If you know me, you know I love cheap stuff – and free is even better. And that’s why I want to share the best places for free MP3 downloads in this article. Not only are these sites/services free, but you can download free music legally, too.
In the early and mid-2000s, the MP3 format was the way to consume music. Whether you were downloading legally, or, ahem – illegally – this was the way to do it.
But digital consumption was a completely new thing back then, and people weren’t really sure what kinds of downloading were unethical, shady, or just plain illegal.
Nowadays, we’re much more clear on what types of downloading are “okay” and which types would result in legal action. This article will focus on free MP3 downloads that won’t get you thrown in jail.
If you need a place for an MP3 song download, keep reading to find out where to get them.
Free MP3 Downloads History
It’s no secret that people like free stuff. It’s not necessarily great for business, but it certainly is for those on a tight budget.
That’s why it’s not too surprising that people have been downloading free music for a long time. But in the early days, downloading music took much more technical know-how than it does today.
The way we download online has changed substantially over the years. From sharing files on dodgy or even illegal networks to sites that are royalty-free.
Royalty-free refers to music that is not copyrighted and can thus be downloaded for free. That will be our focus in this article.
Benefits of Free MP3 Downloads
Music For Projects
If you are ever working on a project that needs music but for which you don’t get paid. Maybe you are making a graduation video or a YouTube video showcasing your hobby.
In this case you are probably unable and certainly unwilling to pay large royalties to use copyrighted music. And, nowadays, there is little leeway to use copyrighted music without permission – especially if you publish the project online somewhere.
Luckily, there are many thousands of completely free songs out there you can use nowadays. And they are probably much better quality than you think.
That’s what we’ll take a look at shortly.
Listening To Music Without Using Data
List of Places to Get Free MP3 Downloads
Let’s now cover some of the places where you can actually get some of that awesome free music! There are more places than you may realize, so there’s no need to go downloading music illegally these days.
If you want to get free music online, the sites are the place to find it. Whether you want to download music video or download MP3 online, you’ll find it on these sites.
1. Epidemic Sound
Epidemic Sound might be my favorite MP3 download site. Not only can you download music free, but the site is free, too.
The thing about the music here is that it doesn’t sound free. Or cheap. It doesn’t sound like it was recorded on someone’s crappy laptop mic.
Much of it is has high sound quality or even the best possible quality. It also won’t cost you a penny, and it’s not the same 20 tracks everyone knows.
What can I say – I like things that are unique. You can easily find a new music download on Epidemic Sound.
And there’s music for every mood and every occasion. So, head over to the site and explore (after finishing this list, of course!).
2. Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is mentioned in the infographic above because it was one of the first royalty-free music sites.
If you’re looking for a place for MP3 music downloads, this one is worth a look. It definitely has some of the best free music out there.
The Free Music Archive (FMA) was launched in 2009 by WFMU radio, a community radio station in New Jersey. Due to the communal nature of the organization, this site is completely free.
And there’s no registration required!
Just visit the website and you’ll immediately see music you can either listen to on-demand, or download free MP3 files. Pretty sweet if you ask me.
You might not immediately think of YouTube as a place for free MP3 downloads, but there are actually a couple of ways you can get free music here.
One way is with YouTube Premium. Yes, Premium does have a monthly fee, but it’s incredibly reasonable for what you get.
For $10/month, you get totally ad-free playback, background playback, and, yes, the ability to download anything that’s on YouTube.
But that isn’t really free, and that’s why you’re here, right? Luckily, YouTube still has something for you.
There are actually YouTube channels such as Royalty Free Music – No Copyright Music that are entirely dedicated to royalty-free music.
Not only does this channel have royalty-free music uploaded directly to YouTube, but it also has download links. Although YouTube Premium allows you to download music, you can only download to the app’s storage.
Having download links on a third-party site is useful if you want to use the music for a project, for example.
So, as you can see, YouTube music does have quite a bit to offer when it comes to free music downloads.
