How to Download MP3 Music Files Legally

Woman listening to Music

Trying to download MP3s legally is something that doesn't always seem easy.

No more CDs. You can barely give them away. MP3 players became inexpensive and Apple introduced iTunes and the iPod generation began.

The moment Napster became a household name, everyone jumped on the bandwagon and music was available to everyone. You just downloaded whatever music you wanted, loaded it on your MP3 player and life was good.

Then the RIAA John Doe lawsuits started and a new era began. Grandmothers were brought to court and sued for things they didn’t even know were happening. People in general, were being sued for doing something they didn’t even know was illegal.

They had bought the cassettes, they owned the CDs so how could downloading the music in MP3 format for their MP3 players possibly be illegal.

What is Legal and What is Piracy?

According to copyright law, you can make an archival backup of any media you purchase legally. This means, that if you buy a CD or a DVD, you can make a backup for your own personal benefit if something happens to the CD. What this does not mean is that if you purchased a CD at some point in the past, you can download the music from that CD using P2P file sharing technology.

Downloading music from file sharing services such as Frostwire or Bittorrent is illegal but uploading files to the same services is where the real damages come from. Actual damages from downloading a single song are limited to the cost of the song. The damages multiply when you leave the file in a position to be uploaded for any length of time. Then the potential damages are related to the number of times the song was downloaded as a direct result of your actions.

Think of it like this. Assume you downloaded a song that would have cost one dollar on the iTunes Music Store or Amazon MP3. Actual damages are now one dollar. Assume you start the download on Bittorrent and let it seed for some period of time afterwards and that as a result, 1000 people download the song from you. Actual damages at this point might be 1000 dollars. Punitive damages can be added on top just to make sure you learn your lesson.

The battle between copyright holders and individuals such as yourself is ongoing and changing over time as different tactics are used and rejected by the courts.

You can read more on this battle at the following location link:

RIAA Efforts Against File Sharing

How to Download Music for Free

Woman listening to Music

A lot of people I know go to great lengths to avoid paying for music. The irony is that the efforts that they take result in spending enormous amounts of time to get lower quality music and run the risk of a lawsuit that would result in damages they couldn’t possibly repay. On top of that, a lot of music stores allow for low-cost or even free music.

Both the Amazon MP3 store and the iTunes Music store regularly make available free music for download.

How to Download Amazon MP3s for Free

In my opinion, Amazon provides a better selection of free music that is always available for download.

You can download free songs from the Amazon MP3 store at the following location:

Free MP3 songs for download from amazon

Amazon also has entire albums of free music available for download at the following location:

Free MP3 albums for download from amazon

How to Download iTunes Music for Free

The iTunes music store makes select songs available each tuesday on a weekly basis. These songs are made available as the Single of the Week, the Discovery Download, the Cancion de la Semana and other free song promotions. They typically only offer one or two songs a week.

You can download the free song of the week at the following location:

Free iTunes Song of the Week

One of the sites I like to use to download free music from iTunes is My Free Tunes Downloads. This site allows me to signup for a mailing list and get the weekly free itunes downloads sent directly to my email.

My Free Music Downloads

Gift Cards for Music Accounts If You Don’t Have a Credit Card

One of the reasons that some people, especially teenagers look for free music is they don’t have a credit card to create Amazon MP3 or iTunes Music store accounts. What they might not know is that you don’t need a credit card. You can purchase gift cards for both iTunes and Amazon at local grocery stores and department stores such as Walmart or Target.

Amazon Gift Card iTunes Gift Card