A cost effective music solution
November 24, 2010 8:53 AM   Subscribe

What is the most cost effective way to have tons of music (piracy is not an option)? At the least I want something that lets me listen to music on my iPad offline because it is a WiFi only model.

The only options that I've seen are mostly paid plans with trials and nothing free as far as I've seen. I'm looking for something legal and with a variety of music. I like Rdio, but my trial ended. So I'm wondering if there's anything really cheap or free? Free would be the best option.
posted by antgly to Technology (37 answers total) 39 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I would prefer not paying anything, but if there's nothing with the above criteria, then the cheapest option will do.
posted by antgly at 9:00 AM on November 24, 2010

There is a ton, just a ton, of Creative-Commons-licensed music in the world. And a lot of it is actually really, really good.
posted by mhoye at 9:06 AM on November 24, 2010

At the least I want something that lets me listen to music on my iPad offline

Well, that's the kicker. If you don't want piracy, yet don't want to pay for the music, then you've crammed yourself into a corner. It's pretty hard to get one without the other, due to the fact that music is almost always, when sold legitimately, done so for money. Streaming is one thing - and there are many options for that - but offline means that you need to have a copy of it, which requires either buying it, being given it or stealing/pirating it (and let's ignore any interpretation of that for the moment, shall we?).

So cheap ways of getting music? Any music? Trawl second hand stores and CD bins and get the $1 CD's and see if there is stuff you like. Burn it with another computer (if you have one) and transfer it to your iPad and you're good.
posted by Brockles at 9:08 AM on November 24, 2010 [2 favorites]

All legal, all mp3 downloads available.
posted by JeremiahBritt at 9:10 AM on November 24, 2010

What is the most cost effective way to have tons of music (piracy is not an option)? At the least I want something that lets me listen to music on my iPad offline because it is a WiFi only model.

Well there are free streaming music services, and ways to rip those free streaming services, so you could technically get free offline music that way. I'm not sure if you would consider that to be piracy, because it's basically the same sort of time shifting that was declared legal as free use in the old Betamax case, but the RIAA would definitely consider it to be infringement. Anyway if you want to go that route, you could use something like Pandora's Jar to rip Pandora streams or even just rip audio off of YouTube videos for songs using something like this.

Also there are MP3 blogs that you can download stuff from, but not all of those are legal either. The Hype Machine is a good aggregator for them.

You can get 4629 songs (20GB) from Metafilter Music via this torrent

I'm still seeding that so you should be able to get ridiculous speeds on it as well :)
posted by burnmp3s at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2010

If you prefer free you really don't have many options other than pirating or picking up free download credits. Gizmodo.com has daily deals of the day and often lists free $3.00 amazon music download or similar services.
Idk, pirating is a great way to get music and if you feel bad about, send a check to the band directly as it would benefit them more than the $0.05-0.09 gained from a digital download.
Many indie bands also offer a pay what you want model.
posted by handbanana at 9:14 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

OCRemix.org hosts thousands of free video game music arrangements and remixes. There are torrents available for bulk downloading.
posted by jedicus at 9:15 AM on November 24, 2010

iTunes and Amazon offer a selection of free songs that changes on a regular basis.
posted by jedicus at 9:17 AM on November 24, 2010

There is a huge ton of free music available on archive.org from all sorts of genres.
posted by mkb at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

WFMU's Free Music Archive hosts 28,375 free tracks in a wide variety of genres. You can search, browse by genre, or browse curated collections.
posted by jedicus at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Go to the library, check out CDs and rip them. Does that equal piracy?
posted by fixedgear at 9:24 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

Amazon's "99 Most" series is pretty awesome, covers a lot of bases, and each collection of 99 is typically $2-$5.
posted by jbickers at 9:27 AM on November 24, 2010

podcasts or amazon has tons of cds free
posted by bravowhiskey at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2010

Get CDs from the library and rip them yourself.
posted by wenestvedt at 9:31 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

And of course the recently posted-to-Metafilter complete organ works of J.S. Bach.
posted by jedicus at 9:31 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

There is a huge ton of free music available on archive.org from all sorts of genres.

Here's a direct link to the audio section of archive.org. One of the highlights is the Grateful Dead collection, which includes thousands of recordings of Grateful Dead concerts over the years.
posted by jedicus at 9:39 AM on November 24, 2010

The Newgrounds Audio Portal offers literally tens of thousands of free songs in a variety of genres.
posted by jedicus at 9:52 AM on November 24, 2010

People I know use Grooveshark, which both doesn't work offline as far as I know and I'm not sure how legal it is. Last.fm and Pandora are also good for streaming radio based on your tastes.

