“Remember when I introduced myself because you had 7,000 songs? I really wish I could raid your iTunes today. Do you have any music recommendations, music website recommendations, or do you have a blog or something? Cuz you are the music sensei.” – Emily Beyer
There’s a lot of new music listening & discovery websites popping up. Where do you start? Well I start where I can listen to the music to my own whenever I please — at home, in the airport, on the airplane, on a beach — and I can only do that if I can download it and put it on my laptop and/or iPod. Therefore, websites and programs such as iTunes, Turntable.fm, Spotify, Pandora, and Grooveshark are great for listening and discovering new music, and I highly recommend all of them for different occasions or purposes, but that’s not what this guide is about. This is about where to download the best free music (some legally, some not so much) on the internet.
Disclaimer: Yes, I download music for free. I believe in supporting artists by paying to see them perform live at concerts and music festivals, which if you know me, I do quite a bit of.
- This is one of the first websites I open each morning when I roll out of bed and can’t yet think straight enough to choose music. I open http://hypem.com, click “Popular” and hit “Play”. I’m guaranteed at least an hour of good music I’ve probably never heard before without having to touch a button.
- What is it? The Hype Machine keeps track of what music bloggers write about. They handpick a set of kickass music blogs and then present what they discuss for easy analysis, consumption and discovery. This way, your odds of stumbling into awesome music or awesome blogs are high. The Hype Machine tracks a variety of MP3 blogs. If a post contains MP3 links, it adds those links to its database and displays them on the front page.
- You can purchase a song/album straight from their page on iTunes or Amazon, or if you’re like me, you can go straight to the blog that posted a particular track (identified under every track by name) and see if it’s available as a free download. Many times it is.
If you like a song you hear and want to see if you can download it or want to just read more about it on the blog, click the blue text that will say “Posted by __ blogs” to see all the blogs that posted the song. Click the link at the end that says how long ago the song was posted to open the blog post in another tab. You can click any of links to the blogs, but I like EARMILK a lot, personally.
You can also search for remixes or new versions of songs by your favorite artists:
When you’ve found a song you like and followed its origination on a blog to download it for yourself, you might have to look on the blog post in a sea of other songs before you find the song you were looking for, but it should be there. If you see something that looks like this below, just right click on the song name and click “Save as” to download.
- How they describe themselves: “an electronic dance music blog covering the global electronic music scene, including genres such as dubstep, house, electro, electronica, dance, nu disco, indie, minimal, and nu rave.”
- A lot of the songs found on this blog are singles, remixes, or mashups hard to find for sale anywhere, anyways, and you can find a ton of really rare electronic music!
- You can find artists’ Laidback Luke, Steve Aoki, Skrillex, Boys Noize, Rusko, and Diplo latest mixes, who all happen to be performing on the HolyShip music festival cruise, where I’ll be in January!
You can search by artist, genre, or tag (i.e. Electric Zoo 2011) at the search box at the very bottom of the website, then check the genres and tags on the right next to each post in the search results to see if it’s something you’re looking for.
How to download songs on VacayWave within each post:
- What is it? SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere. Recording and uploading sounds to SoundCloud lets people easily share them privately with their friends or publicly to blogs, sites and social networks.
- I don’t use Soundcloud as often as the other websites, but every now and then I find local and/or unknown artists/DJs have posted their own mixes or remixes of songs to Soundcloud and since they’re not very popular, they usually want you to download it freely. Some of it is pretty good, but most of the time it’s a lot of amateurs.
- It’s also really easy to download the songs on SoundCloud, if it’s available for that track:
- Pretty Lights is an awesome band (and a record label) that produces amazing music and post all of their CDs for free download on their own website. They have a ton of great CDs you can download and come out with new music every 6-12 months.
- For when I can’t find anywhere else to download a song I’m dying to hear.
- NOTICE: This is by invite only. If you want an invite and think you’re worthy enough, let me know ;)
- Basically, you can download high-quality singles, entire CDs, vinyls, in any format your heart desires through bit-torrent sharing. It’s the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.
You can see a video of all the types of files and content here.