If you’re starting out and don’t have a big budget, you may wonder – how can I release music for free? There are lots of websites to upload music for free. Many of these also allow fans to download them for nothing, taking your tunes to a global audience.
Are you keen to distribute your music and looking for places you can put it, so you can reach more people? In this article, we’ll list the most used and popular places to release your music without paying a penny. Read on to find out the best sites for giving your music away free online, as well as the pros and cons of each.
Websites to upload music for free
There are a number of sites offering music fans both uploads and downloads at no cost. While they won’t make you rich, they’ll give you access to much wider audiences. We recommend you use one (or several) of the sites we’ve mentioned. There are lots of illegal ones too. Keep away from those, so your music doesn’t get a bad reputation and you don’t get in trouble. Illegal downloads are incredibly damaging to everyone in the music industry.
It’s worth knowing a little about what’s involved before uploading your music, including the differences between streams and downloads – and why it matters.
Upload your song for free download
If someone wants to listen to your songs on a plane or when the WiFi is down, they won’t be able to stream. But downloads are still playable – provided they downloaded them when connected to the internet.
Many of the streaming sites make downloads part of the paid memberships – iTunes, Spotify and Tidal all allow you to release music for free, but fans will have to pay to download your tunes (or have a paid membership). This can be a disadvantage. However there are also sites catering to those wanting free downloads – or you can create your own.
How can I release music for free?
Free streaming has become a very popular way to listen to and discover new music. There’s no prep or effort required, you simply click on a song or playlist and it plays. The downside is that on many sites – unless you pay a subscription fee – songs are connected by ads, which doesn’t make for the most seamless listening experience. The other downside is that you have to have a stable internet connection. With strong 4G networks and WiFi widely available this tends to be less of an issue these days.
Where can I upload my songs for free?
The following websites allow users to both upload and download without a paid membership.
This often comes in at number one for free upload and download sites and as a result, potential fans may find you here, when searching for inspirational new sounds. Musicians love SoundCloud and its community offers over 150 million tracks, ad-free. It also provides the means to connect with your fans. It’s for all audio creators, so if you decide to start a podcast, you can add it to your profile too. If you later decide you don’t want a track to be downloadable, you can simply disable the setting through your permissions tab. The downside is that you can’t download tracks to a mobile device unless you have a subscription.
Jamendo is a subsidiary of the Belgian Audio Valley, creating a platform for independent artists. It also offers royalty-free music for commercial use, a good route into the potential publicity of music synchronisation. Don’t forget to add any credits to your website and bios – shout about your achievements.
You’ll no doubt be familiar with this platform, which hosts millions of music videos. Content can be downloaded for free, but you’ll need to use a tool, such as these, to do so. It goes without saying that this platform won’t work for you unless you have some kind of visual to upload. It can be a simple as a still image, or the song’s lyrics, but audio-only isn’t an option.
Android users will be familiar with this platform offering music to users. As with other platforms, there are subscription options. But you can create an artist page for free, then add your tracks to it. Be sure to add tracks before creating your page, or you’ll be charged a small fee. Find out more about how to do it here.
Soundclick is especially popular for musicians selling beats. But you don’t have to set a price – or like Bandcamp, you can let users pay what they want. There’s also a tip function, meaning you can still receive some cash, even if giving your sounds away.
Free Music Archive
Free Music Archive is a curated platform. This means you’ll have to request to join, by submitting a track. If you’re accepted as an artist-member, you’ll be able to upload and have your music downloaded for free. Fans don’t need to become members though – anyone can access the site for downloads.
Dedicated to original new music, AudioMack is another great site allowing artists to upload unlimited tracks, making them available for fans to download free.
Give your songs away for free on NoiseTrade (the site also has audiobooks). Fans will need to register with a postcode and email address to get access to your tracks, so you’ll have an idea of who’s listening to you – and you’ll have the option to subscribe them to your mailing list via an opt-in button. If you are holding fans private info, don’t forget that you’ll need to comply with the GDPR data rules.
Free music uploading sites without registration
Some music sites require you to subscribe and pay, others need you to register with your details, but a few don’t ask for anything at all. But take care. Registration is two-fold with websites. You’ll have to supply details and register to use the music website. This doesn’t protect your music beyond this site though. For that, you must register your original songs with PRS for music. If you don’t do this, they can’t claim royalties on your behalf.
And don’t forget, you can host your own downloads, by adding in widgets and buttons to your website. Fans won’t stumble across your sounds on there as they would on a well-known platform, but it’s a good way to draw traffic to your site, by offering visitors free music. Ask for an email address in return for a track, with an opt-in button to sign up to your newsletter and updates. This is how many businesses compile their mailing lists.
Free music promotion sites
Artist accounts are free on Bandcamp and when it comes to downloads, while they’re not automatically free, you can offer fans some innovative options. Either tag your music as free, set a price, or provide a ‘donation’ option, allowing them to choose how much they pay. You can use the links attached to your profile to highlights these offers and so promote your music. From time to time, the website waives its fees, which can be a great opportunity to plug a promotion on merch or downloads.
Do remember, if you offer your music for free, it’s out there, so be sure that’s what you want to do. And however you post, upload or release your tunes, make sure you publicise it. Nobody will find your music if they don’t know it exists. So signpost it with lots of social media publicity and by telling audiences what you’re doing.
Free music distribution
Anything that’s free for you to use and free for others to access isn’t going to make you money. But it may raise your profile and win you fans, which in the long term will help you build a professional career. When you’re starting out it’s, therefore, often better to give some music away for nothing.
Then once you’ve built a bit of a following and are doing regular gigs, you can switch to paid tracks. Bear in mind that there are also lots of streaming sites that are free to use, but will pay you if you get enough plays. So this is another cost-effective option.
The site you choose really depends on your preferences. But SoundCloud has great functionality, lots of genre choices and is free for both artists and listeners. We recommend you try out a number of those mentioned in this article though, as everyone has their own likes and dislikes.
- Where can I upload my mixtape for free?
Most of these sites will also enable you to upload a playlist. Spotify has made themed playlists huge business and many people spend all their time just putting together lists people will like. So if you have a mixtape, this may be the best platform for you to use.
- How do I upload music for free download?
Each site will have its own procedure, so check out the individual platform’s instructions. You’ll first need to set up a (free) account with the provider. The track will need to be saved in an audio file digital format, such as an MP3.
Have you used free music uploading sites without registration? Post links to your track downloads in the comments below.