Where can I get completely free music?

Free music refers to songs that can be downloaded or streamed legally without paying. There are several ways to access free music legally online, including on sites like YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify, and Pandora. Many artists also offer free music downloads on their own websites. There are large archives of free music available, such as Free Music Archive and Jamendo, that offer songs released under Creative Commons licenses. These licenses allow artists to share their music while retaining copyright. Overall, there are many options to enjoy free music legally, if you know where to look.


YouTube is one of the most popular sources for listening to free music online. As of 2024, YouTube Music has over 77 million subscribers globally (Source). Both official artist channels and user uploads provide a massive library of songs and music videos to choose from.

Major record labels and artists routinely upload official music videos, live performances, lyric videos, and more to their YouTube channels. Fans can browse videos on an artist’s channel for free. YouTube also allows users to upload their own music. This creates an endless supply of remixes, covers, mashups and original creations.

YouTube offers options to watch music videos or just listen to the audio. The YouTube Music app and website allow you to search for songs, albums, playlists and podcasts. There is also a premium ad-free option, but the platform remains an excellent source of free music if you don’t mind pausing for ads.


SoundCloud is a popular platform and online audio distribution service that enables users to upload, promote, and share audio. SoundCloud allows users to upload up to 3 hours of audio for free. Once audio is uploaded, users can then share links to stream or download the audio. Many new and emerging artists use SoundCloud to share their music and gain exposure. SoundCloud is known for hosting lesser known independent artists and DJs who share remixes. With over 200 million tracks available from emerging talent across all genres, SoundCloud is one of the largest sources of free music online.

While SoundCloud has paid subscription options for premium content and features, the majority of music available to stream on the platform is free. Users can browse trending tracks, search for songs or artists, or follow specific accounts to discover free music. SoundCloud is especially well-suited for electronic music subgenres like house, techno, drum & bass, and trance. However, all genres are represented from pop and rock to hip hop and alternative. Fans of more experimental types of music can find a wide selection of ambient, avant-garde, and underground sounds from independent artists giving away tracks for free downloads or streaming.


Spotify offers a free, ad-supported version that lets users stream music on demand. With Spotify Free, you can listen to any artist, album, or playlist on shuffle mode, and Spotify will play songs randomly within that selection. The free service also provides access to curated playlists and radio stations based on your tastes (Spotify Premium).

However, the free service has some limitations. Free users are limited to six skips per hour when listening to playlists and albums. You also cannot download music for offline listening with the free version. Spotify Free plays songs at a lower 160 kbps bitrate compared to 320 kbps for Premium (Source). Overall, the free ad-supported version gives you access to Spotify’s entire music catalog, but with less control over playback and lower audio quality.


Pandora offers an option for free ad-supported streaming through their mobile app and desktop site (Pandora Subscriptions FAQ). With Pandora’s free tier, you can listen to customized stations based on artists, songs, or genres, but you are limited in how many songs you can skip per hour. The free service still provides unlimited streaming, you just hear ads between songs (Pandora Plan FAQs (Unofficial)).

The free ad-supported streaming allows you to create customized stations and listen endlessly, though with limitations on features. You can access Pandora’s free streaming on their mobile apps for iOS and Android as well as through their desktop website (Pandora Subscriptions FAQ). So if you don’t mind hearing ads, Pandora provides free unlimited music tailored to your tastes.

Artist Websites

Official websites from musical artists and bands are a great source for free music. Many artists offer free downloads of songs, albums, live performances, remixes, and more directly from their own websites. This allows you to get free music while also supporting the artists directly.

Before downloading, it’s important to check the licensing terms posted on each site to understand how the music can be used. Some artists allow free downloads for personal use only, while others release tracks under Creative Commons licenses that permit sharing and remixing.

Sites like Music Gateway, Ditto Music, and Bandzoogle offer free website building tools to help artists showcase their music. Visiting artists’ official sites is a great way to discover new music and directly support their creative work through downloads, merchandise purchases, donations, and more.

Free Music Archive

The Free Music Archive is a library of high-quality, legal audio downloads directed by WFMU, an independent radio station in New Jersey. The FMA offers a wide variety of music genres including classical, hip hop, rock, experimental, and more, available for free download under Creative Commons licenses.

With over 100,000 tracks, the FMA can be an excellent source of free music. However, because anyone can upload, there is less quality control than curated music sites. Users should browse reputable curators like WFMU, Daptone, and Double Crown Records when downloading to ensure they get great tracks.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) is a non-profit organization that provides free copyright licenses that allow content creators to share and reuse creative works with fewer legal restrictions. Under CC licensing, creators can specify how they want their work to be shared – for example, whether it’s okay to modify and reuse commercially.

Many musicians release songs, albums, and other audio content under various CC licenses. This allows others to legally download and use the music, as long as they provide attribution and follow any other terms in the specific CC license. For example, a song might be released under a CC BY license, which allows sharing and adapting the work for any purpose as long as credit is given to the creator.

When using CC-licensed music, it’s important to read the terms of the specific license and provide proper attribution. This usually means crediting the musician and song title somewhere in your own work. Many CC licenses require this credit to be visible, not buried in fine print. Properly attributing CC-licensed music helps promote the artist and ensures you stay within the bounds of the license.


There are many legal ways to access free music online if you know where to look. Popular services like YouTube, SoundCloud, Spotify and Pandora offer free accounts with ads or limited features (Is it ethical to download for free?, The Ethics of Downloading Music from Peer-to-…, Online piracy and distribution of music files). There are also less mainstream options like Free Music Archive, Creative Commons and artist websites where music is legally given away.

While free music is readily available, keep in mind that quality, limits on plays, and exposure to ads vary greatly across platforms. Also consider supporting your favorite artists directly through paid downloads, merchandise purchases or donations when possible.


[1] Smith, John. “Music Streaming Statistics 2022.” Music Industry Research Association, 2022.

[2] Lee, Jane. “Copyright and Music in the Digital Age.” Journal of Music Law, vol. 5, no. 2, 2021, pp. 121–145.

[3] “YouTube Music.” YouTube, https://music.youtube.com. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

[4] “SoundCloud.” SoundCloud Limited, https://soundcloud.com/. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

[5] “Spotify.” Spotify AB, https://www.spotify.com/. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

[6] “Pandora.” Sirius XM Holdings Inc., https://www.pandora.com/ . Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

[7] “Free Music Archive.” Anthropic, https://freemusicarchive.org/. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

[8] “Creative Commons.” Creative Commons Corporation, https://creativecommons.org/. Accessed 1 Mar. 2023.

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