Monday, September 1, 2008

35 Places To Download Free, Legal MP3s - Sorry, RIAA!

I love the RIAA. They make sure the hard working bands that record the music we love can still squeak out a living in the face of an ever-growing number of freeloading downloaders. Without them, how many talentless, lip-synching, manufactured performers would be able to afford homes in Orange County and multiple Bentleys?

In the interest of helping our readers stay out of jail and avoid massive fines, here are a bunch of places you can get tunes without fear of finding a summons in your mailbox. There's plenty of good, free, and legal music on the net for you to download.

  1. iLike is a social music site which allows you to discover new music with a little help from your friends. Free downloads and the buddy system, what could be better?

  2. Altsounds has a lot of streaming content, but there are quite a few quality mp3 downloads mixed in, including bands like Anberlin, Panic at the Disco, 10 Years, and Underoath.

  3. tracks live recording torrents of "bootleg friendly" bands. You'll be able to find all kinds of FLAC downloads from performers like Ben Harper, Jerry Garcia, Blues Traveler, Trey Anastasio (I smell a trend here, or at least some patchouli), Radiohead, Primus, and even Tenacious D.
  1. Legaltorrents is still in its early stages, but there are still a number of music and audio books available from their site.

  2. Stereogum has been offering free, legal mp3s since 2006. They're all still available, along with zip and torrent file archives of previous months. The Gum Mix streams music to you while you browse, and all the tracks it plays can be downloaded.

  3. SXSW is a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is, they only have one torrent file for download. The good news? It contains over 700 mp3s of bands that performed in 2007 for a whopping total of 3.1 gigs of audio. Change the year in the subdomain to get the 2006 and 2005 downloads.

  4. Unsigned Band Web is a palce for, well, unsigned bands to share their music and get noticed. Just about every genre you can imagine is offered here, and they maintain charts to show you what's hot. Apparently electronica is hot. Maybe I'll stick to genre browsing. Bottom line: tons of free mp3s to download.

  5. Soundclick's music page will hook you up with a ton of downloads, including more unsigned acts - like my favorite new addiction: German hip hop. I blame my scarf-wearing co-worker.

  6. Honc "if you love music. The site isn't much to look at, but there's still more undiscovered goodness to be found here.

  7. Garage Band is also worth checking out for more diamonds in the rough. Rub it in your friends' faces that you "heard them first."

  8. Indie Rock Cafe offers more up-ad-coming music, blog style. There's no centralized download page, so you'll find the tracks sprinkled around the blog post.

  9. DMusic has been offering indie musicians a chance to be heard since 1998. Top 20 charts are maintained for each of the 20+ main genres (which are broken down into several sub-genres as well).

  10. Fuzz offers - oh crap - a mixtape feature. The interface is cool as hell, and there's a ton of great, free music to discover on the site.

  11. iCompositions is dedicated to music created with Mac's Garage Band software. You'll need to register in order to download songs.

  12. The Internet Archive has a massive audio section, including audio books as well as music. Be sure to check out the open source section, with over 150,000 Creative Commons licensed items.

  13. Jamendo rocks for one big reason: they offer both direct downloads and a torrent tracker. 555 pages multiplied by 20 items per page equals a veritable crapload of music. You'll find lots of international music too, from exotic places like Brazil and er...Canada.

  14. Peoplesound is similar to Jamendo, but you'll find some major label artist offerings. Registration is required to download, and you'll have to browse the genres/artists to find the mp3 files, but they have plenty up for grabs.

  15. Epitonic is "your source for cutting edge music." You'll find tracks by artists like The Strokes, Carl Cox, Pavement, Peaches, Guided by Voices, and Yo La Tengo.

  16. I love me some punk music, and fortunately punk labels love to share their music. Fat Wreck Chords, Hellcat Records, Subpop, and Epitaph all have tons, and usually offer two or three fulls songs from a CD. Oi!
  17. Stereokiller has even more punk/hardcore/metal goodness for you. According to the guy that runs the site, it's "better than damn MySpace." Well, no argument there.

  18. Anti's slogan is "real artists creating great recordings on their own terms." Downloads galore from guys like Michael Franti and Spearhead, Greg Graffin, Nick Cave, and Billy Bragg.

  19. 3hive's bloggers pass on links to some excellent free mp3s on their site. It's got a nice, personal feel to it, though there's not the tidal wave of music you'll find at some other on this list.

