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Free Sources of Legal Music Downloads

Mar 27, 2008
With the controversy and legal issues that have plagued music download sites since their beginning, it seems like there are no good, legitimate sites for free and legal music downloads. Many sites either offer you music that they are not legally allowed to distribute, or they give you some nasty surprises when you use them: spyware, adware, and other ugly little add-ons.

Believe it or not, there are still several ways to get quality, legal music downloads for free. You won't always be able to get the entire album and many free resources only offer downloads for relatively unknown artists. But if you're willing to try something new and don't mind only getting a sample of the music you want, you'll have plenty of options for finding free music downloads.

GarageBand lets you download music from unknown artists who are hoping to make it big. You know that the music is legal to download because it is provided directly by the artists themselves. They are not signed to a label so there's no worry about the label owning the rights to their songs.

Because the bands are unsigned, the majority of them will be new to you. GarageBand is certainly not the place to go if you want to build up your music library with perennial favorites or up-and-coming bands you heard on the radio but if you're looking for new and unique music that you probably won't hear anywhere else, this site is perfect.

Amazon has a surprisingly friendly and easy-to-use free download section. They offer a small selection of free songs that are changed often. They are frequently by well-known artists who you already love.

The best part is that Amazon's downloads are DRM-free, meaning that you can play the songs with any compatible software and on any MP3 player. You can use these songs to burn CDs, also. The free downloads are yours to keep, and you can snag as many of them as you like. The bad news is that there are only a few songs available at any time, and it may be a while before new ones are posted.

eMusic is another well-known site for music downloads that most of us are already aware of. They don't exactly hand out free downloads, but they do give you 25 free MP3s during a one-month trial membership. If you sign up for an eMusic membership, you'll have access to over two million songs. You can choose any of these for your 25 free downloads, and they're yours to keep. Even if you decide you don't want to continue your membership, you get to keep the free songs without ever paying a penny.There are plenty of other sources out there some giving you full albums and some providing only a few songs. The most important thing is to make sure that the songs are provided legally and that you aren't violating US laws by having them.

Most sites will give you information on the subject of their legality somewhere on the site. If they don't, it's usually possible to get the necessary information from other sources on the internet. Just perform an internet search for that site to see what has been said about it elsewhere. If you can't find any information about the legality of a certain site's free downloads and it looks questionable, the best thing to do is to avoid it. Free music isn't worth the legal problems that it will cause if you don't do it according to the applicable laws.
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