Streaming is big business, but what happens if you want to listen to tracks offline? First, it’s worth knowing a little about what’s involved, the differences between streams and downloads – and why it matters.
There are a number of sites offering music fans both uploads and downloads at no cost. While they won’t make you rich, they’ll give you access to much wider audiences. So where can you upload your song for free download?
In this article, we’ll list the most used and popular places to find free music downloads. Read on to find out the best sites for giving your music away free online, as well as the pros and cons of free downloads.
Where can I upload my song for free download?
Free music distribution and free music promotion sites
Free streaming has become a very popular way to listen to and discover new music. There’s no prep or effort required, you simply click on a song or playlist and it plays. The downside is that on many sites – unless you pay a subscription fee – songs are connected by ads, which doesn’t make for the most seamless listening experience. The other downside is that you have to have a stable internet connection. With strong 4G networks and WiFi widely available this tends to be less of an issue these days.
Where can I download songs for free?
But what happens if you want to listen on a plane or find the WiFi is down on your train? Or what if you’re in some far-flung, remote location without a signal? In these cases, you can’t stream, but downloads are still playable -provided you downloaded them when you were connected to the net.
Many of the streaming sites make downloads part of the paid memberships (more on those later). But there are also sites catering to those wanting free downloads – or you can create your own.
Websites to upload music for free
So here are the top places to upload your music without paying a penny, that will then be available for free download.
This often comes in at number one for free upload and download sites and as a result, potential fans may find you here, when searching for inspirational new sounds. Musicians love SoundCloud and its community offers over 150 million tracks, ad-free. It also provides the means to connect with your fans. It’s for all audio creators, so if you decide to start a podcast, you can add it to your profile too. If you later decide you don’t want a track to be downloadable, you can simply disable the setting through your permissions tab. The downside is that you can’t download tracks to a mobile device unless you have a subscription.
Jamendo is a subsidiary of the Belgian Audio Valley, creating a platform for independent artists. It also offers royalty-free music for commercial use, a good route into the potential publicity of music synchronisation. Don’t forget to add any credits to your website and bios – shout about your achievements.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with this platform, which hosts millions of music videos. Content can be downloaded for free, but you’ll need to use a tool, such as these, to do so. It goes without saying that this platform won’t work for you unless you have some kind of visual to upload. It can be a simple as a still image, or the song’s lyrics, but audio-only isn’t an option.
Android users will be familiar with this platform offering music to users. As with other platforms, there are subscription options. But you can create an artist page for free, then add your tracks to it. Be sure to add tracks before creating your page, or you’ll be charged a small fee. Find out more about how to do it here.
Artist accounts are free on Bandcamp and when it comes to downloads, you can offer fans some innovative options. Either tag your music as free, set a price, or provide a ‘donation’ option, allowing them to choose how much they pay.
Soundclick is especially popular for musicians selling beats. But you don’t have to set a price – or like Bandcamp, you can let users pay what they want. There’s also a tip function, meaning you can still receive some cash, even if giving your sounds away.
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is a curated platform. This means you’ll have to request to join, by submitting a track. If you’re accepted as an artist-member, you’ll be able to upload and have your music downloaded for free. Fans don’t need to become members though – anyone can access the site for downloads.
Dedicated to original new music, AudioMack is another great site allowing artists to upload unlimited tracks, making them available for fans to download free.
Give your songs away for free on NoiseTrade (the site also has audiobooks). Fans will need to register with a postcode and email address to get access to your tracks, so you’ll have an idea of who’s listening to you – and you’ll have the option to subscribe them to your mailing list via an opt-in button. If you are holding fans private info, don’t forget that you’ll need to comply with the GDPR data rules.
Your own website
And don’t forget, you can host your own downloads, but adding in widgets and buttons to your website. Fans won’t stumble across your sounds on there as they would on a well-known platform, but it’s a good way to draw traffic to your site, by offering visitors free music. Ask for an email address in return for a track, with an opt-in button to sign up to your newsletter and updates. This is how many businesses compile their mailing lists.
How do you get paid for your music?
Anything that’s free for you to use and free for others to access isn’t going to make you money. But it may raise your profile and win you fans, which in the long term will help you build a professional career. When you’re starting out it’s, therefore, often better to give some music away for nothing. Then once you’ve built a bit of a following and are doing regular gigs, you can switch to paid tracks. Bear in mind that there are also lots of streaming sites that are free to use, but will pay you if you get enough plays. So this is another cost-effective option.
Music upload sites like SoundCloud
There are some big names you might feel are missing from this list, and that’s because they don’t offer fully free downloads, just free streams. iTunes offers some time-limited free tracks as Single of the Week. But you have to be chosen for this, so as an artist you can’t instigate the offer of free downloads. Spotify and Tidal allow users to listen, share and stream for free, but downloads are only for those who pay to subscribe.
Is downloading illegal?
Not if you use the sites we’ve mentioned. There are lots of illegal ones too, so keep away from those, so your music doesn’t get a bad reputation and you don’t get in trouble. Illegal downloads are incredibly damaging to everyone in the music industry.
Which download site will you choose? Do remember, if you offer your music for free, it’s out there, so be sure that’s what you want to do. And however you post, upload or release your tunes, make sure you publicise it. Nobody will find your music if they don’t know it exists. So signpost it with lots of social media publicity and by telling audiences what you’re doing.
- How do I upload my songs to SoundCloud?
Look for the upload button at the top of your screen and click on it. You can then either live record something there and then, or choose a file to upload (including dragging and dropping your track into the centre of the screen). While it’s uploading you can add track info in the text box.
- What are free music uploading sites without registration?
Some music sites need you to subscribe and pay, others need you to register with your details, but a few don’t need anything at all.
- What is the best site to download free music?
It really depends on your preferences, but SoundCloud has great functionality, lots of genre choices and is free for both artists and listeners. We recommend you try out a number of those mentioned in this article though, as everyone has their own likes and dislikes.
Where have you uploaded your songs for free downloads? Post your links in the comments below.