How Can I Download & Burn Music for Free?

By Mara Shannon

It's not difficult to find free downloadable music online---legally. If you're willing to explore a bit and take what you can get, finding free music online can help you discover new and interesting music or learn that your favorite band allows free live recordings. You can burn all of your musical discoveries to audio CDs with a free CD-burning program, such as CDBurnerXP.

Finding Free Music

Where you look for free music to download will depend on your particular interests. Stores that sell downloadable music, such as Amazon and iTunes, regularly offer tracks by popular music artists as free samples. The Live Music Archive offers free live concert recordings for noncommercial use. The Internet Archive offers a collection of free music, including early public domain recordings. (Wikimedia Commons has a few as well, although they can be harder to find there unless you know exactly what you're looking for.)

Organizing Music

Download your free music tracks to specific folders so they're easier to find when you want them. For example, create folders in My Documents\My Music for different genres, bands or types of recording (e.g., live recording, free sample or public domain).

CD-Burner Programs

There are many free CD-burning programs that are easy to use. A popular one is iTunes, since it is necessary for iPod use and provides an easy way to organize your music. Another good free program is CDBurnerXP, which supports .wav, .mp3, .ogg, .wma, .flac, .aiff, .bwf and .mp2 formats and can burn audio CDs, MP3 CDs and data discs. It can also play tracks while you organize a play list to burn and save play lists for future use.

Potential Problems

Even if the music you find is free, it might be protected by DRM (Digital Rights Management). This copy protection limits how you can use the file and may prevent you from converting it to new formats or burning it to CDs with certain free programs, such as CDBurnerXP. You can avoid this problem by making sure you get your free music from sites that don't use copy protection or from public domain sources; but this will limit the amount and types of free music that you can find.