How to Download Music for Free

How to Download Music for Free

A beginner’s guide to the world of illegal downloading; learn where and how to download your favorite songs and albums for free.

Digital music has forever transformed the way we consume and share music. In the “olden” days if you wanted a copy of a friend’s album you had to meet him in person and record a physical copy of your own. Now, since the advent of Napster more than a decade ago, you never have to leave the comfort of your home.

Peer-to-peer (P2P) has evolved dramatically since the early days of Napster, and it’s never been easier to find and download music for free. These days there are even apps for downloading free music on your Android phone.

LimeWire has been among the most popular over the years, but that changed last year when U.S. District Judge Kimba Wood issued an injunction ordering LimeWire to disable the “the searching, downloading, uploading, file trading and/or file distribution functionality, and/or all functionality” of the famed file-sharing program.

Much to the chagrin of the music industry it didn’t change things much; illegal music downloading continues on unabated.

Now I don’t personally illegally download copyrighted music. It’d be am extreme risk considering my line of work and the very public nature of what I do. Yet, I obviously know how, and I get asked all the time by friends, family, and acquaintances to tell them what I know. So with this in mind I decided to put pen to paper and do just that: tell you what I know.

First off you there are a number of technologies you can use to illegally download music, but we’ll cover just three: Direct Connect (P2P), Usenet, and BitTorrent. The former – Direct Connect – is the most popular of all (think LimeWire), but it’s also the most dangerous. It’s the most common type of illegal downloading prosecuted because it’s so easy to obtain evidence of a crime; copyright enforcement groups can “directly connect” to your computer. Usenet, and BitTorrent, on the other hand, have yet to see a successful prosecution for copyright infringement here in the US.


Direct Connect:

Still the most popular music downloading method of all which is way it’s also the leading way people get caught. Use at your own peril is my recommendation. I’ve listed some tips for how not get busted for file-sahring that’s worth the read.



Usenet is admittedly the most tricky of the bunch to use, but it’s also one of the oldest, and arguably safest, computer network communications still in use. Users download content from Newsgroups, the better ones of which require a nominal monthly subscription fee ($3-$30).

The benefit is that it offers relatively fast download speeds while simultaneously offering a great degree of safety and security. You’ll be able to sleep soundly at night knowing you won’t get nabbed by the RIAA.

I’ve written an easy-to-follow guide that walks you through the few easy steps required.



BitTorrent is the second most popular method of illegally downloading music, and also among the fastest. The distributed nature of a BitTorrent “swarm” allows users to maximize their bandwidth for uber fast download speeds. It’s also relatively safer than Direct Connect since users are sharing only packets, or pieces, of copyrighted music (i..e 1/10th of a song). As I mentioned before, there has yet to be a successful prosecution in the US of a person alleged to have used BitTorrent to illegally download music.

Combined with a VPN connection and it’s practically impossible to get busted.

For the computer illiterate. I’ve written a guide that takes most of the guesswork out of setting up the program, and should be pretty straightforward.

When you get it set up you’ll need sites to go to download music for free. I recommend the following (in no particular order): Demonoid, BTJunkie, The Pirate Bay, ISOHunt, EZTV, and 1337x. I can’t directly link to them here, but I did include Google search queries to make your life easier.


So there you have it. Don’t forget to support the artists you like by buying a legal copy from iTunes, visiting a live show, or buying some a T-shirt or two. Music isn’t made for free.

Stay tuned.

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