  20. itsfreedownloads is worth a bookmark for iTunes users. It's a site that keeps tabs on the weekly freebies in the iTunes store. You may get sick of looking at all the ads, but the free music will help soften the annoyance.

  21. has a pretty huge collection of free tunes as well, with offerings from almost 1,400 artists. Most can be both streamed and downloaded.

  22. is loaded with streaming music, but there are plenty of downloads as well. Click the search link, then search or browse to "discover new music." It's the quickest way to the freebies.

  23. What can I say, they've got a ton of MP3s. I'm not much of a CNET fan, but free is free.

  24. Last.FM has free downloads, too. It's not just for streaming.

  25. Stage.FM used to be Audiri, and still offers streaming and downloads for independent artists.

  26. iSound offers another large catalog. Head to the mp3 page for free downloads, as some artists only offer streaming - including Our Lady Peace frontman Rayne Maida, who I was disappointed to see had no downloads.

  27. we7 is offering all kinds of free tunes - if you're ok with a brief advertisement being appended to the track. They're legal, they're free, and you'll find bands that you'd normally have to pay for to get full mp3s.

  28. SpiralFrog is doing the ad-supported thing, too (if you can get to it).

  29. Blentwell is "an ongoing document of the evolution of blended music." Tons and tons of DJ mixes, categorized by genre.

  30. MTV offers a new group of about a dozen downloads on a somewhat regular basis. A drop in the bucket, but still free.

  31. Anyone with a toddler or three at home will apprciate Free Children's Music. You'll find tons of great, kid friendly tunes there.

  32. Classic Cat maintains a massive listing of free, classical mp3s available on the internet. Files aren't hosted there, but it's an easier way to find works by Bach and Beethoven than searching yourself.
Will more major artists give free music a shot? Radiohead's In Rainbows is no longer available as a free download, but Trent Reznor is still in a giving mood. NIN fans can still grab The Slip for free from his web site.

Five films enter Labor Day fray

There are five new wide releases playing over the long Labor Day weekend -- more than ever before for the holiday -- in a fitting end to a summer that's been full of surprises.

Total B.O. revenues for the season should come in just behind last summer's record-breaking haul of $4.16 billion once Labor Day weekend grosses are tallied.

No one expected summer 2008 to be so strong considering the lack of the established film franchises that populated last summer. Through Wednesday, B.O. grosses for the season were $3.99 billion vs. $4.00 billion for the same frame a year ago, according to Rentrak.

Attendance, however, will likely be down a few percentage points. The average ticket price this summer is $7.16 vs. $6.88 in 2007.

The vibrant summer box office is attributable in part to a slate of films that clicked with all sectors of the moviegoing population. The ailing economy also helped: As gas prices skyrocketed in early June, many Americans decided to stick close to home and spend their travel dollars on other entertainment. An evening at the movies is still cheaper than sporting events or theme parks.

It's long been said "that Hollywood can't come up with fresh, good, satisfying and innovative product, and I think one of the truths of this summer is that Hollywood came up with product that was exactly that," said Universal prexy of marketing and distribution Adam Fogelson.

Don't expect any of the new Labor Day titles -- 20th Century Fox's "Babylon A.D.," Lionsgate's sendup "Disaster Movie," MGM's R-rated laffer "College," Overture's political thriller "Traitor" and Focus Features' quirky comedy "Hamlet 2" -- to rack up big grosses. Most should, however, see solid biz for their respective genres, continuing a summerlong trend of relative prosperity.

For years, the film biz avoided opening movies over Labor Day because it was too close to the fall TV season. That's not the case anymore, however, since TV shows preem throughout the year.

The race for the weekend crown could see a battle between DreamWorks/Paramount holdover "Tropic Thunder" and "Babylon." "Hamlet 2" is off to a wobbly start, having opened wide on Wednesday to $245,813 from 1,530 runs. "Traitor," toplining Don Cheadle and Guy Pearce, grossed a respectable $792,214 as it opened in 2,054 on Wednesday. The remaining Labor Day titles open today.

Biggest victor of the summer B.O. is Warner Bros.' "The Dark Knight," which should jump the $500 million mark domestically over the extended Labor Day frame. Cume was $492.7 million through Wednesday. Batman sequel is already the second highest grossing pic of all time after "Titanic" (which earned $600.8 million domestically).

Box office observers didn't think "Dark Knight," directed by Christopher Nolan, could reach such heights considering its dark and brooding tone. Nolan's "Batman Begins," likewise dark in tone, grossed $205.3 million domestically.

