Welcome to the Free Music Archive
"It's not just free music; it's good music."
» VIEW ALL FEATURED POSTS Featured Blog Posts
cheyenne_h on 11/15/2018 at 05:19PM
Due to a few very generous donations, we are able to keep the site up, as-is, through the end of this month. We will still not be adding any more new uploads to the collection and are proceeding with our plans to back up the entire current MP3 collection at archive.org.
We are in talks with a few organizations who have very substantial interest and whose values align with ours. As negotiations continue, I may write more updates here as we move along and may be able to announce a new parent org for FMA in the coming weeks. Nothing is set in stone though so we still face shutdown, and if you have questions or want to help, please contact us using the Closure Comment form (below).
In the meantime, donations large and small do keep the lights on here, and we are so thankful for your support!
cheyenne_h on 11/08/2018 at 12:38PM
Due to traffic, the site's been up and down today. Please DO NOT try to scrape the site, friends! We will keep all the music available here until it is available at archive.org, where you can continue to explore the collection, download (even different audio formats!) and mark stuff as 'favorites'!
Thanks for all the love and support you've given thus far. Donations help in the short term. We are in talks with a couple of orgs who might be able to help us out. Watch this space for details.
If you have skills to offer, are part of an interested organization who wants to help FMA, or have other feedback, please use our form in the post below.
cheyenne_h on 11/05/2018 at 11:28AM
We regret to inform you that due to a funding shortage, the FMA will be closing down later this month. The future of the archive is uncertain, but we have done everything we can to ensure that our files will not disappear from the web forever. The full audio collection will be backed up and available at https://archive.org/details/freemusicarchive (some of the collection is already there; feel free to go browse).
We are also partnering with Archive-It to preserve a current copy of the site's public pages in the Wayback Machine. FMA audio will also be added to the Creative Commons project CC Search, a search engine for the Commons, later in 2019.
The site may go down as early as November 9th, so now's the time to download your playlists, favorite songs, and do whatever personal archiving you need.
Want to help us preserve the FMA or make your own custom FMA collection? You have two good options:
1) Go to https://webrecorder.io/, make a free account and record some browsing sessions. You can save pages, search results, and much more using this tool (I've already done some serious browsing & recording - check out my collections here). If you want to share your sessions with us, we can compile a crowdsourced repository. The site may go down at the end of this week, so if you are going to do this, please do it soon.
2) Go to the Wayback Machine homepage and plug in the URLs you want to save. These are then archived for the public to use. There are browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox that make this super easy. Some pages are saved already, but many of them are outdated, so save away!
Share this information far and wide; we don't want our hard work (and amazing collection) to be forgotten. There is hope that we can find a new parent organization to help us continue the project, but for now, we must take a break and figure out the best course to proceed. We are interested in hearing from anyone who wants to offer web development help, funding, nonprofit status, or has other suggestions. There is a comment form below for this purpose; please put your feedback there.
Thanks, most of all, to you - our amazing community! From the volunteers who helped us maintain the site and bring new artists on board, to the curators and bands whose contributions diversified our collections, to our funders, to the folks that used the site everyday and made it the legendary corner of the web that it truly was. It was an amazing nine years, and we are extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished together.
cheyenne_h on 11/04/2018 at 10:00PM
When I joined this project more than four years ago, I knew I was taking the reins of a project that was truly unique. I would have endless opportunities to sharpen my audio skills, interview great minds and passionate artists, engage with a vibrant and global music community, be an advocate for Creative Commons, and educate the public about copyright and its alternatives. I was right about all of this, but there was so much more to the job. The site, though clearly ‘vintage’ and in need of repair, still functioned well enough for everyone to have their basic needs met.
What I did not realize when I began this journey was that I was being given a rare and precious gift. The Free Music Archive wasn’t just a giant digital repository for shareable audio; it was a complex and constantly changing project with a broad mission and monthly traffic in the millions. When I would tell people what I did for a living, I was shocked at how many of them already knew about FMA.
The original infrastructure degraded and caused ongoing technical issues that we simply lacked the resources to address. It was a challenge that we never quite figured out a working solution to. I am extremely grateful to everyone who offered suggestions, alerts, troubleshooting, reporting, and creative solutions -- and to those who offered their understanding when I revealed that there were only two staffers running the entire FMA and our resources were already overstretched. Our To-Do list was always long and our Wish List even longer.
All of these factors contributed to the situation that we face today: the imminent closure of the Free Music Archive. Its audio collection is being added to the Internet Archive as I write this, and I am pleased to announce that the site will be preserved to the best of our ability in the Wayback Machine. As with our entire operation, nothing has been perfect, but the imperfections were evidence of the ongoing nature of our work and how uncharted these waters are. If anything, the shortcomings of the FMA were a fundamental part of what made it real - if a little annoying at times.
When I announced to artists and curators that the site was going to be suspending operations in late October, I was inundated with replies ranging from grief, to anger, to deep gratitude and well-wishes. This project has changed lives for the better; it has forged entire music careers from simple online posts; it has helped facilitate a new way of approaching music licensing and audio sharing in the digital age. A few short years after our legendary Birthday Song contest, the classic Happy Birthday anthem was rightfully released to the public domain. We cannot take full credit, naturally, but we were part of the creative activism and consciousness-raising around copyright issues that the web has made possible. We are proud to make noise and be joyfully disruptive.
Having been the captain of this rickety ship for years, I share some grief and anger about the huge loss this shuttering represents to musicians, filmmakers, educators, podcasters, radio DJs, video game designers, the Commons, and to the online community at large. But I also have a persistent sense of wonder at the amazing things that this site has made possible: connections spanning continents, age groups, genre affiliations. Real people who made music, being able to share it directly with the public (and sometimes being commissioned to make more, or having work used in media projects and being paid for their art). Netlabels being taken more seriously as legitimate tastemakers and artist collectives. Putting names and faces to songs and, by sharing freely, underscoring the complexity and vibrance of human expression. Demonstrating that you can, indeed, distribute music online for free, legally, with permission from artists. Proving that sharing can actually be a way to make a living.
It wasn’t all silver linings and happy fun times, though. Losing people in the community during my tenure was rough. Seeing the tenderness and care that was offered to friends, family, and colleagues of those who had passed away was humbling, and gave me pause. This site has preserved many artistic legacies, that they may live on and continue to enrich the world. We did our best to shine a light on the recordings left behind by the people who not only made wonderful music, but also gifted it to the Commons.
The unlikely collaborations and artistic freedom that the Free Music Archive has fostered and facilitated will always be a point of pride for me as director of this project. I have made lifelong friends because of the Free Music Archive, and expanded my musical knowledge beyond my wildest imagination.
So this is goodbye, for now, and all I have to say is thank you so very much for being part of this moment, with these people, on this rock in space. The humanity of the archive was its strength, its weakness, and what made it truly special. It had heart in an often heartless world. This project gave me faith in people and the power of their creativity to connect with one another. In the end, I wasn’t just a librarian, I was a tour guide, switchboard operator and emissary for a vital artistic community, and for that I will always be grateful.
May the music play on forever.