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. Martin said on August 20, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    Marc the quality depends on a few factors. First the bitrate of the stream, they usually range between 64Kbit and 256Kbit with the majority streaming 128Kbit.

    Streamripper is able to save track information like song title and artist automatically if the station sends those information. Most do which means that there is not much work involved in the process other than to listen to the songs again and making a decision whether to add them to your collection or not.

    As for Youtube. Quality is usually pretty bad
    but you have a better selection of the tunes that you want to rip.

  2. Marc-O said on August 20, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I’d like to ask, how good are the streams (internet radio,, youtube) you rip?? Do you need to cut/edit the stream itself or are the different tunes automatically separated? Are you able to tag the result easily?

    Might do you good for leeching, but I get the feeling that you’ll get a lot of junk, of debatable quality, and needing some extra work to assimilate them cleanly into a real library. And it might not be legal.

    I used to follow a lot of (too much) blogs for my music discovery needs, but now there are just too many. Aggregators like and worked really fine, but I’ve distanced myself from that practice, since I could easily get a hundred mp3s a day, and never listen to most of them. Was getting way too much for my ears.

    Also to add to the list, does digital mixtaping (streams), and has a flash web-front for mp3s found on the web. I use these services when I don’t have access to my own collection.

    As for getting more music for the sake of it, I don’t need that empty quest anymore. I already have too much of it, 95% legally acquired and paid for. And I still continue to purchase, both physical and mp3s (from emusic).

  3. bj said on August 17, 2008 at 6:09 pm
    Reply downloads internet radio streams to your own storage on a central database and lets you search through them. The database is pretty huge; mine is up to 271,211 songs and it’s been running since may 5th. has a large database of downloadable mp3s, I’ve been able to find some rare songs there. I believe it is hosted in russia.

    To also chime in, do not use these services if it is illegal in your jurisdiction. It’s legal in mine.

  4. Transcontinental said on August 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    With so much music, videos, data on the Web, is it still worth downloading, like the expression of possessing ? Is usufruct not a better approach ? I mean, what’s best, to possess and old care or to drive freely a Ferrari ? That, also, could be relevant of cloud computing, no ?

  5. We7Steve said on August 17, 2008 at 1:28 pm

    At We7 we have a safe and legal streaming and high quality download service with two major record labels as well as many independents have signed up to. This means that most of the music you want to listen to is available on our site. Streaming and many downloads are free and legal because we use targeting advertising to pay for the music.

    Steve Purdham
    CEO – We7

  6. garbanzo said on August 17, 2008 at 11:43 am

    record streaming audio? no thanks! i expect higher quality than that for my music. there are plenty of ways to download the songs you want while staying under the radar…

  7. darkkosmos said on August 17, 2008 at 10:41 am

    Hmm ok martin but care to explain how internet radios are legal? You must be interpreting the law the wrong way round to get that outcome.

  8. Martin said on August 17, 2008 at 10:08 am

    All those blogs that publish free music would fall into the free music category ;)

  9. GRTerrero said on August 17, 2008 at 1:53 am

    I like this site because it’s always one step ahead of me. ha ha ha.

    I just finally joined yesterday and the first thing it spit out after I gave it my list of favourites (dj’s mostly) was free songs to download by some of my favourite djs. I was shocked! I had never had songs just handed to me just like that, except on blogs which, by the way Martin, you forgot to mention.

    There are a gazillion music blogs and they usually provide links to songs. Sometimes they are blessed by the artist, for helping to get the word out. Most times, they just pass on links they receive in their emails from other sources. It’s a gray area. Most of these blogs have a disclaimer where they explicitly allow for the removal of any material if the creator demands it.

    I have only observed the creator demanding the removal of his material once. It was an unknown dj from an as yet undiscovered planet. But he descended on that blogmeister, laser beams beaming, and he was not pleased.

  10. Martin said on August 16, 2008 at 11:24 pm

    DarkKosmos that’s not a law. Only a few state attorneys made the decision, if you live in the wrong district you can still be sued. And, there is always the higher chance that you get sued in a civil process by the Music Industry. So, nothing has changed more or less ;)

  11. BCK said on August 16, 2008 at 10:34 pm

    If I want to download the audio of a youtube video I use mp3getter, its a german site but the process is pretty straight forward; enter text in the search box; select the video you want, click the mp3 downloaden link and it starts. Once its done a save dialog pops up and your good to go

  12. darkkosmos said on August 16, 2008 at 10:28 pm

    Martin if your talking about Germany look here:

    Apparently you can now download 2999 mp3s without getting sued

  13. Sensai said on August 16, 2008 at 9:04 pm

    If you’re into video game music, you should definitely check out OCRemix.

    That’s upwards of about 1500 songs, free.

  14. Transcontinental said on August 16, 2008 at 8:42 pm

    A neat little app for finding mp3s is one called ‘Clickster’ ( Finds everything called mp3. I was looking for “Vacation” by Connie Francis, title of the sixties, found it!

  15. Martin said on August 16, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Well recording Internet Radio is definitely legal in my country and I think that it is one of the best methods of acquiring new songs legally.

    Posting Music might be illegal but I’m not talking about posting, I’m talking about downloading.

  16. unruled said on August 16, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I agree with the point darkkosmos points out.

    However, DOES have full mp3 (no drm) for download on some artists. (for example: )

  17. darkkosmos said on August 16, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Wait martin, how is any of those techniques (except free music) legal? Posting music on youtube is illegal, companies just get sick of sueing youtube. Music search engines search for music which you don’t have a license to play and same with internet radio except it might be even worse since some radios are illegal themselves.

    This is just a guild for newbies on how to avoid bittorent + limewire..

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