So where do you start? There are obviously thousands of hours of recorded sound available legally for free, but it is quite easy to get lost, and to end up with a large amount of downloaded music that is not representative of what is out there.

These are the places I go when I want something new to listen to and don’t have any credits left on eMusic:

  • have a page of freely available (but not always freely distributable) songs available at
  • For an example of a site that makes individual songs available in the “sampler” model, try I’ve bought a lot of music based on listening to things downloaded from here.
  • Jamendo ( have a vast array of great music licensed under Creative Commons. They also have a lot of recordings that should probably have never been made. I spend a fair bit of time playing “spot the difference”.
  • The Internet Archive ( has a lot of free music available, and if you look closely you’ll find live performances by some fairly major artists, as well as a few things also available on other sites mentioned above.
  • For an example of a net label that understands about free music you could do worse than try They released the Wind Whistles album last year which makes them great in my book.
  • For an example of a single-artist model of distribution, try I’d recommend almost anything on here really.

I’d like to recommend iTunes singles of the week, but they need to strip the DRM off first. Although I should say that I did buy something on iTunes this week which plays fine in Rhythmbox, so the claims of trying to make their music more accessible to non iTunes/iPod users are not just an empty promise.