Funnily enough, just last week I was looking for some free music just for the hell of it – and I soon discovered that locating gratis tunes that are also legal tunes, is really not that easy.
Using the the popular search engines will provide you with plenty of links – but very little music, and a lot of undesirable stuff too. Enter CNET’s new service: music.download.com.
The site is incredibly easy to use – registration is not required, so you can simply browse to the music you think you might fancy and download it straight away. Within seconds I had downloaded and installed to my iPod some dreadful bit of ambient noodling that was obviously recorded by a bunch of deaf chimps after they’d be smashed in the face with hammers. The quality of many of the offerings is extremely good.
The site has an option for music creators to upload and comment on their tunes and thus should create a community around free content – a feedback function to artists is currently missing, but CNET hope to add more functionality, and get the recommendation engine going, soon. It is expected the archive to grow quickly, but is already quite expansive considering they’ve only been acquiring tracks for a couple of months.
Scott Arpajian, senior vice president of CNET Download.com said “While commercial music services have proliferated, we are the first large-scale provider to offer free music downloads in a discovery-focused environment, saving music fans valuable time in finding tunes that match their tastes. Our goal is to provide music fans free digital fuel for their devices, and exposure to original artists and songs that can become their new favourites.”
The new CNET site is another thorn in the side of the major labels – for the time being anyway, until they come up with a way of either competing with it or crippling it.
CNET bought the MP3.com domain name last year, but sadly the archive of tracks hosted by the site was destroyed as Vivendi Universal claimed it did not fit with any of their business initiatives.
On a related note, the charity Warchild have a music site, linked below, that allows subscribers to download music whilst donating to the organisation.