Free Music for Your iPod (2004) | iLounge Article


Free Music for Your iPod (2004)

Interested in free, legal music for your iPod? Visit the new iLounge Free Music section of our site, featuring daily updated links to great indie and major artist releases available for immediate download!

If you have an iPod and far fewer songs than Gigabytes of storage space, you’ve probably asked one of iLounge’s most popular questions: “how can I load my iPod up with free music?”

There are at least two answers to this question, one generally illegal, and one generally legal. You’ve probably already heard about the illegal free music options, but just in case you haven’t, we’ll run through the reasons you’ll want to skip them and use the legal free music sites instead.

Illegal Free Music: Downloads with Consequences

Six years ago, the sheer quantity of open challenges to American copyright law created a popular perception that music - old and new alike - was supposed to be free, and “shared” between friends and strangers alike. Upon release of just about any new album (and sometimes even before), full MP3-format tracks appeared on music-sharing services such as Napster and Kazaa, spreading around the world without restriction. Many recording artists were angered by what they felt was mass theft of their music, while others either ignored or embraced the file-sharing.

The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) decided to fight the “music is free” movement, undertaking highly publicized lawsuits on behalf of artists it represented. Services such as Napster were sued for billions of dollars as facilitators of copyright infringement, and either driven out of business or forced into retreat. Subsequently, RIAA lawsuits against individuals shut down large resources of “shared” music, and warned others that swapping smaller quantities of copyrighted content could subject them to similar legal action.

RIAA lawsuits haven’t stopped the trading of copyrighted music online, but they’ve turned file-sharing into a game of Russian Roulette. For obvious reasons, iLounge does not recommend the sharing or downloading of “free” music from file-sharing services unless you know for sure that the artist has specifically given permission for that music to be shared.

Non-U.S. Music Download Sites: A Dangerous Gray Area

The average person should be aware that there’s likely something wrong about getting entire free albums for nothing, but what if they were offered for four cents per song, instead of ten or more dollars per album? If you pay something for your downloads, is that enough to protect yourself from being sued?

That’s the question posed by a few fly-by-night web sites - often operated by individuals outside of the United States - that purport to offer penny-per-megabyte downloads of popular music. One of the more notable,, offers a surprisingly robust collection of albums from major recording artists in the compressed audio format of your choice, More amazingly, songs are available for download at rates of under 10 cents per track, and the site has claimed for months - without public legal challenge, at least - that it is operating legally under Russian law. Competing site offers a similar downloading service from Spain. Other sites offering similarly priced downloads of major recording artists’ products, such as the Spanish site, have been sued and shut down.

iLounge doesn’t take a position on the legality of any of these specific sites, as they operate under foreign legal systems and may or may not be entitled to offer the pricing and unprotected files they are selling. We urge our readers to exercise caution before assuming that any “purchased” music from these stores is a replacement for store-purchased CDs or licensed tracks from established domestic vendors of digital music.

Downloading Free Music Without Fear

With so many questions regarding the legality of international and domestic music downloads - questions which in accordance with the RIAA’s litigation strategy have created a blanket presumption of downloading fear that may not be entirely justified - there are only a handful of major free music download sites that guarantee that users are not breaking any laws. The best we’ve seen are listed below. A great blog-style listing of free iPod-compatible MP3 songs offered by record artists and labels in an attempt to entice full-album purchases. Free Music Downloads: A surprising mix of music from mainstream and independent artists, available for free in iPod-compatible MP3 format. Also offers musicians the ability to upload and share their songs. Provides a paid MP3 download service with a free two-week trial period. Focuses primarily on independent artists and offers a selection of 20,000 full albums to choose from. Offers highly professional, artist-focused presentation of free digital music downloads in MP3 format, with biographical details and short previews for songs across a narrow collection of genres. Along with its sister site, provides a large variety of free MP3 format songs for young listeners. Not to be confused with Apple’s music creation application of the same name, collects and provides popularity charts of independent music, featuring over 125,000 bands. The Internet Underground Music Archive provides genre-organized downloads of iPod-compatible MP3-format music. A simple site from an aesthetic standpoint, provides free downloads of well-known classical music in MP3 format. A clean, professionally designed interface to individual free songs sorted by genre, selected by site “sources” who pick and post only music they like. A single site that provides an hourly aggregation of the free and legal MP3 downloading blogs of over 100 different bloggers, impressively spanning genres and tastes from the obscure to the mainstream. The music-dedicated expansion of popular software download site offers free full-length MP3 songs across all major genres, even including Children’s, Spoken Word, Comedy, Folk and Religious tracks. Most tracks are indie.

