20 Best Free Sites to Download Music Legally

Content
– A List of The Best 20 Free & Legal Music Download Sites
– Reviews of the 20 Best Sites to Download Music for free
– What are Free Music Download Sites?
– What are Streaming Music Sites?
– What is the Public Domain?
Please note that one or more links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate Nanowerk earns from qualifying purchases.
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Before we start, let's get the legal stuff out of the way: Nanowerk will not be held liable for data breaches, infected/hacked devices, or ISP logging caused by using unverified 3rd party applications or streaming websites. We at Nanowerk do not endorse or encourage piracy at any level or in any form. While looking for media streaming and downloading websites, all the responsibility falls on you to check the copyright and legal status of the content(s) you access!
There are many websites that offer free music downloads, and we've weeded through them to find the 20 best sites for free and legal music downloads. All the downloads from these sites are legal. They're either public domain or the artists have permitted downloads. Many 'free' sites are ad-supported, so expect different levels of annoying ad interruptions.
And while we have checked the sites in our free music download list below, we cannot guarantee they are all safe at the time you are reading this. That's why we can't emphasize enough that you protect yourself with a VPN (Virtual Private Network) prior to visiting these sites (we recommend using NordVPN). This will hide your streaming activities and protect yourself from website operators, hackers, and your ISP.
The search for free music really comes down to your needs. The best free music download sites sometimes emphasize accessibility and variety, like Bandcamp and the Internet Archive. Others are more tailored to specific niches, like Beatstars for producers and the YouTube Audio Library for all kinds of creators.
Also, check out our 25 Best Free Streaming Sites to Watch Movies and TV Shows Online. If you are an Anime fan be sure to check out our list of 25 Top Anime Streaming Sites to Watch Free Anime. If you are a sports fan, you might want to have a look at our 25 Best Free Sports Streaming Sites. And for avid readers, we have compiled the 25 Best Sites to Download Books for Free. For staying in touch with friends & family, check out our 15 Best Sites and Apps to make free phone calls. As a Windows user you might be interested in our 12 Best Driver Update Tools. You a gamer? Check out the 8 Best Streaming Sites to Watch Video Gaming.
Here is an overview (detailed descriptions are below the table; sorted alphabetically):

List of Best Free Websites to Download Music Legally

NameContentStreamingFree TrialPrice
Amazon MusicThousands of free music downloads and 75 million songs and podcasts to streamYes30 days$9.99 (Non-Prime members per month)
Apple Music90 million songs and 30,000 expert-curated playlistsYes1 month$9.99/$4.99 students
AudiomackA limitless music sharing and discovery platform for artists, tastemakers, labels, and fansYesn/aFree
BandcampAn online record store and music community where passionate fans discover, connect with, and directly support the artists they loveYesn/aUser set
BeatStarsOffers a good collection of free downloads from many genresYesn/aUser set
CC TraxFree downloads in select genres like Electronica, Dub, Techno, Downtempo and AmbientYesn/aUser set
DatpiffA great source for free mixtapes and rap to download and streamYesn/aFree
Free Music ArchiveOffers free access to a wide selection of open licensed, original musicYesn/aFree
IncompetechA large music library focused on instrumental work made for relaxation or to use as ambient noise or in videosYesn/aFree
Indie ShuffleA great option for discovering more independent musicians across a wide range of genresYesn/aFree
Internet Audio ArchiveMillions of free downloads of music, audio, podcasts, radio programs, and a Live Music ArchiveYesn/aFree
Jamendo MusicA large catalog of more than 500,000 tracks shared by 40,000 artists from over 150 countriesYesn/aFree
last.fmFree downloads and streaming of hundreds of titlesYesn/aFree
NoiseTradeMillions of songs from many different genres are free to downloadYesn/aFree
MusopenFeatures more than 110,000 royalty free, high-quality audio filesYesn/aFree
ReverbNationLets you discover emerging music from over 3.5 million artistsYesn/aPaid/Free
last.fmBoth a music social networking site and a place to download free soundtracks legallyYesn/aUser set
SoundcloudAn open platform that features 30+ million creators with over 250 million tracksYesn/aPaid/Free
SpinrillaA popular site with free hip-hop mixtape downloadsYesn/aFree
StoryBlocksA large collection of royalty-free stock music and sound effectsYesn/a$15/month
YouTubeEasily stream and download music from an extensive collection of artistsYesn/aFree/Premium
 

