Downloading your music online is a breeze. It’s easier than ever, thanks in part to the Internet Archive and its Music Library, which hosts thousands of songs from the likes of the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Nirvana, The Beach Boys and many more.
But what if you’re more interested in downloading free MP3s? There are plenty of sites that offer this service, but they can be hit or miss. Here we’ll take a look at some of the best places to download MP3s for free.
It’s not hard to see why people love mp3juice. They’re small, they play instantly (no need to rip them), and they’re easily transferable across devices. But there are still a few things to consider when deciding where to go looking for your new favorite song.
First, it might seem like you can’t beat iTunes, given its popularity and ubiquity. But while it may have more songs than any other site, it’s also one of the most expensive. Buying an album through iTunes will set you back $9.99 per track, which adds up quickly.
If you’re willing to pay for albums, then Amazon’s MP3 store might be worth checking out. You can get whole albums for as little as $7.49 each, with individual tracks selling for $0.99. That means you can grab a bunch of songs to listen to on your iPod – just make sure you’ve got enough room!
There’s also Pandora, whose free streaming radio is ad-supported, but you can pay to remove ads and access premium accounts (which allow you to save songs for offline listening). And if you’d prefer to hear all the latest hits rather than Pandora’s “radio” stations, then you should check out Last.fm, which offers a huge library of free downloadable singles.
As well as these three big hitters, there are countless other sites that host music downloads. Some of them are free to use, others ask you to register an account to gain access. A quick search for “mp3s for free” will bring up lots of results. We’ve picked out a handful here, which should provide you with a good starting point.
Free MP3 Downloads – YouTube
YouTube has tons of videos uploaded by users every day, so you’d expect it to also have plenty of music (or, indeed, anything else). While YouTube doesn’t actually host the files themselves, it does include links to many third party sites that do. So there really isn’t much stopping you from grabbing tunes from the likes of Google Play, iTunes, Soundcloud and even Apple itself.
You won’t find every single song on the planet here, but with around 40,000 videos available, YouTube is definitely going to come out on top. And if you’re worried about copyright issues, remember that YouTube provides links to licensed content, so you can be pretty confident that your ears won’t be ripped off.
Free MP3 Downloads – Amazon
Amazon’s MP3 store is great for anyone who wants to buy albums or singles off the site. However, unless you’re already signed up to Amazon Prime, you’ll need to join for free first. Once you’re a member though, you can purchase any track directly from the site, without having to leave the main page.
The downside of buying MP3s off Amazon is that you can only download single tracks, and they’re limited to the 5GB of storage space offered by the membership plan. If you want to download a lot of music, you’ll probably end up paying for additional storage.
However, it’s still worth taking a look at their offering. Even if you never intend to buy anything, it’s worth registering just to browse the selection.
Free MP3 Downloads – Spotify
Spotify is another popular streaming platform, which allows you to listen to millions of songs for free. In addition to the usual streaming options, Spotify also lets you download individual tracks to your computer or mobile phone (if you sign up for a paid account). This is handy if you don’t want to carry around your entire music collection (although you could always sync your Spotify playlist to your iPhone) or if you simply want to add a tune to your existing playlist.
In order to download tunes to your device though, you’ll need to create a free account. This is not required to stream, however, so if you aren’t planning on making any purchases, you won’t lose out on anything by signing up.
Free MP3 Downloads – iTunes
Apple’s iTunes Store is home to most of the world’s biggest artists. From Adele to Taylor Swift, you’ll find a vast range of music right inside the app. However, despite being owned by Apple, iTunes doesn’t actually host the files. Instead, it links to a vast array of third party stores, including Amazon, Google Play, Microsoft Zune and Napster. This makes it easy to download music for free, but it also means you’ll need to be careful who you trust with your personal details.
And if you’re using an older version of iTunes, you’ll need to update before you can download music. Otherwise, you’ll be met with a message telling you that the software needed to download music has been removed from your system.
For more information on how to upgrade to iTunes 10, click here.
Free MP3 Downloads – Google Play
Google Play is the official music store for Android phones, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best place to download music. After all, iTunes is built into the operating system, so Apple gets a cut of every sale.
That said, Google does include a couple of options in its Play store. First, it includes a section dedicated to free MP3s (though as mentioned, these are limited to a 5GB limit). Then there’s a separate section called ‘All Songs’, which is designed specifically for those wanting to download albums. This is a bit more flexible, since you can choose exactly which songs you want and where you want to store them.
There’s no guarantee that Google Play will work on your device, but it’s certainly worth trying. Just make sure that you have the latest version of the Android OS installed.
Free MP3 Downloads – Rhapsody
Rhapsody is a great way to enjoy unlimited streaming of music. Unfortunately, there’s no way to download your own recordings from the service, so you’ll need to buy songs individually, or subscribe to an annual subscription package.
This doesn’t matter too much for the casual listener, but if you’re a collector, you’re better off sticking with iTunes or Amazon.
Free MP3 Downloads – Deezer
Deezer is yet another streaming service, but unlike Spotify and Apple, it’s only available on smartphones. On PC, Mac and Linux computers, you’ll need to head over to Deezer’s website instead.
However, there is a desktop app that you can install on Windows, Mac and Linux machines. With Deezer Desktop, you can download music for free, and then transfer it to your smartphone via Bluetooth or USB.
Free MP3 Downloads – SoundCloud
SoundCloud has become a major player in the world of music production, with some of the leading DJs and producers using the site to share their mixes. For fans of dance music, this is a must-visit destination.
Unfortunately, however, it’s not very easy to download music from SoundCloud. You can upload your own file to the site using the SoundCloud apps on your smartphone, but once it’s there, there’s no easy way to download it.
You can follow links to third party websites to download tracks, but these often require you to log into your account in order to complete the process. And as far as we know, there’s no way to download music to your computer either.