PureVolume offers over 100,000 free songs for download, and captured many of the best users of what used to be (before it was scrapped, sold, and completely changed).

Vitaminic: Mixing downloads in iPod-compatible MP3 format with those in iPod-incompatible Realmedia format, Vitaminic spans a wide range of genres - even including ones such as classical, jazz, and world music.

Of course, if you can’t find the song you’re looking for on one of these free sites, you can always visit Apple’s iTunes Music Store and make a purchase there. Though iTunes isn’t as cheap as some of the questionable international sites listed in the prior section, and it both limits bitrate quality and places heavier restrictions on use of its downloaded music, it is an entirely safe and legal way to get access to over one million songs.

Downloading Free Podcasts: Radio for your iPod

In addition to free music for your iPod, you can also download “Podcasts,” short radio-style programs produced by individuals and companies around the world. iLounge’s Podcast - which was created using an iPod photo and Griffin’s iTalk voice recorder accessory - can be downloaded here, and several directories of Podcasts have popped up elsewhere on the Internet. is the web site of former MTV vee-jay and Podcasting spearheader Adam Curry, with a directory that’s slowly being updated to accommodate numerous additions. is another and more modern-looking directory, with offering both a directory and a Podcast downloading tool. On a related note, the fine folks at Engadget produce a great Podcast and also provide tutorials on creating your own.

Finding More Free and Legal Music Online

If you haven’t visited iLounge’s Free Music section yet, now’s the time. We’ve found a collection of great sites that tell you where to get the best new free and legal music online.

Besides the existing iLounge Discussion Forums, which host over 15,000 posts on music (and 3,000 on music formats), we have just added the new Free Music forum, where you can discuss legal places to find free music online.

Please verify that any links you submit qualify as “free, legal music downloads.” iLounge does not take any responsibility for verifying the legality of any of the sites or services listed, and encourages all users to be cautious before downloading and sharing any other person’s music online.

« iTunes Song, Album, Artist Data Lost on Audio CD Burn

The Complete Guide to iPod photo Pictures (2004) »

Related Stories



Another good website is, they offer free recorded concerts, bands like the Greatful Dead have thousands of full concerts free to download.  You have to download software to convert them from .shn files but that is easy

Posted by cart0194 on December 13, 2004 at 8:25 AM (CST)

2 has single tracks from many independent labels. does also.

Posted by bennok on December 13, 2004 at 1:46 PM (CST)


And what about Mercedes-Benz Mixed Tape? It has some nice stuff and it’s updated regurarly…

Posted by Mainyehc in Lisbon, Portugal on December 13, 2004 at 2:03 PM (CST)


[Edited by Moderator: Links to bootleg recordings are not permitted. Bootlegs are recorded without an artist’s permission and do not qualify as legal music downloads. Please do not post bootleg links here again.]

Posted by hokka in Sydney on December 13, 2004 at 10:55 PM (CST)


Free album! (commercial hard rock)

Posted by Galley in Greenville, SC on December 14, 2004 at 12:34 AM (CST)


free music? for your ipod? come to macidol
and download
it s here:

take fun

the bananakiller

Posted by bananakiller in st tropez on December 14, 2004 at 2:41 AM (CST)


” iPodlounge does not recommend the sharing or downloading of “free” music from file-sharing services unless you know for sure that the artist has specifically given permission for that music to be shared.”

