How to Get Free Music for iTunes and iPhone

Itunes on iPhone
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There's only one thing better than discovering your new favorite band. Getting their music legally and for free, then packing your iTunes and iPhone full of it. 

Getting free music on the Internet has been easy since at least the debut of Napster in 1999. Getting that music in a way that doesn't deprive artists of pay for their work was harder. Luckily, in the last few years tons of authorized websites and apps offering free music have popped up to make sure we're never out of new songs.

10 Places to Get Free Music for iTunes and iPhone

The sites and apps listed below are far from the only places to get free MP3s, but they've got so much free music you'll never be able to listen to everything they have to offer.

  • Amazon—Hidden away in Amazon's huge online music store is a section for free downloads. The online retailer doesn't make it easy to find, but you'll see tens of thousands of songs waiting for you. There's a mix of big names and no names, but you're bound to find something you like. 
  • Apps—Websites aren't the only place to score free music. There are a ton of great apps that deliver free music to your iPhone. Some have a big library, others offer a handful of curated picks each day. For tips on which you should download, check out this article on the 17 best free music apps for iPhone.
  • Apple Music—Apple's music service is built right into the Music app that comes pre-installed on every iPhone and into iTunes. It's not always free—eventually you have to subscribe for at least US$9.99/month—but the initial 90-day free trial lets you stream an unlimited number of songs and download them for offline listening. Watch out: if you don't subscribe, you'll lose the downloads. How to sign up for Apple Music
  • Free Music Archive—This huge collection of free music is offered by WFMU, one of the premier free-form radio stations in the U.S. All the music is contributed by WFMU or other curators invited to the project and has been cleared for use by the musicians. Even better, some of the music is licensed to allow you to use it for other projects. Visit the Free Music Archive
  • Google Play Music Unlimited—Google's alternative to Apple Music, Google Play Music Unlimited, offers 2 months of free streaming music from the huge Google Play catalog before you have to start paying. Just like with Apple Music, if you forget to cancel (or want to stay subscribed), you'll be charged $9.99/month. Sign up For Google Play Music
  • Jamendo—If you love to discover the next cool independent artist, Jamendo will be your next favorite website. This collection of nearly half a million songs contains exclusively indie artists looking to connect to fans for free (and to advertisers, filmmakers, and others for a fee). Visit Jamendo 
  • Last.fm—Last.fm is primarily aimed at learning what kind of music you like and helping you find more of it. If you prefer to just check out the free stuff without recommendations, though, Last.fm will oblige with a couple hundred free downloads. Visit Last.fm's Free Downloads page 
  • Live Music Archive—While it has a similar name, the Live Music Archive isn't related to the Free Music Archive. It's not the place to go for the latest indie gems or smash hits; it is a treasure trove for fans of live concert recordings. Even better, it's just one part of the larger Archive.org collection of audio, including podcasts, old radio shows, and much more. Visit the Live Music Archive
  • NoiseTrade—Designed to help indie and up-and-coming bands and musicians find new fans, NoiseTrade offers thousands of free EPs. Making things even cooler, many of these EPs have exclusive songs you won't find anywhere else. The site also offers free book downloads if you want something to read while you rock. Visit NoiseTrade
  • SoundCloud—While SoundCloud has become a go-to destination for major acts selling new albums, it started out as a place for free indie music and still has a lot of that to offer. It's also a great option if you're a musician, matching a simple place to distribute your music with a big audience. Visit SoundCloud

    Other Sources

    There are, of course, dozens—maybe hundreds or even thousands—of other places to get free music online. Some are legal, but many are offering the music without compensating the musicians. If you want to use those sites and services, I can't stop you, but I won't link to them. Additionally, you should ask yourself whether you think it's right to get music without paying and deprive artists who make their living from their music of money they've earned.

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