The VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded gets it’s public premiere this Thursday (that’s the 12th!) steaming on AOL. It’s a fitting debut for Alex Winter‘s film that chronicles the rise and fall of Napster, the infamous high profile peer-to-peer internet music sharing service. Although extremely controversial due to the thorny questions it raised about ownership and copyright, there’s no denying that the site placed a major cultural role and was an important technological stepping stone.
In the twelve years since a barrage of lawsuits shut it down, music sharing on the internet has gone from being just for “pirates” to a major business. There’s no shortage of sites where one can steam (or in some cases download) music of every conceivable variety, all to your heart’s content. We’ve got the mysterious-yet-epic “Daisy” project from Beats on the horizon, the brain child industry titans Dr. Dre, Trent Reznor and record exec Jimmy Iovine. Napster’s back -this time as a streaming site and MP3 store- and now even BitTorrent is going legit as a legal file transfer site. We’ve come a long way in music sharing since the first steps taken by Napster more than a dozen years ago. Let’s take a look at some of the best ways to rock out for free (or very little money) on the web!
History: Since going public in 2005, this site has become the authority on hip hop mix tapes, featuring collections by stars like Rick Ross, 50 Cent, Lil Kim, Meek Mill and Drake.
Why It’s Good: You’re able to download a huge number of pro (and amateur) mixtapes for free, without even having to register. A great way to discover new music, and also see what you’re hip hop heroes are listening to.
History: This one comes to us from the good folks over at New Jersey’s own WFMU, the longest-running freeform radio station in the country. Inspired by Creative Commons, all of these genre-spanning 60,000+ songs have been pre-cleared for certain types of fair use. In addition to this, the site also provides a forum for artists to post their own content.
Why It’s Good: All of the audio has been carefully selected by pro-curators from some of the finest radio stations in the country, showcasing rare tunes that had previously been unavailable. Because much of the music has been pre-cleared for copyright usage, it’s an awesome resource for aspiring podcasters, producers, remixing DJs, and more!