Except that in most cases, the artists don’t own their own music-the labels do.  The artists can’t legally make that decision unless they own it outright (only a small percentage do own their own music).

Posted by pkrug on December 14, 2004 at 7:40 AM (CST)


We’re using the word “artists” as shorthand, because you can feel relatively sure that if an artist gives permission, you’re safe. (They’d be in violation of contracts with their labels or whomever else owns the rights.)

Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on December 14, 2004 at 10:38 AM (CST)


i give permisssion for my music!
take fun !
the bananakiller

Posted by bananakiller in st tropez on December 14, 2004 at 11:04 AM (CST)


I agree with bananakiller - go to MacIdol for great free music.


Posted by davajonah in merseyside on December 14, 2004 at 1:38 PM (CST)


Take what you want - it’s all mine and here:

You have my permission too!

Have a good look around the site - fabulous music - caters for all tastes. :cool:


Posted by davajonah in merseyside on December 14, 2004 at 1:45 PM (CST)


One site that people may want to consider is  This is the online store for Paste Magazine.  There are a few free MP3 files available on the site to download.  Also… if you pic up a copy of Paste Magazine (available at your local Borders Books & Music), you get a free CD with every issue, usually with music by the artist they have articles on within that issue.  I’ve gotta a few issues and I’ve never been disappiointed with the music thats been included.

Posted by TimO on December 14, 2004 at 2:36 PM (CST)


There’s also etree and FurthurNet, where people trade live recordings of bands with permission from the bands.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 15, 2004 at 11:17 AM (CST)


Has anyone seen my baby?  I lost my baby!

Posted by Kantalisha in N/A on December 16, 2004 at 8:45 AM (CST)


You can also sign up for an iTunes account using PayPal as your payment method, and get 5 free songs! :)

Posted by kainjow on December 18, 2004 at 1:16 PM (CST)


Gee thanks kainjow.

Can you get me a job at Apple? You apparently work there.

Posted by user4 in San Diego on December 18, 2004 at 9:25 PM (CST)


Sorry. Hit the wrong key. Anyway… Try usiing a program like Radiolover. It records internet radio streams and automaticly breaks them into songs and playlists. Its free to try, $15 to buy. It is legal under copyright law as long as it is for personal use (it is called “time shifting”). If you have broadband, you can get gigs of legal free music in a night.

Posted by mack19 on December 20, 2004 at 2:39 PM (CST)


Radiolover sounds great.  Is there something like it for Windows?

Posted by Sorcery5 on December 20, 2004 at 10:29 PM (CST)


Radiolover sounds great. Is there something like it for Windows?

There are lots. Media Center can tune and record internet radio stations and TV and radio broadcasts. Or there are some custom apps that do a lot more.

Blaze Radio Recording is a nice implementation that’s been around for a few years. I do think that with the new Shark thingy they will have to lower their price!

There’s Replay Radio. with iTunes integration. Radio Wizard is an even more slavish Tivo copy.

If you are into digital radio there’s Time Trax for XM, which is so cool and “Tivo like” that it is being sued by both the RIAA and XM.

Posted by Demosthenes on December 21, 2004 at 8:58 AM (CST)


Has anyone seen my baby? I lost my baby!

Maybe the dingo ate your baby! ;D

If you like punk/ska music, the epitaph label (which covers most poplar punk bands; NOFX, Rancid, Catch 22, the Punk-o-Rama series) offers I think it was at least 2 MP3’s by each of their artists and I’ve found that they’re usually the hits. So does FAT wrechords, same type of music. As a matter of fact, if you do a search for the official site of any artist or label, you should be able to find more than a few free and legal MP3s

Posted by andres in Miami on December 26, 2004 at 3:57 PM (CST)


i miss :(

Posted by andres in Miami on December 26, 2004 at 3:59 PM (CST)


More free and legal stuff from the Free
Music Group
. Especially the piano sites there.

Posted by Chazzbro on January 7, 2005 at 12:26 AM (CST)


take fun? what the hell is take fun?