Offline is harder. I also don't download music illegally, so I buy music mostly from the Amazon mp3 store which has a revolving selection of great deals- brand new albums for 3.99, monthly 5 dollar deals, etc. Follow their twitter feed for updates on the deals of the moment. Paying for all of my music means my collection grows more slowly than people I know who have downloaded GBs and GBs of music illegally, but it's a quality over quantity thing.
posted by MadamM at 9:54 AM on November 24, 2010

Spotify aims for a launch in the US before the end of the year. They've blown a few deadlines already though, so there's no telling for sure. For me here in Sweden, it's the only source of music, and it's a rare event that I'm looking for something they don't have. It costs around $12 per month for all the music you can consume, with offline playlists in the iPhone/iPad app.
posted by springload at 10:01 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

I almost forgot about etree.org, which offers torrent downloadable recordings of thousands and thousands of concerts. The goal of the site is this:

"We support the discussion and trading of the highest quality recordings of:
1. live performances;
2. by bands/performers that allow taping and trading;
3. in a lossless compression format."
posted by jedicus at 10:05 AM on November 24, 2010 [1 favorite]

WXPN has a morning download (scroll down for the link). You can get some interesting music that way.
posted by leahwrenn at 10:21 AM on November 24, 2010

The WFMU free music archive has a lot of interesting live performances and legal downloads.
posted by zombiedance at 10:29 AM on November 24, 2010

I don't know if it's available in Canada only, but radio3.cbc.ca has downloadable podcasts, live concerts and sessions from a lot of different bands.
posted by "Elbows" O'Donoghue at 10:51 AM on November 24, 2010

Grooveshark. Streaming with the option of saving locally.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:43 AM on November 24, 2010

Check out the podcasts available through iTunes - there are definitely music heavy ones available (such as All Songs Considered, KCRW, etc)
posted by maryr at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2010

Oh, also concerts available via All Songs Considered.
posted by maryr at 12:26 PM on November 24, 2010

Look, checking out from the library and ripping it yourself is still piracy; the ownership is still with the library by all rights.

Your best bet are the legally free options other have listed above already.
posted by Ky at 3:08 PM on November 24, 2010

Response by poster: I like Grooveshark and Rdio, but after the trial period you have to pay. If they were free or could be free for a longer period of time, then they would be my perfect solution.
posted by antgly at 4:09 PM on November 24, 2010

If Spotify opens in the US, that will be your best bet. They have a free service, with a catch - you have to listen to advertisements every 3-4 tracks, and you can't listen offline. Here in the UK the listen-offline service (Premium) is £10/month, which I think is a very small amount of money for what is essentially an unlimited music service.

I go for their intermediate service (Unlimited - £5/month) which has no advertising but no offline listening, which works perfectly for me.

Cost-effective != free, necessarily. If you only wanted free, you should have said so in the first place.
posted by altolinguistic at 3:58 AM on November 25, 2010

Response by poster: I want either free, but if free is not available at the time, then cheapest will do. What is the cheapest option around for offline music on the iPad with variety as a key factor? Whether buying or streaming or offline use? If there is something cheaper than iTunes or Amazon or if there is a streaming music service that is cheaper than Rhapsody To Go or Rdio that would be nice.

Essentially I want to be able to listen to new and popular music on the train regardless of the method. That is why it should have an offline option. Whether it's buying or streaming caching, I just want to know if there is anything that is cheaper than Rhapsody, Rdio, or Napster. Grooveshark was the best solution to me until my trial ended and I would definitely pay $3/month for it. However their iPhone app got pulled and the current jailbreak for iPad 4.2.1 is tethered only and I'm not willing to go for that method right now.
posted by antgly at 1:38 PM on November 25, 2010

Grooveshark is the way to go. It's free to listen from a computer but $3 per month for mobile access. Very comprehensive!
posted by gilast at 4:28 PM on November 28, 2010

Doesn't fit all your criteria, but I like Jango for listening to music online for free. Also, unlike Pandora it works outside of the US.
posted by smokingmonkey at 5:39 PM on November 29, 2010

Jazz On Line has over 30,000 early Jazz mp3s (mostly 1920s-1950s).
posted by fings at 7:12 PM on November 29, 2010

Spotify allows you to do something similar but only works in europe. You can sign up through a proxy though and still access only needing to sign in via proxy every month or so.
posted by bravowhiskey at 12:20 PM on December 7, 2010

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