Music Download Source
February 11, 2005 7:27 PM   Subscribe

Where to download music? I only listen to music when I’m in my car (3 to 4 hours a day) and I plan to give my XM Radio to my father. I need to be able to burn the songs into CDs. I don’t need to find rare songs. Free is good, but I’d rather pay than have my PC full of spyware.

BTW, I am on broadband and I plan to download at least 200 songs the first week or so.
posted by Penks to Computers & Internet (28 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
soulseek? Disclaimer: I do not condone stealing.
posted by mai at 7:32 PM on February 11, 2005 is good, since the word "legal" was noticeably absent from your post.
posted by smackfu at 7:33 PM on February 11, 2005

Does asking how to facilitate an illegal activity really belong on AskMe?
posted by rhapsodie at 7:35 PM on February 11, 2005

rhapsodie, it's only illegal if you live somewhere it's illegal. Here in The Great Canadiana, not so illegal.

Penks, what kind of music are you looking to download?
posted by Jairus at 7:38 PM on February 11, 2005

Hey, is "legal" (and v.good except for obscure stuff).
posted by cillit bang at 7:39 PM on February 11, 2005

Response by poster: Does asking how to facilitate an illegal activity really belong on AskMe?

I was actually thinking more about pay (legal) sites, I just didn’t want to limit my options.
posted by Penks at 7:42 PM on February 11, 2005 is the "tracker" for They have tons of free legal live recordings. There's a lot of "jam band" in the mix, but if you dig you'll find Steven Malkmus solo, Camper Van Beethoven, and vintage Afrika Bambaataa from '83.
posted by Jack Karaoke at 7:50 PM on February 11, 2005

I read a number of mp3 blogs, some of which post music from their own collection and some which link to tracks distributed by labels or artists to promote albums. Two of my favorite are 3hive and Mystery and Misery. The link sections of both will lead you to many other mp3 blogs.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 8:21 PM on February 11, 2005

This is probably obvious, but...if you're not looking for terribly obscure stuff, and your main criteria is being able to burn it onto CD, and you're willing to pay, I don't think going with the iTunes Music Store is going to do you wrong.

If you're into dance, I highly recommend Beatport. Excellent quality, good selection, good pricing.
posted by Remy at 8:42 PM on February 11, 2005

This MP3 blog roundup on the blue was really useful for me.
posted by fionab at 8:56 PM on February 11, 2005

posted by Mean Mr. Bucket at 8:59 PM on February 11, 2005

Now that LokiTorrents has gone down the tubes, your best bet for free torrent trackers is probably The Pirate Bay. You can limit your choice of categories to just full albums. There are probably at least a couple that will interest you out of the several thousand available.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:45 PM on February 11, 2005

It rhymes with BLUESNET. Any broadband ISP is likely to carry the alt.binaries.sounds.mp3.* collection on their blues server, with varying degrees of retention. Binary News Reaper works quite well as a downloader although it takes a little bit of time to learn. Look for not just the old standards, but some independent music and authorized bootlegs that are worth a listen.
posted by calwatch at 10:40 PM on February 11, 2005

Response by poster: I phrased the question poorly. I apologize for that.

I have been thinking about iTunes, but as I mentioned, I plan to download a LOT of songs at first to build my library, since I have no songs now so iTunes would be too expensive. Basically, something like Napster would be ideal for me if I could burn them to CDs.

I didn't want to ask too specific a question because I have no idea what kind of services are out there (I never download music) and needed to keep responses more open.

Thank you all for answering.
posted by Penks at 10:56 PM on February 11, 2005

Best answer: Penks-

You can download mp3s from, import them into itunes, and burn from itunes onto CD. That also lets you buy from the iTunes music store when you feel like it, but doesn't lock you in.
posted by u2604ab at 11:08 PM on February 11, 2005

I discovered the other day. I am not sure how long it has been around but their lack of recent activity suggests it may not last. Anyway, it's all free, and presumably legal. It claims to be legal anyway.
posted by recursive at 11:48 PM on February 11, 2005