Posted by bugless in Australia on January 11, 2005 at 5:27 AM (CST)


free music is sweet

Posted by ipizzod on January 17, 2005 at 1:31 PM (CST)


just joined your forum so this might already have been suggested - members, especially those interested in techno/elecronic/experimental genres, should have a look at the that vast range of free downloads available via weblabels - some really brilliant material and all beyond the avaricious corporate clutches of the RIAA - independent artists reaffirming that “music is free” - donate when impressed -

Posted by Kwak in Sydney, Australia on January 22, 2005 at 11:59 PM (CST)


After you download this free music, how do you get it on your ipod?

Posted by Cameo on January 29, 2005 at 12:09 PM (CST)


our website offers free promotion to bands and we are slowly building up a collection of mp3s from artists we have promoted
all the mp3s on our website are either linked from other websites, or uploaded to our server with artists permission

Posted by Ductions in leicester on March 8, 2005 at 10:28 AM (CST)


for more free and legal alternative rock try

Posted by TheChief on April 18, 2005 at 10:24 AM (CDT)


I think one of the most overlooked forums of music are the legacy mod and s3m files!  You can search google for s3m or mod files, but a great repository is “”.  Unfortunately, you have to convert these formats into something that iTunes/iPod can play.  Using ModPlug (, you can convert these files into a *huge* midi file.  One can then use iTunes to convert the midi into a useable, and much smaller, mp3 file.  Some of my older favorite artists are Purple Motion ( and Skaven.

Another great site is OverClocked ReMix (  This site features tons of remixed songs from computer games—it has some pretty sweet songs and all for free.

Posted by ColdFusion on May 3, 2005 at 12:48 PM (CDT)


Is it possible to find a reputable site that has record-label artists? I’m having trouble downloading songs. Or another program?

Posted by blwalt17 on June 4, 2005 at 12:37 AM (CDT)


May I humbly submit for your listening pleasure and review - Bullette’s Debut Album - “The Secrets”. 14 heart wrenching songs of love, little birds, and lemonade from the vast vocabulary of BULLETTE.

FREE for a limited time to download from
HTML download -
Directory download -

“The Secrets” was released online on 5/5/05 and has had critical and download success with over 1,445 downloads of the entire album zip since release with no radio or label support.

Dana from Mystical Beast called it - “the most original and intriguing album of 2005” - see complete review here -
Simon from Spoilt Victorian Child stated - “Possibly my favourite album of 2005 so far…” - see complete review here -

Mysteries of Portland wrote - “Has Bullette put out the best album of the year? Maybe not, but it is in the upper reaches of the top 10 list. Already, she has generated some buzz. If she really takes off (or at least becomes the darling of people who over identify with a particular character on The OC), it could be a sign of things to come for the music industry. For the first time, an artist would have broke (relatively) big without the aid of a label of any size, not radio support, and their album being given away for free on the internet. The music industry is not even close to coping with the realities of the internet. Major artists and labels still drag their feet over online download stores, and those models are nearly a carbon copy of the old way of doing business.” -

Compared to Stereolab, Nancy Sinatra, Syd Barrett, and Aimee Mann, Bullette expresses a width, depth, and height not foretold in previous projects.

Based in Delaware, the state of being second, Bullette relies on wits, harmony, charm, and knowledge of double entendre to make it through the day.

Thanks for listening.
-Monika Bullette

Posted by bullette on June 16, 2005 at 5:59 PM (CDT)


Let me know what you think.

Posted by drofgonzo on June 24, 2005 at 12:08 PM (CDT)


I have always been able to find great free downloads from major artists @ ARTISTdirect.  Some of the files do have DRM wrapping, but even then I’ve managed to get those onto my iPod from time to time. 

When you click on one of the songs in the ARTISTdirect player and it begins to stream, there will be a link in the bottom right hand corner of the media player that says ‘Click here if media fails to load.’  Typically this will take you straight to the media file that you can then download—all 100% legally.,,,00.html is the main page where you can find all the full-length, high quality versions of their songs

Posted by goodtrips on July 7, 2005 at 5:25 PM (CDT)


What about LimeWire?  Can anyone tell me how it is?

