The Best Free Music Download Sites

These sites remove worries over finding illegal copies or ripping off artists

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If you've ever tried to download free music online, then you know just how frustrating the experience can be. You have to worry about viruses, risks from coming across illegal copies, and guilt about ripping off artists. It doesn't have to be that way. These websites host tons of music and offer well organized and easily searchable databases. Best of all, they are completely free and legal.  

Noise Trade

Noise Trade is a sleek music-sharing site where artists can create widgets to share music, both within the site and on their personal social media accounts. The tagline says it all: "Free albums from thousands of artists who would love to meet you." Another banner explains "NoiseTrade helps both artists and labels connect directly with fans through the exchange of email addresses and postal codes."

You can download songs for no charge and leave a tip if you like what you hear. The hip-hop section is vast and the folk and indie scenes are quickly picking up steam, though there are great finds in every genre.

The site lets you browse top downloads and check out the most recent shares. There's also a newsletter that sends useful weekly suggestions to your inbox.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal music downloads, offering over 100,000 songs. Launched in 2009, it is backed and curated by WFMU, a well-known Jersey City radio station, and enlists people from other stations to join in the curation, so you can discover some amazing recommendations from the pros.

All the tracks have been cleared by the rights holders and are free for listening and educational use. However, you must check each track because the artists determine what rights they offer. It's possible to find some great background music for video or audio productions as well.

You can search by curator or genre, from hip-hop to pop. And, as with Noise Trade, you can tip the artist if you love the work.


Jamendo is one of the largest sites worldwide that services fans looking for music to download and artists who want credit for their work. You can stream the collection of over 400,000 songs for free.

The site functions under a Creative Commons agreement. Users can browse thousands of free music tracks uploaded by the artists themselves. Artists can gain popularity and possibly sell commercial licenses for the use of their songs. The bottom line is that music-lovers can download music guilt-free.

If you're looking for production music, Jamendo offers a royalty-free service for that as well. Bricks-and-mortar store owners may want to check into its radio subscription service, which allows you to choose the station that fits the mood of your business for a minimal cost.


Bandcamp is a great place to find up-and-coming as well as established artists in every genre. It's an artist-directed music sharing site that allows fans to directly support the musicians they enjoy. Many fans will appreciate the slogan: "We treat music as art, not content."

Like many other sites, Bandcamp offers music in a variety of ways. Some tracks are given away for free, some are offered at a set price, while others ask you to pay what you like. The site highlights new artists every day, so it's a great way to discover new additions for your playlist. is more than just a place to grab free tunes. It's a combo radio-social networking site with nearly endless features.

Here you can discover new music, track your listening habits, and, of course, download free MP3s from the likes of Bon Iver, Yeasayer, Sufjan Stevens, and more. It also offers a community where you can share tunes you like and discover what other users who share your tastes are listening to.


Epitonic's tagline is simply "the center of sound" and is home to "thousands of free and legal carefully curated MP3s." The site, which has been around since 1999, features a mix of songs across genres from math rock to new wave. You'll find songs by the likes of Run the Jewels, Freddie Gibbs, Sonic Youth, and Metric, among others.

You don't have to register to download. Simply navigate to a selection of songs or run a search. With one touch of the button, you're ready to enjoy a diverse array of songs, old and new. The site also is adorned with featured playlists, exclusive label releases, and music articles that will guide you to many new discoveries. is a well-organized music sharing site that works like many of the newer download sites. Artists can upload their music and offer it to fans, who can download to their heart's content. It's an excellent way to discover new music directly from the talented artists who created it. has an easy search function and you can seamlessly browse music by genre or time period. Whether you're into folk or hardcore, electronic or country, there's a lot to choose from.


Soundowl is a free music download site that features songs in nearly every genre you can come up with: rap, trap, dubstep, house, electro, moombahton. It also offers tons of instrumentals, in case you're looking to bust a freestyle.

The interface is clean and minimalist. Just plug in the name of a song or artist you want to experience and it returns a list of tracks. You can browse by genre or hit shuffle to randomize your selection and enjoy the surprise.

SoundOwl promotes itself as an artist-friendly site. To keep the site legal, it's partnered with Copyseeker to catch and remove copyright violators.


Soundcloud is a blessing for music enthusiasts. Not all the songs on the website are downloads, but a huge number are available with the click of a button.

The site boasts a clean streaming interface, a great community, and more free stuff than you can consume in a lifetime. Like many sites, Soundcloud offers both Android and iOS apps if you prefer your freebie on the go.


Incompetech is the ideal site for all your royalty-free music needs. Whatever your project, from YouTube videos to amateur films and games to office presentations, this is an excellent source. It's perfect for anyone who can’t afford the exorbitant licensing fees associated with commercial music.

Unlike many sites, Incompetech is basically a one-man machine. Founder Kevin MacLeod explains the philosophy behind giving away his music for free: “There are a lot of schools with no money, and plenty of filmmakers who want to have music but can't afford to clear copyrights from the existing systems that are set up. I believe that copyright is badly broken, so I chose a license that allows me to give away the rights I wish to surrender.”

If you decide to use any of the songs for commercial purposes, be sure to give ownership credit. As with other sites, read the license agreements carefully before downloading any songs.

Public Domain 4U

Public Domain 4U is more than just a library of free songs. It's a window into great historical music recordings. It does a fantastic job of combining legally free and carefully curated music with a historical perspective.

This is one of only a handful of sites on the web where you can enjoy beautiful recordings and learn about old timers such as blues legend Big Joe Williams and Cajun artists Joe and Cléoma Falcon. It is a blast from the past and an ideal way to explore great voices you may have missed.

Bump Foot

Bump Foot has been around since 2005 and focuses primarily on techno, trance, ambient, IDM, dance, and electronic music. The site doesn't have a native player, but you can download MP3s or launch individual tracks in your web browser.

It also offers mixes with names such as "bump200" and "foot242." These typically contain from nine to 20 songs. You can grab the entire batch at once or pick out solo tunes.

The Japan-based site allows you to copy, distribute, and adapt the work as you wish. Basically, share as you like, as long as it's not for commercial purposes. It's a great database with tons of songs if you're passionate about the genres it caters to.

Internet Archive

Internet Archive is a well-known website that prides itself on storing old versions of millions of websites. One of its divisions, Audio Archive, is an audiophile's dream.

The archive stores "snapshots" of Internet content from the past for research and public use, so nothing gets lost as the web progresses. In the Audio Archive collection you will find music as well as audiobooks, interviews, news broadcasts, and even old-time radio shows.

It's a massive collection of free downloads, with over 200,000 recordings. There's little chance you'll get bored with this resource anytime soon.


Amazon is the leading online retailer, where you can purchase whatever music you like. Believe it or not, though, Amazon offers a vast supply of freebies. There mighty be only a track or two from one artist and Amazon hopes you return to buy something, but it's a nice way to score some free downloads.

You can search free songs by genre and you'll notice quite a few options for children's music, relaxation tracks, and holiday songs. If you're looking for those specialties in particular, Amazon is a great source. It has other genres such as blues, classic rock, and pop, but the selection is limited.