Reviews of the 25 Best Sites to Download Music Legally

Amazon Music Review

amazon music
There are many thousands of legal, free music downloads at Amazon Music.
You can search for titles by genre, sorting by popularity, release date, length of the song, reviews, or in alphabetical order by title, artist, or album.
You can sample songs before downloading them, and when you're ready, just add the item to your cart. Then, just check out as if you were purchasing something. You'll be taken to a link to download the free music, and it'll also be saved in the Digital Orders tab of your order history.
Regular membership is $9.99 per month and with Prime membership it costs $7.99 per month. Even if you decide that's not for you, you can enjoy your 30-day free trial!

Audiomack Review

audiomack
All the tracks is 100 percent legal and free to stream, and depending on the artist, available as free music downloads as well (mostly in MP3 format).
Search by artist, album or track. Popular music genres include reggae, pop, R&B, hip-hop, instrumental, and afrobeats.
Audiomack goes global with video content, playlists, photo essays, and interviews from New York to the universe and back.

Bandcamp Review

bandcamp
On Bandcamp, artists share their music to download in a 'name your price' type of setting (put a zero in the payment box and download your favorite song for free). Many artists set minimum proces of $1 or €1. Streaming titles usually is free and unlimited with the free Bandcamp app.
You can search for artist, album, or track. 'Selling right now' and 'new and noteworthy' sections offer great recommendations.
Most songs are available as high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.

BeatStars Review

BeatStars
BeatStars features a dedicated category with free downloads.
Sort by newly added songs, and filter by genre and several moods, such as mellow, lazy, inspiring, and silly. Other filters include key, instrument, BPM, duration, release date, and energy level.

CC Trax Review

CC Trax
Songs on CC Trax are available as free Creative Common music. The website has a nice layout where you can search for music according to license, genre, label, and artist.
Categories are limited to Electronica, Dub, Techno, Downtempo and Ambient.

Datpiff Review

Datpiff
A wide selection of mixtapes made by fans, but also releases from artists providing their music for free. Note: not everything is free.
Search by most listened, most downloaded, highest rated, and 'hot this week'.

Free Music Archive Review

Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive (FMA), founded in 2009 by radio station WFMU, offers free access to open licensed, original music. Many curators, netlabels and independent musicians around the world contribut to FMA.
You don't need to create an account, you can download and listen to music without paying (with your private data).
Charts guide you through popular tracks and the top music for the week and the month. There are also 16 genres to pick from, like blues, jazz, pop, electronic, instrumental, Soul-RnB.

Incompetech Review

Incompetech
Incompetech is more focused on instrumental work made for relaxation or to use as ambient noise or in videos.
A large selection of genres include F/X Sounds, Holiday, HipHop, Rap, Jazz, Funk, Lounge, Cinematic and many more.
Charts are updated daily.

Indie Shuffle Review

Indie Shuffle
Indie Shuffle was founded in 2009. Despite their name, they cover a diverse selection of genres, including indie rock, electronic, soul and everything in between.
Find tracks by genre, popular, random or the curated "Best New Songs" list.

Internet Audio Archive Review

internet archive music
The Internet Archive began in 1996 by archiving the Internet itself as a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form.
The Internet Archive's audio library contains 14 million audio recordings, including 220 000 live concerts, ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded users.
You can search for artist, album, or track. 'Selling right now' and 'new and noteworthy' sections offer great recommendations.
Mostly MP3s formats available for free download and streaming.

Jamendo Music Review

jamendo music
Jamendo Music was the first platform to legally share music for free from any creator under Creative Commons licenses.
You can download from a huge catalog of more than 500,000 tracks shared by 40,000 artists from over 150 countries all over the world. You can stream all the music for free, download it and support the artist: become a music explorer and be a part of a great discovery experience.
Jamendo’s mission is to offer the perfect platform for all independent artists wishing to share their creations as easily as possible, reaching new audiences internationally. Their philosophy is that any artist in the world is entitled to share his music and should have a chance to be heard by a greater number of people around the world.
Discover new tracks by viewing the most popular music and the songs that trending. There's a filter to see recently added songs. Search for artists tby name. Another way to find great music here is by listening to their radio channels.
MP3 format only.

last.fm Review

last.fm
The site features hundreds of free music downloads across all genres as well as thousands of free streaming titles.
Browse by category, new releases, coming soon, or by scrolling through the entire list.

