Your Guide to Free, Legal Online Music

So you want free music, but you don’t want the RIAA knocking down your door. This is quite the dilemma indeed. But fear not, law abiding citizens of the internet, as this guide to free music online will show you where to get your fix without fear of legal retribution.

The first website I’m going to show you might very well be the best source for free music on the internet. It’s Called Pandora, as in Pandora’s box. (http://www.pandora.com/) Their browser integrated media player lets you pick an artist or song that you like, then it tries to play music that is similar to that. Pandora is actually pretty good at choosing music that is similar to what you’ve requested, and their library of music is deep enough to keep you listening for quite some time without hearing a repeat. You can guide the media player by telling it whether or not you like the song that it is currently playing, and this will have an effect on what songs are played next. You can create several “radio stations” based on different musical preferences that you might have, giving you the option of changing genres on a whim.

Next up is The Further Network (http://www.furthurnet.org/index.php), which is a legal P2P filesharing network where people share their recordings of live concerts. The reason that this is legal is because the artists whose work is being shared have granted permission to have recordings of their live shows distributed freely. You’ll need to download the Further P2P software in order to get these tunes, and since the files are stored on people’s hard drives the downloads can be a little slow at times. Your best bet with this one is to just leave your PC on overnight, and don’t bother if you’re not using a high speed connection. You’ll find music by all sorts of artists here- both the well known and the less-than-prolific as well. Some of the more popular artists here include George Clinton, Crosby Stills and Nash, The grateful Dead, and Genesis.

Finally, there’s AcidPlanet (http://www.acidplanet.com/). Here you will find a near infinite supply of free music that is mostly unavailable anywhere else. Just about anyone can upload their own original audio here. Because of this fact, the music found here is mostly created by amateurs, but there are also many professional musicians and producers that have chosen to showcase their talents here as well. Finding the kind of tunes that tickle your fancy is a breeze, as everything is sorted by genre. Each genre has a listing of the songs that are most popular at any given moment , which can be good way to discover the more ambitious artists on this website. AcidPlanet also offers streaming radio for those of you who don’t feel like hunting for an individual artist, or want hands free listening.

So there you have it- a near infinite supply of free and legal music that can be found online. Isn’t the internet wonderful?

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