Free Music

Episode 585

April 18,2020

i pay for a music service. It is Apple’s iTunes Match. For a fee of $25 per year all of the songs in my iMac iTunes library are made available on all my Apple devices.

iTunes Match includes all the songs i have added to my library from CDs and mp3s plus any songs i have bought from the Apple Music store. All the songs in my library are copied to my iCloud account. 

If the song i have digitized in iTunes is in Apple’s music inventory the high quality Apple version is streamed to my device on demand. This service is limited to 100,000 songs, but i only have 12,000 songs in my library. My other computer, iPad, iPhones and Apple TV all have access to my 12,000 songs. That’s 30 days of music on any of my devices. i can go to a 720 hour concert at home.

Many of you might not have a large music library. Some do not use iTunes or the Apple Music app on their computer. Others have chosen to use a for pay streaming music service. Streaming services offer millions of songs for a monthly fee. These fees average about $10 per month. $120 per year is an expensive club just to listen to music.


Depending on your tolerance for commercials there are many sources of music that do not cost a dime.

Indirectly, i pay for another music service. With my Amazon Prime subscription i can listen to 2 million songs on any of my devices at no extra charge. Upgrade to Amazon Music Unlimited ($7.99 per month for Prime members, $9.99 for non Prime members) and you get access to 60 million songs with no advertisements.

Pandora offers millions of songs in a radio format. You pick a song, artist or genre and Pandora  will build you a playlist. Build a station based on a song and not the artist and Pandora will create a more varied and deeper selection. Basic users will hear 3-12 commercials per hour depending on the popularity of the station and how often that you skip songs. Skip more songs, see more commercials. As with all free services there is a Premium version of Pandora for $9.99 per month or Plus version for $4.99. How annoying are commercials to you? It is a cost-benefit question.

You can get free music in pay services’ trial periods. Apple Music ($9.99 per month) offers a three month free trial. Apple music includes 45 million songs, by far the largest inventory available. Spotify (also $9.99 per month) has 35 million songs and offers a one month free trial. If you wish to cancel Apple Music or Spotify you must actively cancel the trial or you will be charged for the service once the trial ends.

If you want to listen to broadcast radio navigate to their web page and click on the Live Stream button. i like the Jack FM station. Just like the broadcast station the internet stream also has advertisements.

YouTube is the original music video service. It is free to use and offers 330 million videos with music in them. While much of this music is incidental to the video you can find just about any song you can think of. I looked up “Hey Bulldog” and found the Beatles Promo video, the cut from the Yellow Submarine album, the remastered version and various covers including Dave Grohl & Jeff Lynne at a Beatles tribute.

Be prepared to listen to ads or click to skip ads on YouTube. Listen to entire albums by finding the “Full Album” playlists. Click on the Play All button and the set of videos will begin to play. Even here each track may be proceeded by an advertisement. Either listen to the full ad or be near your device to click-skip. 

i have found single videos of entire albums with only one advertisement or sometimes no ads. Search for “nilsson schmilsson full album and find a play list of the album and a single video with the whole album with no breaks.

The play list has a few ads and the single video has none. Harry Nilsson should be more popular since he was the father of popular rock and roll and an inspiration to the Laurel Canyon rock and roll artists. Search for Laurel Canyon Playlist for some of the greatest music of all time.

The best chamber music in the world can be found at Camerata Pacifica’s web page.
The Camerata Pacifica Concerts at home series is designed specifically to bring their concerts to you at home during the epidemic.

Search YouTube for “child musician prodigy.” Four year old Justin Wilson shreds the drums to Lenny Kravitz’s “Fly Away.”

Talent show singers and musicians are another great source of music on YouTube. Try America’s Got Talent auditions.

Sometimes i pick a song or artist at random and, after the song, just let YouTube play. Many times the mix is a series of videos with little or no ads. Ad frequency seems to depend on the popularity of the song.

A hidden expense of streaming YouTube videos might be data download fees on your cellular device. Some cell providers charge a fee for Gigabytes downloaded over your plan limit. Others slow your cellular connection down after a certain limit. My T-Mobile senior plan has no data limit nor does it throttle my speed at any point.

A mix of standard and HD video on YouTube uses about 1 GB per hour of data.

AT&T Mobile Share 3GB version for one user costs $50 per month. After 3 hours of streaming YouTube videos AT&T will throttle your speed to 126 kbps. That is about one 40th of the streaming rate required by YouTube. You won’t be able to stream any kind of video if you are throttled to 126 kbps.

Even home Internet services like Cox and AT&T have 1 Terabyte monthly data caps after which they charge $10 per 50 GB overage charge. Cox has announced suspension of the overage charge during the next 60 days of the pandemic.

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a surprising place to find music. Search for “music” at i found a TED talk featuring The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys. They are three brothers 11, 14 and 15 years old that will knock your socks off with bluegrass from New Jersey.

With all this music available for free i won’t be paying a music service $10 per month any time soon.

i just found the “More of the Monkees” full album commercial free. Were the Monkees a real band?…”not a trace of doubt in my mind”, i’m a Believer.

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