Where can I find recording artists who have MP3s available for download?
January 21, 2011 6:44 AM   Subscribe

Where can I find recording artists who have MP3s available for download?

Recently, I found a couple of recording artists who made their latest albums available for MP3 download via PayPal (much as Radiohead did a while back with "In Rainbows"). I realized that I was pleased to be able to legally buy music and know that every single penny of my purchase was going directly to the artists themselves.

I was wondering: do you know of any musicians who are doing this? And, if so, from where can I download their music? I'm looking for sites maintained by specific artists, rather than aggregate sites such as last.fm or Amazon's MP3 download page. Thanks a bunch!
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Here is a blog that focuses only on artists who have complete albums available for free download or free streaming.
posted by ND¢ at 6:54 AM on January 21, 2011

Just bought Yeasayer's new live album (FLAC and mp3) directly from their site. You can also buy their studio releases there.

Nine Inch Nails offers their music for digital download directly from their own site.

Those are the only 2 off the top of my head, but I'm interested in seeing other people's suggestions.
posted by snwod at 7:23 AM on January 21, 2011

"I'm looking for sites maintained by specific artists, rather than aggregate sites such as last.fm or Amazon's MP3 download page."
I know this doesn't exactly fit the criteria above, but check out NoiseTrade.com. It's a site that allows artists to upload their music and make it available for download for free, while giving downloaders the option to make a donation of any amount to the artist (80% of which goes to the artist).
posted by BurntHombre at 7:29 AM on January 21, 2011

bandcamp is the closest you'll come to paying artists directly for their music via paypal.

they do take a 10-15% cut of sales, in addition to paypal's cut, but you are paying the artist directly for their music in a digital format.
posted by noloveforned at 7:42 AM on January 21, 2011

GrinderTool.com is the site maintained by John Bergin (of Trust Obey, C17H19NO3, lots of other industrial/darkwave projects). The 'music archive' has free downloads of nearly everything he's worked on, as far as I can tell - about 17 albums and a bunch of non-album tracks and remixes.
posted by FatherDagon at 7:57 AM on January 21, 2011

Jonathan Coulton is a perennial favorite.
posted by hades at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2011

bandcamp is the closest you'll come to paying artists directly for their music via paypal.

This may be true as far as talking about organizations that represent some sort of layer between the artist and the fan - which almost by definition are going to need to take some sort of transactional cut to keep the lights on, but I think the poster is asking about DIY artists who are hosting their own downloads so that all your money goes to them except whatever they pay for the bandwidth.

This is not to bag on Bandcamp which seems to be a fair deal in terms of taking a cut for providing hosting and a pass-through on purchases, better than the major download retailers. For what it's worth I have been noticing artists I previously tagged as going a DIY route with selling downloads transitioning to BandCamp, examples are Andrew Huang (more on him below) and bgm, so Bandcamp must be doing something right.

I have researched this very question on and off in service of a very poorly maintained blog so this question has no provided an opportunity to clean up a particular folder in my disastrous bookmarks fiasco.

Andrew Huang makes his "Songs to Wear Pants To" songs-on-request songs available through a download transaction outfit called Payloadz. I emailed with him quite a few years ago and he seemed pretty satisfied with that service at the time. He also does a subscription thing through what he calls "Suture Sound" where he just emails you monthly links to downloads which delivers a ton of music for the dollar (I've been a member going on a couple years).

Nine Inch Nails has been doing this for a while, ever since Reznor got off his contract.

The Poster Children were, well, poster children for DIY, no-corporate philosophy long before the internet had much anything to do with music. Looks like they use Payloadz as well for the transactions.

God Is An Astronaut used to do a DIY thing and now that I look them up again it look like they are using a "Facebook Friendly" transaction service called OWJO. I don't know anything about this so grain of salt, but they GIAA did have a DIY mentality before so that service might be worthwhile.

(In a similar vein MySpace has a service for selling called SnoCap but I heard a lot of complaints about it, particularly when they apparently instituted a $30 annual fee on members regardless of their sales. No idea what's up with them now, MySpace seems like such an afterthought anyway these days.)

David Byrne and Brian Eno put out an album a while back, the transaction is managed in some way via a company called TopSpin, they bill what they sell as a "software platform". They have a "for fans" link on their page so might be a path to more music discovery.

Metafilter's own Brad Sucks aka frenetic rolled his own download store and you can buy his stuff (which is really good) direct from his site.

I asked pretty much this identical question a couple years back, I haven't reviewed these links in a while so I don't know how current they are, but a number to explore there.

I wish there was a great blog or something of just this, but I haven't found it yet (maybe in this thread), because I think artists using this model deserve to be much better promoted (and I think bigger names like Radiohead, Byrne and Eno, and Reznor could probably be enticed to promote such a venue if it was well done and got somewhat established. Step 4 profit, yeah yeah. Nice idea though. Thanks for asking again.
posted by nanojath at 9:51 AM on January 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Duh, forgot Coulton. He manages the transactions via an outfit called E-junkie incidentally.
posted by nanojath at 9:54 AM on January 21, 2011

Ani DiFranco has many, but not all, albums in her store available in mp3 form.
posted by hades at 9:58 AM on January 21, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for all the help - much appreciated.
posted by tallmiddleagedgeek at 11:30 AM on January 21, 2011

You may like Onda, by D Numbers.
I liked it and bought the download directly from their PayPal site.
I won't even bother trying to describe it, just give it a listen for yourself.
posted by No Shmoobles at 1:31 PM on January 21, 2011

Kristin Hersh has been doing this in one way or another for 12 or 13 years now, and now has similar deals set up for her bands Throwing Muses and 50 Foot Wave. Pretty much all of her MP3s are available free-of-charge under a creative commons license, but there's a subscriber model built into it too.

There's a list of other artists' music available under the CASH music banner here.
posted by Sonny Jim at 2:15 PM on January 21, 2011

« Older Fix my Google shortcuts!   |   Half day schools in the United States Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.