Free stuff. Those two words are enough to make one kick up one’s proverbial heels and dance out of pure, plasma-searing joy. And when that free stuff comes in the form of tunes, well, then the dancing becomes quite literal.
While we know no one in our illustrious readership would ever steal music (nay! death before thieving the whiskey and cereal from the gaping maws of those starving musicians!), we understand that sometimes one just doesn’t have the capital to load up on songs on a daily basis.
That’s why we’ve gathered 10 resources for scoring tunes online for merely a song.
San Francisco-based startup MySpoonful just launched recently, touting itself as “Daily Candy for Indie Music.” Three times a week, the startup chooses a new artist, writes up a bio for the band in question and sends users a free MP3 for download.
It’s like having that dude at the record store who always knows about the newest freak folk band in your mailbox — without all the “I can’t believe you’ve never heard of these guys!” finger-wagging.
2). RCRD LBL
RCRD LBL aims to be the modern version of MTV’s 120 Minutes, a show that specialized in new, alternative music.
It’s a curated site that launched as a joint venture between Downtown Music LLC (Gnarls Barkley, Cold War Kids, Santigold), and Peter Rojas (Engadget, Gizmodo, Weblogs, Inc.), featuring music that the editors think is catching on/will be catching on soon.
The editorial team curates between five to seven MP3s daily, and users can get jams sent to their inboxes via a daily newsletter as well. Unlike sites such as Pitchfork, which condemn or commend new tunes, RCRD LBL only shares music that the staff likes. We can’t guarantee all these tunes will be to your tastes, but considering the site was an early adopter of the likes of Kid Cudi and Passion Pit, we think signing to this label seems prudent.
Do you enjoy the smooth, plasticine feeling of vinyl in your mits? Well, online record (yes, real records) store InSound has you covered when it comes to that — and the less tangible MP3 as well.
Every month, InSound sends out a downloadable, digital mixtape packed with artists both known and up-and-coming — each one has between 10 and 20 songs. The store has also just started sending out a vinyl newsletter mixtape, which features tracks from new vinyl releases (this comes out every other Thursday). The site also has a dedicated free MP3 section.
Think of Insound’s fare as your own, personal listening booth — that you can take with you.
4). The Downplayer
The Internet is crawling with free MP3s — however, unless you’re a musician in between tours without anything to do all day — it can be hard to track them down. Well, let The Downplayer be that idle band member for you.
The Downplayer is a website that is updated daily (sans weekends and holidays) with 10 new MP3s per day. Add it to your bookmarks and reap the benefits of new jams every dreary day of the work week.
You know that friend who always knows what’s going down in the reggae scene — and only the reggae scene? It’s cool that he’s so into reggae — if not a tad hilarious, considering he’s from Mount Carroll, Illinois — and he always has good recommendations when it comes to that space, but he’s not good for much else.
Well, imagine having a ton of musically inclined friends with a wide array of eclectic tastes, all down to make you a mixtape. That’s kind of what’s it’s like visiting the Free Music Archive. The Archive is populated by an array of Curators — indie radio stations, venues, art organizations, record labels etc — who all contribute content like original recordings (some of which they have produced), jams from Creative Commons and more.
So if you’re really itching to hear song tunes from Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum or a live performance by Suuns — or even some reggae — the FMA is for you.
mFlow, by its own description, is “Twitter meets iTunes,” in that it allows users to both share and buy music. In essence, it’s a music discovery service/social network.
Create a free account on mFlow, connect it to your social networks, and start searching for music. When you find something you like, you can “Flow” it (share it to your social networks) — and the first 10 songs you Flow you can download for free. You can also buy tracks.
The coolest part of this service, however, is the rewards you can reap for flowing/recommending jams. If a friend buys a song you share, you get credit for future purchases. In short: Sometimes it pays to be an overbearing music snob.
Sadly, the site is not fully available in the U.S. yet — you can still listen to Flows and download your 10 free tracks, but you can’t buy music. mFlow, however, has plans to become fully available in the U.S. toward the end of 2011.
Disrupt.fm is based on the premise that pirating music is a common occurrence — one that yields no benefit for musicians when it comes to publicity. To solve that quandary, Disupt.fm has come up with an alternative method of free music sharing.
Basically, artists can upload their music to Disrupt.fm, which users can then download for free. However, that song doesn’t just end up in the black void of a user’s iTunes library — since one is prompted to connect to Disrupt.fm via Facebook, the song is also automatically shared to the user’s Facebook wall, where it can be listened to as a stream by friends.
A frontrunner (in my opinion) in the race to replace MySpace, SoundCloud is a site where bands can share music and interact with fans. Although not all music on the site is free — some is merely streaming — bands often offer singles for download.
You can also follow your favorite bands and keep up with their doings via your Dashboard, and join groups dedicated to various kinds of jams. This is a much more active experience than some of the previous services, but diehard fans and those looking to discover new bands should definitely considering deferring to SoundCloud when MySpace goes up on the block.
Do you dig the stylings of such bands as Anamanaguchi (they scored Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game)? Well, then, you’ll love OverClocked Remix, a site dedicated to pumping out free remixes of video game music themes.
From The Goonies to Donkey Kong, artists pay tribute to game music, submit their jams, and the site releases those songs to the general public, free of charge.
Finally, something to listen to whilst playing Grand Theft Auto — besides the radio.
Love the free MP3s available on music blogs, but too lazy to actually read said music blogs (or maybe you can’t read, either/or)? Well, there’s always Ex.fm, a chrome plugin that allows you to scrape MP3s from music blogs and create playlists from that sweet, sweet residue. Just surf from blog to blog to capture the embedded tunes.
It’s important to note that the service does not actually download the MP3s it gathers — you can only stream them online. Still, it does provide a handy playlist of available songs on any given blog (not all are downloadable, however — some are just for streaming purposes) that you can then go in and nab.
Sometimes, bands choose to bestow upon us — Saint Nick-like — free downloads of their various and sundry jams. Girl Talk released his most recent disc, All Day, for free, and Trent Reznor released a preview of his The Social Network soundtrack sans fees as well.
Rock band Everest recently decided to give away music in a rather interesting way — as series of 20 or so downloadable MP3s of concerts called “The Bootleg Series.”
Jason Soda, guitarist and keyboardist for Everest, says, “For so many years people were always trying to find our music for free — illegally. [But we realized] the music industry is in such a weird state that you’re lucky that you can get people to listen to your music.”
Fans apparently appreciate the band’s willingness to share their music online — especially shows that the fans themselves have attended. “People go crazy, they want to be a part of something,” Soda says. “It’s like a makeout session with a thousand people.”
Image courtesy of Flickr/Sean Rogers/Charlie White
More Social Music Resources from Mashable:
- How To Make Your Music Video Go Viral: 10 Tips From Cee-Lo, OK Go & More
- 4 Ways Bands Can Cash in Online Without a Label
- Top 10 Twitter Tips for Bands, By Bands
- 5 Great Ways to Find Music That Suits Your Mood
- 5 Free Ways to Identify that Song Stuck in Your Head
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