Posted by kikidanger on July 18, 2005 at 8:11 PM (CDT)



Limewire for allows hackers to get onto the yopur computer. Never go to becasue theya re worse then every limewire and other things combinded

Posted by steve8958 on August 18, 2005 at 4:56 PM (CDT)


No Depression magazine now has a downloads section to their website to correspond with each monh’s issue:

It’s an “americana” music mag; alternative country, bluegrass, folk, blues, etc.  For example, right now, there are songs by Richard Thompson and Freakwater up as full length mp3’s.  There is also Nickel Creek in Real Player, but that does the iPod no good.

Posted by superape on September 14, 2005 at 3:36 PM (CDT)


hi! peoples i am new here so go easy on me k? well i want to know where can i downlaod a music called “simple and clean”? as u all know its from kindom hearts game for gameboy advance PLEASE HELP ME.

thank u guys

Posted by ipodsizzle on December 27, 2005 at 7:18 PM (CST)


There is another pretty chip music download service for your iPod - . The price is 99c a month, and its unlimited music downloads also. Plus they allow you to burn the downloaded music on CDs so you can play it in your car. They advice you to use their software to transfer the files to iPod. Personally, I still prefer to use iTunes for that.

Posted by iPod Music Downloads on January 16, 2006 at 11:51 AM (CST)


a really good site for free and legal mp3 albums is reloda. it has totally free and legal full mp3 ALBUMS to download and seems to have between 1 and 10 new albums added everyday. (

Posted by malkmus on June 8, 2006 at 11:48 AM (CDT)


Wat It Do,
Check out  Over 50 Blazin Hot downloadable tracks, mp3 ready. HipHop at its finest. You have to see it to believe it. That’s

Posted by ggifamilia on July 28, 2006 at 4:13 PM (CDT)


The most fun way to harvest music off of the net:

I am unsure of its legality though.

Posted by blisskitchen on December 14, 2006 at 2:16 PM (CST)


If you want to find all of the free music and video downloads on the iTunes Store, check out—it has all the freebies, not just the currently featured ones. There’s also updates by RSS & email.

Posted by tadtzmaru on February 16, 2007 at 1:33 AM (CST)

43 is dedicated to supporting new musical talent from around the world by providing a free global showcase for them.  Founded in 2004, we promote and broadcast music from bands, artists, songwriters and DJ’s 24 hours a day.  We also enable them to publicise reviews, gig dates, downloads, interviews and other recordings.  Each artist is given a unique Extraplay presence which enables fans, other musicians and industry professionals to contact them.

Posted by TonyHead on May 24, 2007 at 9:12 AM (CDT)


Triple Time XL - “The College Music Portal” is a pretty cool audio/video blog that highlights new music from Independent Artists across the globe. It’s updated daily.

If your looking for free music for your Ipod, there’s a few MP3 Links posted on the site, and you can also request music in the Live Commentary Box.

Posted by Tyrell Smith on November 22, 2007 at 3:06 PM (CST)


For DJ mixes and music:-

DJ agency


Web Design

Posted by djagency on December 16, 2007 at 4:55 AM (CST)


Great list of resources. I only have 30g available on my Ipod. Don’t know what I’ll do when it is full :)

I have some other free ipod music resources listed here, including some reviews of specific artists.

Posted by embitca on April 30, 2008 at 2:10 AM (CDT)


How much does it cost to download per month?

Posted by Charlene Ballard on May 16, 2008 at 8:22 PM (CDT)

If you have a comment, news tip, advertising inquiry, or coverage request, a question about iPods/iPhones/iPad or accessories, or if you sell or market iPod/iPhone/iPad products or services, read iLounge's Comments + Questions policies before posting, and fully identify yourself if you do. We will delete comments containing advertising, astroturfing, trolling, personal attacks, offensive language, or other objectionable content, then ban and/or publicly identify violators.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.
Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


Recent News

Recent Reviews

Recent Articles

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter


iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2014 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy