How to find free music

20 years ago, when you wanted to find new music, you went to a record store or switched on the radio. Things have quite changed since then. In this post I list starting points for searching good free music on the internet.

Compilations & charts

These resources are a good place to start, as they do a decent job at pre-selecting their music.

  • blocSonic is both a netlabel as well as the creater of netBloc, a compilation series with now more than 30 volumes. Each compilation features some ten artists of exceptional quality. Each release is carefully assembled and runs under a common motto.
  • Phlow is an online magazine for netculture and netmusic. If features good music and is publisher of the Best Creative Commons Moments (2009 & 2010) and various compilations.
  • Darkerradio offer a monthly radio show called Free Music Charts.

Free music hosters

Music hosting plattforms offer more music than the options above. This means more chances to find something outstanding, but also more work to find that.

  • The Internet Archive is a giant repositories that hosts files of many netlabels. The advantage is that everything in one place, it has no advertisment or funky flash websites. Each release page supports direct streaming. However, the big amount of data is also its main disadvantage. There is no filter, leading to gigabytes of trash and hits side by side.
  • Jamendo is an active community. Its advantage compared to the Internet Archive is its easier accessible webpage. What I dislike most about this page is quite technical: there are no direct download links because the page finanaces through advertisement. And streaming is only possible through a custom web player, which makes it quite unattractive e.g. for my blog. But for searching good music, this page is quite suited.
  • Soundcloud might be an interesting option, too. I don’t have much experience with that plattform yet. However, the fact that Remix Artist Collective offer their music on this page, is reason enough for me to recommend it. The artist can decide if he offers his tracks only as stream or allows download as well.

Going on

Once you have found several releases you like, finding more is straight forward. Search for other releases by the same artists or by the same label. Search reviews and look to which other bands your discovery is compared. Or look for other reviews from the same reviewer. Once you have found a channel that repeatedly offers, reviews, or publishes music that fits your taste, you are done. 🙂

My routine

Having that said, here is what I do from day to day: having subscribed to the netlabel feed on the Internet Archive, I keep track of all new additions of all netlabels that host their music there.