Musopen Review

Musopen
Musopen is a non-profit organization focused on improving access and exposure to music by creating free resources and educational materials.
The site features more than 110,000 royalty free, expertly composed and handpicked, high-quality audio files, discover and download stock audio across all genres.
Categories include Corporate Music, Background Music, Cinematic Music, Hip Hop, Funk and Pop.

NoiseTrade Review

NoiseTrade
As the name suggests, you need to trade certain information through social media if you want to download any song from this website.NoiseTrade helps both artists and labels connect directly with fans through the exchange of email addresses and postal codes.
This is one of the best music websites where you can get online music without paying. Millions of songs are free to download from 19 different genres.
The site is absolutely free and music downloads are instantaneous.

ReverbNation Review

Reverbnation
On ReverbNation, you’ll find over 3.5 million artists to discover and share with friends. It is one of the best MP3 download sites that helps you find all types of upcoming artists.
Check out songs, videos, photos, and event schedules. Shoot your favorite Artist a question. Then share your discoveries with friends through any of your favorite social networks or email.
Not every song can be downloaded, although you can stream it on your smartphone, tablet, or desktop. Downloadable songs are indicated by a small download button next to the song.

Soundclick Review

Soundclick
Artists (signed and unsigned) on Soundclick offer tracks and albums either as free streams, downloads of for a fee.
You can browse charts and genres, create custom radio stations, interact with other listeners in forums, and read background and updates about artists.

Soundcloud Review

Soundcloud
Soundcloud lets you stream and download select free music (browse through the Creative Commons section or search for music tagged as free).
Not all music can be downloaded, and some require you to Like a Facebook page to get the file. Some tracks can be downloaded instantly and without an account by either showing a 'Download file' button in the 'More' menu or a 'Free Download' button under the title.

Spinrilla Review

Spinrilla
You can download free hip-hop mixtapes at Spinrilla and also stream and watch music videos.
Search by trending, popular and upcoming.

StoryBlocks Review

StoryBlocks
Storyblocks is a music download site that offers all the stock of Music and Sound effects you need with a low-cost subscription.
It is one of the best mp3 download sites that allows you to use royalty-free audio content multiple times for commercial and personal projects.
Not all music can be downloaded, and some require you to Like a Facebook page to get the file. Some tracks can be downloaded instantly and without an account by either showing a 'Download file' button in the 'More' menu or a 'Free Download' button under the title.

YouTube Review

YouTube Music
YouTube features a wide range of songs, albums, playlists, and artists.
Downloading free tracks from YouTube can be a bit tricky and to do so you need to create a filter under Creative Commons License.

What Are Free Music Download Sites?

Many people are streaming music from services like Spotify or Amazon Music. While you get access to millions of songs for a reasonable monthly cost (or free but ad supported), you don't actually own any of that music. If a service changes or shuts down, you might lose access to everything in your library.
The alternative is buying your music digitally on Apple's Music app, Amazon, iTunes, or other digital storefront. But that can get expensive.
For the best of both worlds, these online music websites allow you to download music for free – and they're completely legal.

What Are Streaming Music Sites?

Streaming media is multimedia that is delivered and consumed in a continuous manner from a source, with little or no intermediate storage in network elements. Streaming refers to the delivery method of content, rather than the content itself.
Streaming is an alternative to file downloading, a process in which the end-user obtains the entire file for the content before watching or listening to it. Through streaming, an end-user can use their media player to start playing digital video or digital audio content before the entire file has been transmitted.
Streaming copyrighted content can involve making infringing copies of the works in question. Please check the legal stautus of anything you are considering to stream. If you are streaming movies and TV shows that are hosted within a public domain then it’s legal.

What is the Public Domain?

Copyright laws may differ from country to country, but in general terms, public domain refers to works that are not protected by federal copyright law and are free to be used, copied and distributed by anyone without attribution, permission, license or royalty payment.
A work may become part of the public domain for a variety of reasons, including expiration of the term of copyright protection, failure of the work to qualify for copyright protection, or dedication of the work to the public domain by the work’s author. The concept of the public domain differs from country to country.