Find free music on the web

An awesome article on LifeHacker that should come in handy someday. Of course, it might need to be updated for 2006.

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by Gina Trapani

Your digital music collection is crying out for new songs. Sure you could hit up the iTunes Music Store, or rip another CD, or fire up your P2P software and pray the RIAA doesn’t eat your firstborn – but the plain ol’ web is an untapped goldmine of audio. If you’re willing to branch out beyond the Top 40, have a gander at six of my favorite places to find tunes on the web.

Google

googlelogo.gifUse Google operators to find unprotected directories of audio files or files of type .mp3. As suggested by this Google Tutor & Advisor article, a Google search like this:
-inurl:(htm|html|php) intitle:"index of" +"last modified" +"parent directory" +description +size +(wma|mp3) "Kleptones"
Turns up several directory listings of Kleptones MP3’s. Replace “Kleptones” with the artist, genre or keyword of your liking.

Singing Fish

If you don’t want to screw around with nutty Google operators, check out Singing Fish, an exclusively audio and video search engine. See most popular searches and easily filter by file type and duration.

Webjay

webjay.jpgWebjay is a playlist community. Webjay users create lists of songs that exist all over the Web in different formats. Browse around Webjay playlists and play them in a variety of music players – from Winamp to iTunes to RealPlayer. Not all formats are supported by all players, so it takes some patience to find what works with your software.

Webjay also has the “Play this page” bookmarklet which will generate a playlist from a list of music files on a web page. Snag that bookmarklet to help yourself sample songs from the sources mentioned here.

del.icio.us social bookmarks

Bookmark aggregator del.icio.us filters its bookmarks by filetype – which means http://del.icio.us/tag/system:media:audio will give you a page of audio files, http://del.icio.us/tag/system:filetype:mp3 will give you a page of MP3’s, and http://del.icio.us/tag/system:filetype:mp3+mashups will give you a page of MP3’s tagged mashup. You can play del.icio.us music directly on the page or subscribe to del.icio.us audio in iTunes and get new songs automatically using iTunes’ Podcasting feature.

popularmp3s.jpgThe good stuff floats to the top, so the most popular del.ici.us MP3’s are almost always worth a listen.

Amazon

amazon.gifAmazon’s Top Free Music downloads updates every six hours with DRM-free and legal tracks Amazon users like the most. This previously-mentioned Greasemonkey script will make DL’ing the Amazon tunes easier for Firefox users.

MP3 blogs

Tons of music bloggers post MP3’s for download almost daily (shout-out to my personal favorite, Stereogum!). To get you started, the Tofu Hut blog has an insanely long list of MP3 blogs, as does this classic Metafilter post. Once you find the MP3 blogs that you like, download songs from them automatically. Command-line lover Jeff Veen has a great method using the wget utility to fetch audio files listed on web sites you specify in a text file. Check out his instructions on how to wget new music every day.

Also, The Hype Machine is an MP3 blog aggregator that gathers all the audio links on MP3 blogs into one place. (Thanks, Tim!)

Note: Some of these sources guarantee legal downloads (like Amazon). Others are aggregators and search engines that may or may not include links to pirated songs. Lifehacker doesn’t condone piracy, but we sure do encourage readers to support musicians in their music-making endeavors. Lots of working musicians offer free downloads of their music to advertise. So go ahead and explore the “long tail,” sample music from artists you never heard, and then head over to their web site and buy the album.

Where do you find new music on the web? Let us know in the comments…

2 thoughts on “Find free music on the web”

  1. You could also search for Independent record labels that are generous enough to give away a lot of groovy free mp3s in order to attract subscribers.
    Drop by http://astronomyrecords.com to experience what quality independent music has to offer. As a record label, our job is to keep the standard of the music high and also to keep you, the music listeners happy.
    Keep looking up!

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