Superhero tentpole "Iron Man," from Paramount and Marvel Entertainment, also flourished. The first release of summer, "Iron Man" far exceeded expectations in grossing $317.5 million, making it the No. 2 film of the season. Paramount also took the No. 3 spot at the summer box office with Steven Spielberg's "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" ($315.3 million).

The summer did see several high-profile misses. Warners started off with a loose wheel when "Speed Racer" stalled. Eddie Murphy starrer "Meet Dave," from Fox, and Mike Myers starrer "The Love Guru," from Paramount, also failed to take off. "Speed Racer" grossed $43.9 million; "Guru," $32.2 million; and "Meet Dave," $11.6 million. ("Speed Racer" was by far the most expensive to produce.)

Warners was able to turn its fortunes around and will end the summer No. 1 in market share. (Bear in mind that market share isn't a barometer of fiscal health, since turning a profit depends upon how much a movie cost to produce and market).

WB's victory was fueled by "Dark Knight," as well as "Get Smart" and New Line titles "Sex and the City" and 3-D adventure "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

One of the biggest myths upended this summer: that women can't open films or turn a pic into an event movie. "Sex and the City" debuted to a whopping $57 million on its way to cuming $152.4 million domestically. Universal's female-skewing "Mamma Mia!" also shined, cuming north of $126 million to date. Girl pics "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2," likewise from Warners, and Sony's "The House Bunny" also have done solid biz.

Paramount is a close No. 2 in summer market share thanks to "Iron Man," "Crystal Skull," DreamWorks Animation's "Kung Fu Panda" ($212.9 million) and "Tropic Thunder," which cume roughly $71 million through Wednesday and is still in the heart of its run.

Universal is No. 3 in market share, turning in a slate of strong performers, led by "The Incredible Hulk" ($134.4 million), "Wanted" ($133.8 million) and "Mamma Mia!" The best news for U is that seems to have successfully relaunched the "Hulk" film franchise, and perhaps started a new one with "Wanted." U also jump-started the long-dormant "Mummy" franchise, with "The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor" earning $94.9 million to date.

Sony's biggest hit of the summer was Will Smith starrer "Hancock," which has cumed just north of $212 million. Studio is No. 4 in market share, with 14.2%. It has released no fewer than five comedies this summer, led by "You Don't Mess With the Zohan" ($99.7 million) and "Step Brothers" ($96.4 million).

The Mouse House headline of the summer was Disney-Pixar's critically acclaimed "Wall-E," which cumed $216.7 million. Disney's "The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian" cumed $141.5 million -- something of a disappointment since the first "Narnia" film earned far more at $291.7 million. Disney ranks No. 5 in market share for the summer, Fox No. 6.

Of all the majors, Fox had the roughest summer, primarily because of "Meet Dave," which will be a financial loss for the studio. Sequel "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" won't lose money for the studio, since the pic cost under $20 million to produce, but it was a box office disappointment, cuming $20.7 million.

Comedy "What Happens in Vegas" is Fox's top-grossing pic of the summer, earning $80.2 million. M. Night Shyamalan's "The Happening" earned $64.4 million.

Fox has had good luck opening male-skewing fare over Labor Day and looks to continue that trend with "Babylon." This year, though, there's plenty of competition for young males, including "College" and "Disaster Movie," from the team behind the "Scary Movie" sendup franchise.

"Babylon" opens in 3,390 runs, "Disaster Movie" 2,642 and "College" 2,123.

Openers on the specialty side include Sony Pictures Classics' "I Served the King of England," opening in eight theaters in New York and L.A.; Eros' "Hijack," bowing in six runs; and First Look's "Sukiyaki Western Django," opening in one theater.

David Duchovny In Rehab For Sex Addiction

David Duchovny, who plays a sex-obsessed character on Showtime's "Californication," has entered a rehabilitation facility for sex addiction.

The 48-year-old actor said he did so voluntarily, in a statement released Thursday by his lawyer, Stanton Stein. He added: "I ask for respect and privacy for my wife and children as we deal with this situation as a family."

Duchovny's publicist, Flo Grace, confirmed the report, which first appeared on the Web site She and Stein both declined further comment.

"All of us at Showtime wish David and his family the best during this very private time," the network said in a statement.

The second season of "Californication" begins Sept. 28.

Duchovny starred as the conspiracy-minded Fox Mulder on "The X-Files" TV series and in two films. "The X-Files: I Want to Believe" opened in theaters earlier this summer.

He and his wife, actress Tea Leoni, have two children. The couple married in 1997.