You may have heard about “SoundCloud rappers,” but there are more than just dudes with unearned confidence trying to rap here. Nope, there are plenty of talented artists as well.
Normally with SoundCloud you listen online, but it does have a music downloader, too. To download something, find the track you want to download, click the three dots, and click Download file:
If this option is available, you’ll get a free download of your favorite songs. Note that you can only download individual tracks – there’s no way to download an entire album at once.
I also admittedly couldn’t find many downloadable tracks. Artists do have the option to enable or disable the download option, and it appears most have disabled it.
However, you will occassionally find some downloadable content. As you can see in the snippet above, the track on NPR Tiny Desk are downloadable.
So this is probably already useful if you already use SoundCloud. But, I’ll admit, I have used SoundCloud on and off and didn’t know you could download some tracks until I looked into it.
5. Google Play Music
Google Play Music is a large platform of music and about the closest thing there is to Google’s competitor to iTunes. This is primarily meant to be a marketplace for paid content, but you can still find some free music here.
One way to find free music here is by simply typing “free music” as a search query. This will show you a wide range of songs and albums, all of which can be downloaded free of charge.
Thus, it can work as a free music downloader or MP3 downloader. If you want to download music free, be sure to try the above!
Another roundabout way to get free MP3 downloads here is by claiming free Google Play redeem codes. In doing so, you’ll be able to get free online music. There’s plenty of high quality stuff as well.
Google Play Music is primarily a place to download licensed content, but you can still find music here for free.
6. Audio Archive
Audio Archive is more or less a communal archive of amateur and pro music. Much of what you’ll find isn’t your typical studio production, but there is some interesting stuff here.
ReverbNation is a little different from some of the other sites/services on this list. Its mission is to help artists grow their careers.
Of course, one could argue the best way to help an artist grow their career by supporting them financially. But if you’re like me, times are tough and you need to save money.
And there are plenty of ways to support your favorite artists without forking over cold hard cash. You can help promote them on social media, give them a positive rating on iTunes, or help moderate a fan group.
That being said, there is a very wasy way to find free MP3 downloads on ReverbNation. Start searching something on the site, then click “free MP3s required” above the search button:
As you can see, this site works like an MP3 search engine. Click “refine results” and bingo! You have yourself some free MP3s. This makes it a much simpler process than some other sites here, thankfully.
You may or may not have heard of ccMixster, but the “cc” in its name stands for Creative Commons. The result of this is a large repository of music that can be freely distributed.
And, with it, ccMixter. Here, you can download MP3 music and find lots of free MP3 songs.
Now, if you aren’t familiar with Creative Commons, it isn’t the same thing as royalty-free. Creative Commons is a type of license that allows free distribution of copyrighted work.
Royalty-free simply means no royalty must be paid when the music is used. (It’s actually more complicated than that, but that’s the subject of another article.)
In any case, if you are purely a consumer and not a content creator, then Creative Commons music should be fine to download and consume. Which is good, because there is quite a bit of content here!
Rounding out the list is Freesound – another source for free music. This site is another database of Creative Commons-licensed music. Or, in their words, it’s a “collaborative database of creative-commons licensed sound for musicians and sound lovers.”
There is also a free MP3 search, which you can see in the snippet below. This is an excellent place to find music free online.
You may notice that these last two sites look a bit outdated. That’s probably good in a way because it tells you they are focusing on the content rather than turning it into a money-making business.
And, as you can also see, their blog still has fairly regular posting, so the staff is keeping up with maintaining the site. And new content is regularly being posted on the site, so it’s worth a look.
Free MP3 Downloads: Conclusion
You might think you can’t really get MP3 songs free, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. You can get high quality MP3 and more from the sites on this list.
Of course, things are a little different if you are using that music for some sort of production and/or make money.
But if you are purely a consumer, there are plenty of ways to legally get free music without paying a dime. Sometimes, the sites/apps you may associate with paid content actually have free music, too. You just have to know where to look.
Do you have a favorite place for free MP3 downloads? Let us know in the comments.