Skip to main content

Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site. Why trust us?

The best free music download sites that are totally legal

SoundCloud browser image with iPhone and app on the screen.
SoundCloud

Are you in search of free music, but don’t want to resort to illegal downloads? Surprisingly, several websites offer free music legally. With just a click or tap, you can explore new songs, albums, or bands and expand your music library without spending a dime on the usual music streaming services. These platforms provide an opportunity to discover hidden gems and emerging artists, allowing you to enjoy fresh tunes and support independent musicians.

While these sites may not feature music from mainstream artists like Taylor Swift, you can still uncover hits from well-known performers and explore a diverse range of music genres. So, why not take a musical journey and explore the wealth of free, legal music available online?

Free Music Archive

screenshot showing home page for Free Music Archive
Image used with permission by copyright holder

In 2009, New Jersey-based WFMU Radio embarked on a project to make contemporary music of all genres available to the public, and the Free Music Archive was born. Since its inception, WFMU has partnered with dozens of other curators, and the site has become a veritable treasure trove of free content.

The site combines two different approaches to posting tracks: First, it indexes free music posted by all of its partner curators, and second, it allows users to post their own music directly to the archives. This synthesis of sources creates a mind-boggling library of tracks that you could spend months browsing through, whether you choose to do so by curator or genre, or go even deeper with its search function. The site also hosts a myriad of podcasts, and renowned radio stations such as Seattle’s KEXP frequently post live cuts from their studio sessions with big-name acts passing through.

In 2019 FMA was acquired by the music-for-service company Tribe of Noise that provides access to royalty-free music for businesses and creators.

Visit Free Music Archive

SoundCloud

screenshot showing SoundCloud website.
SoundCloud

Not every song posted on SoundCloud is free, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a significant selection of complementary content to choose from — both Billboard and independent artists have been known to offer a selection of their older tracks at no charge, though you may have to drop them a like on Facebook or a follow on Twitter for the privilege.

Songs can be navigated in a flurry of ways, ranging from artist and genre to what’s trending right now. There’s also an entire section of the site dedicated to tracks released under Creative Commons licenses that are free to download and remix, and royalty-free audio, which can be used for marketing purposes and in monetized material. Note that while there’s a paid element to SoundCloud, it’s entirely optional and doesn’t impede your ability to find free tunes.

Visit SoundCloud

ReverbNation

Home page of ReverbNation website.
ReverbNation

ReverbNation provides a dynamic ecosystem for independent artists to thrive. The platform is not just about music sharing; it’s about career building. Artists get access to a wide range of tools designed to help them promote their music, manage their careers, and reach new fans. From intricate marketing and promotion strategies to gig and festival opportunities, ReverbNation is instrumental in shaping an artist’s journey from obscurity to recognition.

Big names like Alabama Shakes, The Civil Wars, and Imagine Dragons all got their start on ReverbNation by sharing their music for free and building up their loyal fanbase. There is a mix of every genre on ReverbNation, but the site tends to lean toward more pop, alternative, and hip-hop than anything else. With a community of nearly 4 million artists, labels, and users, ReverbNation helps you sift through its immersive catalog with cool features like the site’s Discover app and a page that will help you find who is about to be the next big thing.

Visit ReverbNation

Audiomack

Tye home page of Audiomack.
Audiomack

Audiomack is known for its focus on supporting up-and-coming artists and diverse music genres that are on the brink of making it big. In contrast to platforms that mainly promote mainstream music, Audiomack shines a spotlight on emerging talents in hip-hop, reggae, and Afrobeats. This approach not only gives known artists a chance to shine but also offers listeners a fresh and varied collection of music.

Audiomack follows a philosophy that puts artists first offering them tools and services to take charge of their careers. By allowing artists to upload their music directly to the platform for free, Audiomack removes barriers to entry into the music industry. This empowers artists to connect with an audience, gain exposure, and grow their fan base without relying on middlemen.

Visit Audiomack

Live Music Archive

Screenshot showing Internet Archive's live music archive.
Internet Archive

Live Music Archive is essentially a partnership between Internet Archive and etree.org, a community dedicated to providing high-quality, lossless versions of live concerts. You can think of it as a bootlegger’s paradise given the site’s sheer abundance of concert material, much of which focuses on jam bands such as the Grateful Dead, The String Cheese Incident, and Sound Tribe Sector 9. Still, there are a host of other bands to choose from — The Smashing Pumpkins, Jack Johnson, Animal Collective, etc. — along with plenty of genres, from jazz to reggae, to browse.

Navigation is a bit of a chore due to the overwhelming wealth of content, but there are ways to filter the results by title, publish date, or original creator. Once you find a particular show, you can often stream or download the individual tracks as a FLAC or MP3, allowing you to play the tracks in your media player of choice. Unfortunately, the site doesn’t ensure a quality performance — so we’d recommend previewing anything that sounds like it could tickle your fancy by using Live Music Archive’s web player before taking the plunge and downloading it for local playback.

Visit Live Music Archive

Jamendo

The Jamendo Music home page.
Jamendo

Jamendo is a groundbreaking music platform that operates under an open-content license, primarily Creative Commons, allowing artists from around the world to freely share their talent. It offers a dual experience – one for music enthusiasts seeking new soundtracks to enhance their daily lives and another for professionals in need of royalty-free music for commercial projects.

For those who take comfort in melodies and rhythms, Jamendo offers a vast collection of tracks covering every imaginable genre, from the energizing beats of EDM to the soulful chords of acoustic folk. The platform is a treasure trove for discovering underground artists, providing fresh sounds that are not easily found on more mainstream platforms. Whether you’re looking to create a playlist for your next road trip or find soothing tunes to study to, Jamendo has something to offer.

