retains "snapshots" of internet content from the past and stores it for research and public use, so nothing gets lost as the web progresses. Within the Audio Archive collection, you will find music as well as audiobooks, interviews, news broadcasts, and even old-time radio shows.

It's a massive collection of free downloads, offering over 200,000 recordings. There's no chance you'll get bored with this resource anytime soon.

Amazon

Amazon is the leading online retailer and you can certainly go to the website to purchase whatever music you like. Believe it or not, Amazon also offers a vast supply of freebies. Granted, there may only be a track or two from one artist and Amazon hopes you return to buy something, but it is a nice way to score some free downloads.

You can search free songs by genre and you'll notice quite a few options for children's music, relaxation tracks, and holiday songs. If you're looking for any of those specialties, in particular, Amazon is a great source. They do have other genres like blues, classic rock, and pop, but the selection in those are limited.

The free music list is a little difficult to find from the main website, so you'll want to follow this direct link.

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Adaso, Henry. "The 15 Best Free Music Download Sites." ThoughtCo, Oct. 17, 2017, thoughtco.com/best-free-music-download-sites-2857992. Adaso, Henry. (2017, October 17). The 15 Best Free Music Download Sites. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/best-free-music-download-sites-2857992 Adaso, Henry. "The 15 Best Free Music Download Sites." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/best-free-music-download-sites-2857992 (accessed November 19, 2017).