The Best Places to Download Free Music

From retailer mix tapes to repositories on the web, here are a handful of ways to obtain and download free music.

In the age of digital music, it's easy to download whatever song that may strike your fancy with just a click of a mouse. But even though doing so will only cost you about a buck per track, filling your library (or even just building a new playlist) in this fashion can add up pretty quickly.

A smart music fan should thus always be on the lookout for opportunities to get free music online, as well as promotions and credits for free music downloads. Here's a look at the best places to access the music of top artists, discover up-and-coming bands, and reminisce with oldies, all without shelling out any cash. (And check out our freebie hub to find deals on your other favorite goods and services.)

Free Playlists Curated by Music Magazines and Blogs

Blogs like Stereogum, Spinner, and Pitchfork have a loyal following of millenials on the hunt for the latest tunes to emerge from the indie biosphere, and not only do these culture hubs provide ample music streams on a regular basis, but many also dole out downloads too. Stereogum offers downloadable monthly MP3 mixes of 12 or 13 tracks featuring everyone from electronic newcomers like Nicolas Jaar to well-known indie bands such as Tegan & Sara and Phoenix. Similarly, Spinner offers free daily MP3 downloads, and Spin Magazine has a free monthly iTunes list inspired by its print publication. Fans can read artist reviews and then download artists' music at no cost, seamlessly taking the magazine experience online and then on the go.

Free Music Downloads from Digital Content Vendors

Digital content giants like Amazon and iTunes charge for the majority of available MP3s and albums, but they also maintain a substantial free database of singles for download. Amazon's collection of free MP3s currently stands at 54,796 and features tracks from Blondie, The Walkmen, and The Generationals, but the available free songs aren't likely to include top radio hits like the latest from Beyonce or Daft Punk. For loyal Amazon customers, however, rewards cards and subsequent credits can be put towards purchasing the songs and albums that aren't free. Plus many electronics and media purchases at Amazon come bundled with free MP3 credits.

What's more, the audiophile who has let his once-impressive CD collection collect dust can regain his pride knowing that Amazon's AutoRip feature entitles customers who have ever purchased a CD on Amazon to a free digital copy of that album. And unlike your CD collection, the tunes are stored clutter- and dust-free in Amazon's Cloud Player.

iTunes also offers free content, found under the "iTunes for Free" section of its Music Store. However, the selection is limited in both how long the item is available for at a discount, and in the singles on hand at one time.

Music Freebies from Retailers

In order to transition from being just a "hipster clothing mecca" to becoming an all-encompassing "lifestyle guru," Urban Outfitters doles out five free songs every Monday in-store, in addition to offering free music online via its downloadable playlists. The latter promotion is on a less periodic basis, but includes 20 or more tracks, presumably to keep its customer base coming back to the website — and to further tempt customers into buying a shirt or two while there.

Starbucks also offers its "Picks of the Week" exclusively to its coffee community. Though you used to have to sit in the store and log on to the store's free WiFi to access the free weekly download, now you can get it from the store's app, too. Successful Picks of the Week in the past have included Dave Matthews Band's "If Only" and Adele's "Rumor Has It." You'll be able to collect a broad range of your Top 100 favorites if you use the app or frequent the coffee shop on a weekly basis.

Free MP3s from Internet Radio is primarily a free streaming internet radio, but it also boasts a decent selection of free MP3 downloads. Once you click on the free downloads section, you can peruse through pages of MP3s that are categorized by genre to find artists like Best Coast, Sufjan Stevens, Yeasayer, and Cloud Nothings. You can even search by decade to find tracks from the 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s.

Free Music Repositories on the Web

Looking for something new? Discover new music from less well-known musicians via one of several free music repositories on the web. The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of legal audio downloads from WFMU, a New Jersey-based radio station with curators who select and upload music. Jamendo similarly links artists who want to share their music to eager audiences through a Creative Commons license which ensures legal sharing. The library of tracks ranges from folk artists like Tamara Laurel to pop-rockers Much Ado About Nothing. You probably won't find mainstream tracks here, but you can unearth talented new musicians and browse by popularity.

Buy One Movie Ticket, Get Music Free

Fandango recently started to offer freebies from the soundtracks of some of our favorite blockbusters. With the purchase of select movies tickets, movie-goers can acquire credits on Amazon or iTunes, and score a free song from, say, Man of Steel or Despicable Me 2.

With plenty of ways to access free music online, everyone can create new, personalized playlists for next to nothing, and though we'll always loyally purchase tunes from our favorite artists no matter the cost, it's nice to be able to soften that blow to our wallet with some freebies.

Summar Ghias
Contributing Writer

Summar Ghias is a writer and social worker. A former assistant editor at Budget Travel, Ghias has freelanced at Discover, People, In New York,, and AOL Travel among others.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).


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You've had a year since the best comments mentioned Noisetrade. This post was updated was 2 weeks ago. Hmmm. You are really missing out on one of THE best sources. So much so that you should check it out and edit that in before yet another year passes.
My favorite is which contains the complete Sony Music Entertainment Library, among many more. You access it through many local library websites. Everyone with a Palm Beach County Library card gets 3 free mp3s weekly. The top ten albums for the week of 6-24-14 are;
Lazaretto Jack White
Platinum Miranda Lambert
Stay Gold First Aid Kit
Blood For Blood HELLYEAH
Greatest Hits 1 & 2 Journey
XSCAPE Michael Jackson
The 20/20 Experience Justin Timberlake
Love In The Future John Legend
G I R L Pharrell Williams
Midnight Memories One Direction
I use Streamripper to capture internet radio stations.
Don't forget which has a huge library of concert recordings (mostly audience recordings, but some soundboards).
I think you really missed the mark by not including Noise Trade in this article. I believe it provides better content than most of what is mentioned above including full albums and EPs from many mainstream and indie artists. I think DealNews should link to new albums listed on Noise Trade whenever more popular artists are posted on the site!