How To Increase Your Music Collection Free (And Legally)

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 16, 2008
Updated • Feb 24, 2014
Music, Music and Video

Music is one of the hot topics on the Internet. The battle between filesharers, privacy advocates and representatives of the Music Industry is still waging. What most users do not realize that there are lots of ways to increase the music collection free and legally.

Before you go ahead and make use of the methods described in this article I would like to remind you that those methods are legal in some countries but not all. You still have to check if it's ok in your country before you download 1000+ songs a day using the methods listed below.

The chance that you get caught ranges from slim (Music Search Engines) to virtually impossible (Internet Radio) though and is way below the chance of getting caught trading music in P2P networks.

The methods are listed alphabetically and I only described a few services and programs to download music. If you do some research you will find many more applications and services.

Free Music:

Free music has a bad reputation on the Internet. That is undeserved and can be mostly attributed to spam and malicious software. If you look around a bit you find massive amounts of free music that can be downloaded to the local hard drive.

Jamendo is surely one of the top locations for free music on the Internet. Jamendo is currently offering more than 11000 albums on their website. Direct download and Bittorrent downloads are available and the whole site concept deserves a larger userbase than they currently have. It pretty much works after an "if you like the artist visit his website and buy some merch or CDs" system.

Jamendo is not the only way to get your free share of music. I have collected a large list of possibilities called the music list some time ago. Most if the websites and services are still in existence these days.

Internet Radio:

That's probably one of the easiest ways to download music from the Internet. Thousands of Internet Radio stations cater to the music listening taste of almost everyone. From metal over gospel to christian, there is a good chance that you find a station that is playing exactly the music that you like.

One of the best tools for recording Internet Radio is Streamripper in combination with its frontend Stripper in my opinion.

That's a combo for super-easy recordings of multiple Internet Radio streams at once. The advantage of this method is that it runs automatic after pressing the start recording button. Just sit down and relax while the software programs download song after song to your hard drive.

Another advantage is that you pick the stations which means that you can include factors like bitrate in the selection process. Each station plays usually between 15-20 songs per hours. That's between 360 to 480 per Internet Radio station and day. Imagine recording multiple stations simultaneously. The only real limit is your Internet connection.

Streamripper tries to save songs correctly if the Internet Radio Station sends those information. You end up with music that uses the song and artist as the name and some proper tags.

A great directory to start looking for interesting Internet Radio Stations is the Shoutcast directory.

Music Communities:

Music communities, like and partially also MySpace, offer a vast amount of music that can be listened to online. They also lack direct download features but the usual tools work pretty well to download music from those websites.

The Last Ripper is for example an excellent tool to Save music. Grab++ and Download Helper should also work wonders on most sites.

It is usually not a problem to download the songs. If nothing helps a direct audio recording tool like Audacity does the trick. That tool can record all sounds that the user can hear, a last resort so to speak.

Music Search Engines:

Music Search Engines like SeeqPod or MP3zy crawl the Internet for audio related content which gets added to their vast database. The results are presented like any other search on regular search engines like Google with the difference that they can be played directly in the browser window.

They usually do not offer ways to download the music that can be played directly. It is however usually not a problem to download the streams that are offered directly to the computer. A good combination is using the software Grab++ which is part of Orbit Downloader, a free download manager that supports downloading from many media sites directly.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Justin said on November 30, 2011 at 10:18 am

    The warning message about AAC streams when you load streams is because you don’t have the free Orban AAC/aacPlus Player Plugin installed.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 30, 2011 at 10:56 am

      Justin, thanks for the information.

  2. santosh said on December 1, 2011 at 12:43 am

    does this support AAC ? or only mp3 streaming

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 1, 2011 at 1:43 am

      I’d say it supports all pls streams but I have not tried that so cannot verify it 100%.

  3. Barnabas said on August 3, 2012 at 5:15 pm

    Thank you Martin for a most informative and viable solution (it allowed me to play streams from a Netherland internet radio station in my WMP)! Continued success to you!

    Barnabas (USA)

  4. AppleRome said on October 7, 2012 at 7:31 am

    Your steps’ recommendation is still valid until 7th October 2012.. Thank you very much !!

  5. Laura said on December 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    Thank you!

  6. sak2005 said on December 9, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    You must convert file.pls to file.m3u
    because file.pls open with winamp and file.m3u open with wmp.

  7. Lithium said on February 10, 2017 at 11:10 am

    2017 still kicking on Windows 7
    Thx a ton

  8. Dennis said on April 18, 2017 at 4:05 am

    Hey, even i can do it, i stumbled through it and it works great! The only instruction advice i will add as i had to figure this out, when the wmp box opens that says save or open the bar on right says wmp click that drop down and select “open pls in wmp” once you do that it will work . Took me quite some time to discover that as i am no computer expert by any means. Having said that, previously i had downloaded codec packages and something about aac. None did any good. This rocks, i listen to a lot of internet radio and a number of them have dropped flash player and getting wmp to work had been a nightmare. So many thanks for this great solution to another problem that Micro-Hell will not even address. Peace- Out

  9. stephen marshall said on March 19, 2019 at 2:07 am

    openplsinwmp came in a zip file. I unpacked it, and didn’t find anything that looks like an executable, and even the files in the “doc” folder were in a format windows didn’t recognize. I’m not stupid. you said it would open effortlessly. It didn’t. This a rabbit hole I don’t want to go down.

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