There are few things I like better than discovering new music. And, even though my dancing has taken a bit of a backseat lately, I’ve been digging around for new music to DJ. And me being the broke college kid (or college grad, now) that I am, the one thing I like better than new music is cheap new music.
I’ve found some pretty amazing resources in my quest for new music. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite resources.
1) Your local public library. Seriously. Can you say free music? Free is my favourite part, someone purchased the CD, so the artist still gets the profits, which is wonderful. But there’s usually a great selection from some of the more famous artists, like Frank Sinatra, Benny Goodman and Etta James. If your local branch doesn’t have much in the way of music (like mine), pop on down to the main branch, they’ll have a better selection.
2) CDbaby.com– There’s a great selection of jazz music here (and plenty of other music, too) by some less well-known artists. What I like about this site is the ability to preview and purchase each song individually, that way you can pick and choose the ones you want. I also love the way they divide into endless subgenres.
3) Bandcamp.com– Bandcamp isn’t the best place to find jazz and swing music, but the site hosts some great indie bands and soundtracks (i.e. A Very Potter Musical (if you haven’t watched this, do it now)). There’s also this nice feature that gives artists the option to let consumers name their own price.
4) Noisetrade.com– this site is great because you can “tip” the artists. They suggest a price, but you can raise or lower it , depending on how you’re feeling. They’ve got a decent selection of swing/jazz/blues and I’m a particular fan of their folk and country sections.
5) Jazz-on-line.com– this is a great place to get free music from the 20s up through the 50s, just don’t go looking for the greatest hits selections. If you’re looking for lesser-known songs by famous artists like Cab Calloway, you’re golden. The other downside to this site is the inability to preview songs before you download them. With music this old, you can never be too certain of the quality of the recording. You’ve been warned.
6) iTunes, Spotify, Amazon– of course, these are pretty standard and don’t always have the lowest prices. But iTunes does a “Free Single of the Week” and I’ve scored a couple of good dance tunes there. You have to check it regularly, and not all of the music is good, but you can end up with some real gems this way.
7) Artists’ Websites many times, artists will give you a free download for visiting their site or signing up for their email list. I know we all get enough email, but you can always unsubscribe later. But there’s no better way to keep track of the artists you like than having them email you!
Now, I know acquiring a vast music collection is an expensive endeavor, but please, please, please NEVER pirate your music. The quality can be shoddy, files can go missing and worst of all, the musicians don’t get paid. Music is how these people make their living and pirating their music is no better than stealing.