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Where The Music Plays

Are you a vinyl record holdout? Here's a brief summary of where you can find free digital music, for just a listen or a download.

As a baby boomer who grew up listening to vinyl records, the transition to downloading and listening to music on my iPod and now my iPhone took a while to embrace.

Like many music loving baby boomers, I still have my record collection from the 60’s and 70’s. I also have names of people who buy record collections, as I have good intentions of selling my records. I never do sell them but I have good intentions. Do I own a record player that works? Of course not. I suppose when space considerations overrule nostalgia I will sell them, as I am pretty sure I can find the music on CD, download it from Amazon or iTunes, or search a music website for a listen.

I no longer have my 8 track tapes, never bought cassette tapes, but I do have an extensive CD collection. I still buy CDS. Yes I can download music and burn a CD, but I still like buying CDs. Getting songs you don’t know or don’t care for is part of the CD experience. If you like the artist you usually learn to like all their songs. When you get to hand pick your tunes, you miss out on these lesser known songs. On the downside, my CD collection is a mess. I cannot always find the CD case I am looking for, and when I find it there is a chance of it being empty or a different artist is in the case!  I have loaded some of my favorite CDS into my iTunes library.

Surely there are great advantages of downloading MP3 format digital music including space considerations, portability, organization, and cost. And speaking of cost, there are websites where you can download music for free to supplement your MP3 library. You may not be a fan of some of this music, but occasionally you find a keeper. I've downloaded free music from both iTunes and Amazon:

iTunes - When you launch iTunes, there is a Free on iTunes link on the right side Quick Links menu. When you click on this link, you will find free music downloads as well as free books, videos, and apps. If you don’t already have an iTunes account, you will have to create one to get your download.

Starbucks AppStore cards – if you visit Starbucks, pick up a free “Pick of the Week” card. It could be an App or a Book, quite often it is a Song. Each card has a unique download code. When you launch iTunes, there is a Redeem link on the right side Quick Links menu. When you click on Redeem you are then able to enter the download code and get your free music. If you don’t already have an iTunes account, you will have to create one to get your download.

Amazon – Amazon also has free music downloads. Once on Amazon search for “free music downloads”.

Of course you don’t have to download MP3s to enjoy free music. There are many Internet sites and mobile apps that allow you to listen to radio stations, and specific genres of music on your PC or mobile device.   My current favorites are Pandora,  and Tune In Radio .  Pandora is very simple to use and plays music in the genre you choose, or you can select artists and Pandora will stream music of that artist and like artists for you.   Tune in Radio allows access to local radio stations as well as stations around the world.  Additional popular sites for music listening that you may want to check out are Last.fm, AOL , and YahooSpotify provides more functionality, allowing you to pick your own tunes, but requires you to login with your Facebook account, and I'm not sure I like that.

I'd love to hear about your favorite music sites and/or apps.  And what about that vinly collection - have you kept or sold it?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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