Even though RIAA executives will probably spit out their coffee if they happen upon this post, I’m going to give you a round-up of some of my favorite free (and completely legal) internet music services.
This free site delivers free tracks from mostly unknown artists (although you will find some oldies here if you look often enough). You can play the tracks online on the site by building a playlist, download a free ad-supported track or you can pay .70 British pounds ($1.35 US as of today) to get the song ad-free. Given the unfavorable exchange rate for those of us in the U.S., this is not much of a bargain. I would take the free track. The ad is really brief and plays before the song. You have to dig, but you can find some good songs on here and you can play them in any MP3 player after you download them.
Free Stuff on iTunes
Every Tuesday, iTunes updates its free section, which typically includes the Song of the Week (different genres and mixed quality, but what do you want for free, your money back?). You’ll also usually find a Latin track and several free videos, some of which are full length TV shows, which typically sell for $1.99 US. I’ve discovered several shows this way including New Amsterdam on Fox (a show I can heartily recommend). All you need is an iTunes account and you can grab the free stuff on a weekly basis.
AOL Music Videos
You can go to the site and watch the videos, but I recommend you go to the Adobe Air Showcase and download the top 100 videos application. It’s a quick download and the Air application gives you a slick interface where you can choose the video you want to see by genre. You can even rate the videos from within the application. It’s a really nice way to watch videos and of course it changes as the Top 100 get updated.
If you haven’t discovered Pandora yet, you have to check this out. You search for a song, then Pandora finds songs that have a similar sonic footprint. It could be bands you know or bands you never heard of and it’s a great way to discover new music. You can guide Pandora by giving a song a “Thumbs up” or “Thumbs Down” and you can save different stations and share them.
This is a song search engine. Enter the name of your favorite artist or a song you want to hear and Project Playlist searches the internet for instances of this song. You can play it right in the search results or you can build playlists and save and share your lists with other Project Playlist members. What’s more, you can rate others’ playlists giving the site a social element.
So check these out. If nothing else, you can feel good about sticking it to the RIAA and there isn’t a thing it can do about it. In my next post, I'll take a look at watching TV on the internet. There's lots to see for free whenever you fancy (not when it's scheduled). By the way, if you have a favorite site I haven't mentioned, please leave a comment and let me know about it.