Downloading free and legal MP3s

MP3 made headlines a few years ago as the technology that would threaten the music industry and deprive artists of their livelihood. While Napster and other utilities have been thwarted by the big record companies and industry bodies, a growing community of musicians have embraced MP3 as a way of distributing their music online. With the international accessibility of the Internet and the quality of MP3 compression, musicians that would otherwise find it either inhibitively expensive, or just plain impossible to have their music heard, can now reach an audience of literally millions. Arguably this could be an even greater threat to the music industry, as it places the power of artistic control and international distribution in the hands of the musicians, possibly writing record companies out of the equation altogether!

MP3 Sites

There are a lot of sites that effectively operate as online record labels. Generally these are commercial in nature, and not particularly discriminating about their musical content. Musicians can upload their songs, usually with a graphic and some relevant information, and then their music is available to anyone who cares to download it. is a good place to start if you are looking for new music that's freely available online. There are charts, reviews, forums, chat and an online shop to help you find the music that interests you most. All the music is free for download or streaming in either MP3 or Windows Media format. There is a lot of Australian content, although it is not limited to Australian music.

Vitaminic is a site that provides a similar service to other MP3 sites, in that artists can make their music available for download, but they can also sell it online- which means you, as a listener, may have to pay for some of the songs, although you can preview them first! You can browse by genre, popularity or association.

The grandfather of MP3 sites, is home to millions of MP3 files- all legal and most are free to download. While many artists left after their legal agreement was modified, giving the company more rights to the music than was considered reasonable, the site continues to grow. One of the reasons for this is possibly its CD burning service, where you can build your own compilation of tracks from the site. It's a huge site, so be prepared to spend a lot of time wading through stuff that you don't particularly like!

Musical Communities

In contrast to the MP3 sites, which generally provide a symbiotic relationship between the artists and the site owners, other Web sites are maintained by musicians for a community of musicians. These labours of love often revolve around a particular genre of music, which can be very specific to a particular subculture. Sometimes, however, they can be an eclectic mix of musicians who share nothing in common except the software they use.

This site is dedicated to electronic music in all its manifestations. From Industrial to House, Jungle to Ambient, it's all here and it's all free for download. Widely considered one of the better sites, ElectronicScene is supported by the artists, who by and large pay for their hosting. The music is generally of a high standard as a consequence, and the site is packed with articles, reviews and news for both musicians and listeners alike.dnbscene.comThis is an example of a genre specific site geared towards musicians. Targeting producers of Drum n Bass, the site enables its users to upload and download each other's tracks. It provides a forum for comment, critique and collaboration, where a community of musicians can share their techniques as well as their tunes.

Being one of the most popular pieces of musical software on the market, the FruityLoops "Loop Talk" forum has become a very diverse discussion board for people who use the FruityLoops software for their music, even if the music is as diverse as gothic rock and electronica.

Some other sites where you can download free and legal MP3s include:

Got a digital audio question? Ask HelpScreen.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Potts

PC World
Show Comments

Cool Tech

SanDisk MicroSDXC™ for Nintendo® Switch™

Learn more >

Breitling Superocean Heritage Chronographe 44

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Panasonic 4K UHD Blu-Ray Player and Full HD Recorder with Netflix - UBT1GL-K

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

Razer DeathAdder Expert Ergonomic Gaming Mouse

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?