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There’s a lot of talk about illegal music downloads these days, but you don’t have to get on the wrong side of the law to enjoy free MP3s. You can amass an amazing collection of world music and edgy independent sounds free of charge, and free of guilt.

Why bother hunting down legal free music, rather than join one of the illegal music shares? Quite simply, you will be robbing the musicians of their rightful income, if you choose to download music illegally.

Many independent and mainstream musicians see the wisdom in offering free downloads of CD tracks, because this often results in CD sales. But file sharing of whole CDs illegally copied means that copyright dues are not paid to the musicians whose hard work and inspiration created the music we love so much.

If that isn’t enough, having illegal files that violate copyright on your computer is a felony, and could get you into hot water, leading to the loss of your computer and heavy fines. Why risk it, when legal free music downloads are available all over the Internet!

Just type “free music downloads” into the Google search engine and you will be bombarded with hundreds of free music sites.

But if you would rather not fight your way through a sea of pop up ads, here are some good places to start building up your collection of legal free music downloads.

Start with Amazon – this huge site doesn’t just sell books. Go to Music Downloads in the drop down search box and then click on Free Downloads on the banner tabs. This will take you straight to the free music site where you can download tracks from newly released CDs. Amazon offers samples from a huge range of music genres. Whether you love rock, soul, hip hop, folk or want to check out the latest from Indie musicians, you’ll find great free tracks at Amazon.

At click on Free Music in the banner to be taken to the Listening Room, where free music streams 24/7. As of writing this, the Listening Room is offering an eclectic mix of Kelly Osbourne, White Stripes and Paul Anka, among others.

C/Net’s offers free music downloads across a wide range of genres including rock, classical and folk. You will find some rare treasures here if you take the time to hunt around.

The Internet has opened up the world, and for legal MP3 collectors, it has opened up the world of music as well. Try hunting through the world music lists at where you will find free music heaven.

But there is more to free MP3 downloads than just music – do you hanker to hear the old radio shows that were the entertainment staple of pre-TV times? Visit the BBC7 website or Old Time radio ( for a time trip into the past, with sci fi serials, comedy shows and news events.

With many downloads, just clicking on the link will bring up your download manager, if you are using Windows. With other links, you may have to right click and choose Save Target As or Save Link As to download the file. Create a special folder for your files, so you will always know where they are. Nothing is worse than saving a file and then not remembering where you saved it! If you do lose a file, you can use the Windows search function to track it down. Just press the ctrl button and the letter E on the keyboard together to bring up Windows Explorer and click the Search tab. Type in the name of your file and let the computer do the rest.

If you use WinAmp or Real Player, both free downloads from the Internet, you can create playlists on your hard drive, so you can play back a desired selection of your files.

With a CD burner, you can create your own CDs and save hard drive space – for more free (and legal) downloads!

Written by Gail Kavanagh exclusively for