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best websites for free music

10 Best Sites for Free Music Downloads

Dwight Pavlovic
Reading time: 7 minutes
Streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music may get a lot of attention, but did you know that high-quality free music downloads are more accessible than ever? These free music sites have become a major part of how music lovers find new artists and songs. Even artists themselves use these sites to source legal audio to create their next song.
Free music websites provide a huge advantage for anyone who wants to save some money every month and avoid another subscription fee. And in this article, we rounded up 10 of the best and most popular free music websites, including Bandcamp, Audiomack, and Soundclick.

1. Bandcamp

Bandcamp may have plenty of digital and physical media for sale, including vinyl, CDs, and T-shirts, but the site is also a major source of free music. Artists can make their releases available as a “Free Download” or “Pay What You Want,” including the low price of $0. Listeners can also download songs in different formats, including the traditional MP3 file to higher-quality file types like FLAC, WAV, and AIFF.
The only challenge you may face is discovery. While the platform is packed with free content, the only way to find music for free on Bandcamp is through tags like “free download” or “creative commons.” However, if you take the time to explore the site, you can find an array of options. Simply use the search bar at the top of the site or Bandcamp’s tag browser to find your next favorite release.
Key features:
  • Lots of free and pay-what-you-want downloads
  • Wide variety of audio content and genres
  • Audio available in high-quality formats

2. Free Music Archive

In 2019, Dutch music services firm Tribe of Noise purchased the Free Music Archive (FMA). Founded by New Jersey-based community radio station WFMU in 2009, FMA has been a popular free music destination for years. And even though Tribe of Noise has made a few changes, the original archive is intact.
Big changes include a diminished role for curators, and the addition of premium content tailored specifically to producers. Fortunately, the original archives are still a great way to explore a variety of genres for music that’s free to enjoy or use in your own creative projects. Different Creative Commons have different requirements, but some amount to “no questions asked.”
Key features:
  • Huge archive of free music
  • Wide variety of audio content and genres
  • Premium content available with Tribe of Noise Pro

3. The Internet Archive

The Internet Archive is a non-profit founded in 1996 and it’s absolutely brimming with content. The organization maintains the popular Wayback Machine (where you can see defunct websites), and actively “archives the internet itself.” The Internet Archive offers no products or services, and instead focuses on preservation.
When you search for audio on the Internet Archive, you’ll find a massive number of options to browse. These include high-quality audio files and public content in genres ranging from hip-hop to classical music. The Live Music Archive and LibriVox Free Audio collection are great hubs, and you can explore thousands of netlabel releases and even a never-ending vault of Grateful Dead rarities.
Key features:
  • Includes niche mediums like audio books and poetry
  • Wide variety of audio content and genres
  • Also features video, text, images, and more

4. Jamendo Music

Based in Luxembourg, Jamendo Music provides free streaming and download services with licensing for artists. That means Jamendo’s audio catalog is more strictly curated than other websites on our list, with A&R services that help artists find partnerships for monetizing their content.
On the user side, Jamendo is divided into a streaming/download section and a content licensing section. From its main interface, you have several ways to find new music. Explore music using tags and playlists, check out genre-based Radio stations, and listen to spotlighted albums and mixes.
Key features:
  • Focused on free streaming music and independent artists
  • Curated catalog with artist services
  • Paid content for commercial uses

5. Beatstars

Beatstars is primarily a platform for producers to buy and sell beats, but the site also provides a ton of free music downloads. While not every track on the platform is freely available, you can download most of them for free. Just look for the “Free” tag to find options to download files.
The cost of free downloads is offset by charging beatmakers to use tracks in their works. Licensing is a major part of Beatstars’ business model, and Lil Nas X actually bought the beat for “Old Town Road” at Beatstars. The site also has a very popular mobile app you can download from Google Play and the App Store.
Key features:
  • Focused on beats and beat-making
  • Partnership with Sony Music Publishing
  • Popular apps for mobile

6. YouTube Audio Library

Youtube best website for free music.jpg
YouTube is one of the most popular places for music and video on the web, but there’s more to the site than you may know. The YouTube Audio Library is a convenient source for royalty-free audio that you can filter based on genre and mood, or search for artists and content you know.
The YouTube Audio Library has two rules:
  1. You can’t resell audio as a standalone item. For example, you can’t sell downloads of unaltered content.
  2. You may not use the music illegally or with illegal content.
There’s not too much to worry about, then, especially if you’re looking for music to use in a video, podcast, or any other creative/commercial application. Simply hover over the date added in the index and click the download button.
Key features:
  • Dedicated to royalty-free content
  • Few restrictions and multiple license types
  • Simple interface and navigation with search filters

7. Audiomack

Since its launch in 2012, Audiomack has grown into a major platform for music lovers and artists alike. And in the coming years, Audiomack plans to expand the ways in which artists and fans can connect with one another, monetize their content, and more. While listening is always free, it’s up to rights holders to determine what songs you can download.
Audiomack continues to grow thanks to an active community of listeners and successful partnerships with artists, including major releases with Chance the Rapper and Nicki Minaj. It also has an extremely popular mobile app you can download via Google Play and the App Store.
Key features:
  • You can access everything for free
  • Wide variety of audio content and genres
  • Popular apps for mobile

8. DatPiff

Unlike other free music download sites, DatPiff focuses almost exclusively on mixtapes and hip-hop. This makes it a great place to discover new artists and hear material from some of the biggest names in the genre. Plus, some projects may be attributed to a particular artist, but they often include numerous guest appearances, remixes, and demos or alternative takes.
DatPiff offers both free and paid content, but there are some restrictions to using the site. Registered users have a daily download limit, and unregistered users can only access content for free if the artist or label “sponsors” more downloads. You can also download DatPiff’s apps on Google Play and the App Store.
Key features:
  • Strong focus on mixtapes
  • Free and premium content
  • Popular apps for mobile

9. Museopen

One of the only other official non-profits on our list, Museopen was founded in 2012 “to increase access to music education by providing free music recordings, sheet music, apps, and educational material.”
To meet this goal, the site hosts a royalty-free music archive and a streaming radio station, both of which center on classical music. There are also educational resources for classical music fans, including a significant library of free sheet music.
While paid accounts offer more opportunities for access and downloads, you can download up to 5 songs per day for free.
Key features:
  • Strong emphasis on education
  • Streaming and download library focused on classical music
  • Provides other resources for students and educators

10. SoundClick

SoundClick is another long-standing platform in the world of free music on the web. While its library is varied and diverse, hip-hop is the most prominent genre represented on the site. Plus, the user interface is very accessible and easy to use with smooth navigation and convenient features like light and dark modes.
While there are premium account options for artists, listener accounts are completely free. However, like some other platforms on our list, you can’t download everything from Soundclick for free. What is available, though, is vast and varied. And who knows, you may just find your new favorite artist when you explore the millions of tracks available on this site.
Key features:
  • Broad artist and user base
  • Free membership or paid account options
  • Includes a variety of community features

Finding music to download for free

The search for free music really comes down to your needs. The best free music download sites sometimes emphasize accessibility and variety, like Bandcamp and the Internet Archive. Others are more tailored to specific niches, like Beatstars for producers and the YouTube Audio Library for all kinds of creators. Just choose the right fit for you – or try something new! – and start exploring.
About the Author: Dwight Pavlovic is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Dwight is a music and technology writer based out of West Virginia.

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