50 free downloads from Go via j-walkblog (scroll down a little) and he'll get his dollar for the referral. I'm not affiliated, blah, blah, blah.. You'll have to provide a credit card as you are subscribing to a monthly service, but you can cancel as soon as you are done with your 50 free downloads. If you decide to subscribe they have different plans like 20 songs for ten bucks per month, etc. The selections are a little slim but they have almost the entire Zappa catalog and plenty of good classical music, and did I mention that it was free?
posted by fixedgear at 2:04 AM on February 12, 2005

If you like your electronic music check out the excellent mixes avaialble at the Cursor Miner website. The gameboyzz orchestra project is worth a look. There's always too.
posted by nthdegx at 2:23 AM on February 12, 2005

get limewire, hang out on networks searching for gems of your music collection past.
posted by dabitch at 2:43 AM on February 12, 2005

thanks for the mention monju_bosatsu!

There's also Fat Planet and Better Propaganda who offer free and legal music downloads. has some great unknown bands. There's also a bunch of net labels out there with some quality bands.
posted by jasonspaceman at 5:05 AM on February 12, 2005

Another vote for allofmp3. I think it's great and I've never had any problems at all with it. I realise it's of questionable legality, but I've probably bought twice as many CDs since I started using it than I would have otherwise.
posted by eatcherry at 6:56 AM on February 12, 2005

Soulseek. Poor interface, slow downloading, but you will hit the motherload of obscure and hard to find music.
posted by Quartermass at 7:13 AM on February 12, 2005

Interesting that no one is suggesting legal options. I happen to work for one of the folks out there that's attempting to do what Napster's doing WRT subscriptions (DISCLAIMER: not Napster), and it's an interesting calculus.

The label rules for distribution of music are ridiculously byzantine -- you can only have licenses for a PDL on 5 machines, or a subscription download on 3. You can burn tracks X number of times, send them to X number of friends, etc etc.

The basic calculus that Napster et al are pushing is that you can have access to a theoretically unlimited catalogue (at this point for most providers, around 1-1.5mil tracks and growing) for the cost of a monthly subscription. Depending upon your consumption of music, this can be a good deal.

You subscription is say, $10/mo for downloading to a computer and not moving the tracks to a portable device, and $15/mo to move to a portable device. That's between $120-180/yr to have access to all this music, or around 10-15 CDs a year.

In my mind, if you're a -new- music consumer (ie, past college age) you've probably built out your collection to a great extent, and don't have the need to backfill so much. For example, much of my income in college was spent on purchasing CDs (for, as we all know, I'm an idiot.) At this point, my desire to back-fill the entire U2 catalogue for the sake of doing it isn't that high.

On the other hand, having access to this number of tracks allows you to discover artists you wouldn't normally listen to. I also tend not to download, but rather stream various playlists/radio stations/albums while i'm at work and at home, which makes the subscription-type services worthwhile for me.

I find it interesting that no one outside of the original poster have mentioned pay services. I think it's going to be a challenge for the pay services to make DRMed content as easy to use and as portable as MP3s, but fortunately that's a challenge I get to fight out at work. The technology companies want to make things as easy as possible, but the labels just don't get it yet.

To finish up this long ramble, many of the subscription services out there will let you get a free month's service to try it out. My suggestion -- give it a shot and see if you like it. If not, as many people have stated, there are many ways to get your music for free, as long as you don't have moral/legal qualms about doing it.

(No, I'm not trying to be a scare-monger.)

posted by fet at 9:27 AM on February 12, 2005

I mentioned a subscrition based service. Please scroll up. Thanks.
posted by fixedgear at 11:18 AM on February 12, 2005

But the problem with Napster and any other site like it is that you lose ALL your music when you drop the subscription. Read this. So if you actually want to keep the music you download, watch out for that.
posted by web-goddess at 1:55 PM on February 12, 2005

One of the problems is that older and more obscure music is often not availble on sites like iTunes. And when it is, it's the same price, whereas most backlist cds are cheaper by about half. Music companies could make their backlist available for less, and make money. All the DRM issues and lack of portability in formats make pay-per-download sites are a problem, as well. Make it easy for customers to buy the music we want and price it fairly.
posted by Mom at 8:18 AM on February 13, 2005

fet: *is* a pay service.
posted by waxpancake at 10:30 AM on February 14, 2005

Interesting that no one is suggesting legal options.

Interesting that you didn't read the other answes before coming to that conclusion.
posted by nthdegx at 10:03 AM on February 23, 2005

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