Found a cool source of free MP3s this weekend... Amazon.com. Surprising but true. While iTunes usually has three free songs a week, Amazon is quietly offering a bunch of sampler albums from small labels. There are all sorts of genres... rock, jazz, classical, world, country...
I downloaded every sampler that looked remotely interesting and ended up with a few hundred songs. So far I've tried a country album (Discover Texas Music: Volume 1) and found two keepers on it. Tried a wedding music sampler (The O'Neill Brothers Wedding Music: Amazon Sampler), but it was all single piano and I wasn't really feeling it. Next I tried the Paper Bag Records Fall '09 Sampler and found 5 keepers on it. Two I really liked were "Shivering Black" by the Josh Reichmann Oracle Band and "Oh, I Can" by Rock Plaza Central.
I've got a bunch more to go through and I'm looking forward to it. I might only end up keeping 40 or 50 of them and it might seem like a lot of work just to get that many songs for free. I don't see the work involved in downloading and listening to all these albums as a "hidden cost" for free music, but what I'm paying for expanding my musical horizons, because I'd probably never have heard of many of these artists otherwise.
And yeah, I kept two songs from the Texas Country album, proof of how this is broadening my horizons, because I never listen to Country radio and wouldn't have gone looking for these songs if I had to buy them. The best one was Deryl Dodd's "Beer & The Belly". Musically it would make an excellent movie soundtrack piece, and the lyrics just resonated with me: "There ain't no dog that don't get smelly and you can't have beer without the belly."
I might post some more reviews as I move through the songs. I figure if the labels and artists are being so kind as to give me this music for free, the least I can do is give them a little promo.
If you want to get some free MP3s from Amazon, you can start your journey by using the links above, or use this link to an Amazon MP3 search for samplers.
In the interest of full disclosure, the links to Amazon above are affiliate links, meaning that if you buy something while visiting Amazon after clicking the link, I could earn a commission. That said, I would have made these recommendations anyway. I just used the affiliate links because it wouldn't make sense to send traffic to Amazon and not use them.