Saturday, October 25, 2008

Thing 48: Free Music Downloads

This learning exercise featured C|Net's It is very easy to use for free music downloads. Don't expect to find that "one song" that you've been looking for but you can probably find other songs by the same artist or songs that sound similar on the site for download. It's nice that you don't have to create an account for this service. At the time of this blog post there are 111,052 songs for free download. There are many ways to sort the songs--song name, artist name, average rating, total listens, total listens last week, date added and date updated.

At the bottom of the page is a search box. I limited the search to "Artists" and looked for Tiesto. When you click on the "see all free tracks" link you will see if there are songs available for download or not. If there are it will say "Download Free MP3" in the Playlist. I downloaded a song from Tiesto's Elements of Life CD called "Global Harmony". This is certainly not one of the headliner songs on the CD but it was available for free download! Downloading was simple and it gave you options for what file you wanted to save it in on your PC. If you want to upload to your MP3 player just follow it's directions.

I'll certainly keep in mind for patrons who would like music downloads for their MP3s. But since patrons are using public PCs, downloads are a hit or miss thing. If their portable device requires a software download to interface with the website, they may be out of luck.

One of the commentors to this learning exercise mentioned Red Ferrett. Red Ferret is a directory listing of other free music download sites. It boast's "One Million Free and Legal Music Tracks." The more time you have the more this listing may be useful. As with many free sites, some are better organized than others.

Don't forget the music downloads that are available on the library's downloadable content service called Overdrive. You'll need to download the Overdrive Media Console to your PC at home first but then you can transfer those songs to your MP3 player. Overdrive music downloads are not available inside the library unless you have a wireless device to access the Internet. Otherwise you'll want to download from home.

If you want some creative commons MP3s check out Jamendo and Freesound. They allow you to download anything on their sites. Many budding musicians will post here to get exposure. These are great for programming, slideshows, and background music before presentations.

Many artists will offer podcasts of their music for download. If you go to their website or Myspace page they will mention if that is something they do. The artist that I did a search on for this exersise, Tiesto, has a weekly podcast that I download and listen to. I keep track of it in my Bloglines feed reader.

I have so many hours of music downloaded to my Ipod from my CD collection that I'll be in retirement before I go through the entire rotation. With many smart phones/PDAs having Internet capability, now you can go to sites like Last FM, Pandora, and Seeqpod and have the songs streaming into your headphones without having to download them. I've found that I can get many more major label artists this way since I'm not actually downloading the content. This is more like a radio service but without commercial interruptions.

Seeqpod even lets you arrange a playlist which is great for programming in a pinch. Say you need a song for a storytime activity and all the copies are checked out from your library collection. Go to Seeqpod and search for the songs you need and 95% of the time they are there. Create an account so you can save your list and save it on the website. Then if you have a smartphone/PDA/laptop with Internet capability you can go to the site and play the song list that you created. It's certainly a backup. I wouldn't use it all the time because depending on the latency of your internet connection it may come to a grinding halt in your program. But its a great backup.

These sorts of sites will certainly keep expanding. I'm sure that we'll have an update to this exercise in the future.


Anonymous said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

Hi Helan,
I'm glad that you are enjoying the Questing Librarian Blog. It is majorly my explorations of new technologies for libraries and for individuals. But occasionally I'll include other projects that I am working on. If you would like to follow along with the original exercises, they are on the Learning 2.1 Blog:


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