The Music Industry (from now on only called MI) is putting a lot of pressure on consumers. They release copy protected media but fail to realize that this is only hurting those who buy music, as everyone else is getting the music without the copy protection included.
Even if you don't download music from the internet you most likely know sources where to get that music for free, without DRM and in high quality. The commercial pirates as well don't care about copy protection as it can be bypassed easily.
The only ones who are really affected are those who buy genuine CDs and DVDs. Releasing copy proctected media is not enough of course, the MI influences governments as well to outlaw people who copy CDs with copy protection or want to download music from the Internet. If they get their will, you may need to buy the very same song multiple times if you want to listen to the music in different devices.
Some companies try to get even more control over the consumers computer by adding additional controlling software to it. Sony for instance decided it would be a good idea to install a rootkit on PCs (Windows only) of legitimate buyers to prevent them from copying the music CDs.
Again only legitimate buyers experienced this while everyone else did not. I think it is time to boycott the Music Industry and find other ways to enjoy music from bands and companies that are not part of it. My article tries to list alternatives so that you can enjoy music the way it is supposed to be.
Don't get me wrong. Artists deserve money for their work, I do not advocate to do something illegal to get the music you like. But the Music Industry will only learn if you show them that enough is enough.
Here we go..
1. Buy used CDs and trade CDs
You find thousands of used music CDs at online shops like eBay or Amazon Marketplace. The media has been purchased before and the Music Industry won't see a single dime of that transaction. The seller on the other hand does, as do the platforms where the music is sold on.
I have no experience in trading CDs but a Google search reveals lots of interesting results on the topic. Maybe you already have experience with such a service and would like to comment on it. Let us know if this is a working alternative.
2. Borrow CDs.
This might work in some countries while others do not allow this at all. Borrow CDs from friends and listen to those CDs, it's legal in some countries to copy the content for a friend as well. Check your local laws to find out more about the possibilities in this regard.
3. Support local bands / bands without major contracts
Many local bands manage their concerts, music CDs and website by themselves. They produce their own CDs, they create T-Shirts and play in local clubs and bars. The majority of the earnings will reach the band and the people working with the band. This is a great way to support a band directly.
A search on Bing or Google for local bands followed by regional information usually reveals directories or information websites with more information.
4. Listen to (internet) radio and record it
Listening to internet radio is free. Websites like shoutcast, di.fm and xiph.org offer links to streams of thousands of free radio stations. You will find radio stations for mainstream music as well as stations that play stuff like gospel and swing.
It is legal in some countries to record those radio streams using so called streamrippers that download the stream while you listen to it. (There are actually some tools out there that are able to record more than one stream).
Pandora offers a unique service but is still considered an internet radio station. You enter a song or artist name and it tries to find matching artists that play in the same style. You need to register to hear more than a few songs though. Read this article if you want to find out how to save pandora streams. Note that Pandora is only available in the US.
5. Audio Blogs / Podcasts
Audio Blogs provide their visitors with audio content. This is often offered in the form of downloadable mp3 files or music streams. Many encourage their visitors to download the mp3 files, some offer options to buy a CD if you like the music.
Visit monkeyfilter.com for a large list of audio blogs.
75 Minutes is a great podcast site that links to free music. Podsafe Music Network offers many songs as well.
6. Download free music
Thousands of websites exist that offer free mp3 downloads. It can be that a musician and bands offer (part of) their music on a website for free or that a company who sells music is offering free sample songs.
The following list contains only sites that offers many songs for free, some demand a registration before you can download songs but that should be acceptable in most cases.
Update: We have updated the article, removed a couple of links that were no longer available, and added new ones.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.