On the other hand, Jamendo is a valuable resource for creators and businesses in search of quality, royalty-free music. Whether it’s for a YouTube video, a podcast, or background music for a café, the Jamendo Licensing service offers an extensive library of tracks that can be legally used across various projects. This not only supports the creators financially, but also ensures that businesses can find unique soundtracks to enhance their projects.

Visit Jamendo

Musopen

screenshot of Musopen website.
Musopen

If you’re a fan of classical music, it’s easy to find free downloads since many classical compositions and performances are in the public domain. Musopen, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and providing access to classical music, has a vast library of compositions without any copyright restrictions. You can browse by composer or performer, and filter results by time period and instrument. Whether you enjoy the complex arrangements of the Baroque period or the passionate music of the Romantics, Musopen probably has what you’re looking for.

You can stream or download the selections, some even in high resolution. The site also offers a wealth of helpful background information. If you’re curious about what a rondo is or what defined Chopin’s style, you can find all that here. Musicians will be delighted to know that the site provides sheet music, so if you fall in love with a particular piece, you can follow along or even learn to play it.

VIsit Musopen

Last.fm

Screenshot of Last.fm website.
Last.fm

When Last.fm was initially created in 2002, it functioned as an internet radio station in a similar fashion to Pandora and iHeartRadio. In 2005, however, the site adopted Audioscrobbler, a music-recommendation system that collects data from dozens of media players and music-streaming websites to craft individual user profiles that reflect their musical taste and listening habits.

Unbeknownst to many Last.fm users, though, is the site’s repository of free music. It’s accessible via the “Free Music Downloads” link at the bottom of the page and offers a fairly diverse library of free music, ranging from Sufjan Stevens to The Glitch Mob. It’s eclectic, if limited, and free.

Visit Last.fm

SoundClick

SoundClick website.
SoundClick

One of the sleepers of the lot, SoundClick should command your attention for its vast library of free amateur music. It’s a lot like SoundCloud in that it primarily offers a melting pot of tunes from the independent scene, all uploaded by the artists responsible for creating them.

SoundClick, which has been in business since 1997, has millions of tracks across over a dozen genres, including hip-hop, country, jazz, alternative, and more.

You can download many of those songs for the price of mere megabytes and a few seconds of your time, and streaming (up to 160kbps, a boon for free services like these) is an option for anything that you can’t. Like others of its ilk, you’ll come across your fair share of forgettable music, but it’s worth wading through to find the gems.

Visit SoundClick

Bandcamp

Bandcamp home page.
Screenshot / Bandcamp

Popular among independent musicians, Bandcamp allows both artists and labels to upload content to the site and sell albums, singles, and merchandise directly to fans. However, not every artist charges for their work, making Bandcamp an excellent location to find a few new tunes for free. Founded in 2008, Bandcamp has amassed a collection of works across popular genres, including electronic, rock, alternative, hip-hop, punk, folk, jazz, ambient, experimental, and more.

If you find a piece of music that you love, you can later contribute to the artist by purchasing other albums or memorabilia. One factor that makes Bandcamp unique is the ability to pay a minimum set price or higher amount for works; some musicians use this system to allow fans to pay what they can and choose how much they wish to support an artist.

Visit Bandcamp

Pixabay

Pixabay radio playlists.
Pixabay

Pixabay is primarily known as a platform for free images but also offers a library of royalty-free music. Currently, it provides access to over 60,000 free music tracks for download. Additionally, Pixabay features curated playlists like “Lofi HipHop,” “House party,” “Yoga sessions,” “Cosmos,” and more, designed to match different events, moods, activities, and locations.

While Pixabay may not offer mainstream musical content, it excels in providing tracks that serve practical purposes. Whether you need background music, mood generation, or more, Pixabay has you covered.

Visit Pixabay

Editors' Recommendations

Bryan M. Wolfe
Bryan M. Wolfe has over a decade of experience as a technology writer. He writes about mobile.
Apple Music TV is a new take on the 24-hour music video channel
apple

If you miss the halcyon days of MTV in its prime, Apple thinks you might want to check out Apple Music TV. It's a free, 24-hour a day curated livestream of music videos, according to Variety, which will also feature live shows and events as well as chart countdowns and guests.

Limited to U.S. residents for now, the livestream can be accessed via the Apple TV app, on the web, and as a new tab within the Apple Music app on all supported devices. Given that the Apple TV app is now available on a huge variety of smart TVs and streaming media devices, there are going to be very few people who do not have access to Apple Music TV.

Read more
The best music podcasts
Best Music Podcasts

Music makes our souls sing, but what happens when you've listened to everything in your library? Instead of starting up another album, think about checking out a music podcast. From podcasts that focus on the history behind your favorite artists and their work to deep dives into the formulas that make different genres shine, there is something for every music lover. We take a look at the best music podcasts that you can listen to using your favorite podcast apps.

Want to discover new and exciting podcasts, but aren't necessarily looking for something music-related? Be sure to check out our guide on the best podcasts to listen to right now.
Song Exploder

Read more
How to download music from Spotify for offline listening
How to download music and podcasts from Spotify: The downloads folder.

If you're a Spotify Premium user paying that premium Spotify fee, chances are you've taken at least some time curating playlists, liking songs, and using the platform's easy-to-use (and recently revamped) user interface to discover new and old music.

But sometimes all that music or your favorite podcasts aren't available if you find yourself without an internet connection to stream them from — like on a long plane ride or weekend camping trip in the sticks. That's where Spotify's offline listening feature comes in handy, allowing you to download playlists, albums, and podcasts through its desktop and mobile apps so you can still rock out while you're off the grid.

Read more