About Free Music Archive

Free Music Archive (FMA), founded in 2009 by radio station WFMU, offers free access to open licensed, original music. Historically, radio has always offered the public free access to new music. So with the help of curators, netlabels and thousands of independent musicians around the world FMA became a continuation of that purpose. Tens of millions of visitors every month download music for personal use and many share and remix music from FMA in videos, podcasts, films, games, apps and even school projects.

Every MP3 you discover on Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. These uses vary and are determined by the rights-holders themselves (please see our FAQ) who feel that allowing a degree of free cultural access is beneficial not only to their own pursuits, but to our society as a whole. Free Music Archive is a resource for audiophiles of all stripes, and unlike other websites, all of the audio has been hand-picked by one of our established audio curators.

Free Music Archive is a platform for collaboration between curators and artists, including radio stations, netlabels, venues, artist collectives, museums, music festivals and more. The platform combines the curatorial approach that these organizations have played for the last few decades, with the community-generated approach of many current online music sites.

Inspired by Creative Commons and the open-source software movement, FMA provides a legal and technological framework for curators, artists, and listeners to harness the potential of music sharing. Every artist page will have a bio and links to the artists' home page for users to learn more about the music they discover via Free Music Archive. We also seek to compensate artists directly where possible. Artist, album and song profiles may contain links to buy the full album from the artist and/or label's preferred vendor(s). Users can also "tip" an artist if they like what they hear, sending a donation directly to the artists' PayPal account. FMA is also experimenting with "web monetization" tools.

While Free Music Archive is free and open to anyone regardless of registration or other requirements, written and audio content is curated, and permission to upload/edit content is granted on an invitation basis.

In September 2019, Free Music Archive was acquired by Tribe of Noise, a music platform and licensing company with many common features, facilitating a community of more than 34,000 independent artists across 190+ countries. Both FMA and Tribe of Noise support free to access, Creative Commons licensed, music and offer independent creators a variety of (revenue) opportunities.

Free Music Archive and Tribe of Noise

Global Music Community Tribe of Noise Acquires Free Music Archive by prweb.com
Tribe of Noise neemt Free Music Archive (FMA) over op opennederland.nl

Grant for the Web announces $250,000 in funding to early grantees on grantfortheweb.org
Free Music Archive: A Grant for the Web Awardee on grantfortheweb.org
Inside FMA - Chapter 1 on coil.com
Inside FMA - Chapter 2 on coil.com

Free Music Archive Early Days

An Open Source Marriage of Audio, Music, and Radio on blogs.harvard.edu

Free Music Downloads Without the Legal Peril on nytimes.com

WFMU’s Free Music Archive Thinks Outside the blog on blogfiles.wfmu.org
Bites, Video Data Bank, Birth of an Artform on blogfiles.wfmu.org
New Website Offers 5,000 Free Downloads That Don’t Suck! on spin.com
Interview with Jason Sigal of the Free Music Archive on rhizome.org
Indie Radio Station Launches Free Music Site on gigaom.com
WFMU Launches the Free Music Archive on pitchfork.com
Free Music Monday: 10 Songs From Around the Web on mashable.com

Finally ... Chris Richards Has Come Back to The Washington Post on voices.washingtonpost.com
Arquivo de Música Livre on link.estadao.com

Archivo Musical Gratis (y Seleccionado) on elpais.com

Can We Replace the “Happy Birthday” Song? on slate.com
The Quest for a Copyright-Free Happy Birthday on laughingsquid.com
It's Time For A New, Copyright-Free Happy Birthday Song, So Help Write One on techdirt.com
Free Music Archive Launches Public Domain Music Contest on creativecommons.com

Further readings and publications

10 Online Resources for Free, Legal Music on mashable.com

The Best Free & Pay Music Websites For Video Editors on fstoppers.com
A Beginner’s Guide to the Free Music Archive on hsvideoteacher.wordpress.com

We Love Resources: Free Music Archive on saylor.org
Free music that's legal: Where to find it on csmonitor.com

Where to Find Free (and Legal to Use) Images & Media Online on techsoup.org
Digital Underground: Who Will Make Sure The Internet's Vast Musical Archive Doesn't Disappear? on npr.org
How to find free music online: We reveal our 5 favorite sources for scoring free tunes on techhive.com
Here Are the 36 Best Noise Tracks of 2015 on villagevoice.com

What do we mean when we talk about open music? on opensource.com
Free Music Archive / World Listening Day field recording mix on binauraldiaries.co.uk
Free Music Archive Revista on cgi.br

How FMA Uses an Open-Source Model to Showcase Artists and Curate Songs on HostingAdvice.com
Free Music Archive Provides Access to Hundreds of Thousands of High-Quality Downloads on badcredit.org
8 Free Resources to Soundtrack Your Social Video Without Getting Sued on blog.hootsuite.com
Get New Music: Burn CD’s Off the Internet For Free on blog.real.com

Memorable Marketing Through Music on dealcrunch.com

14 Websites To Find Free Creative Commons Music on makeuseof.com

Copyright Friendly Music & Sounds on libguides.brisbanegrammar.com
The Best Free Music Download Sites on pcmag.com
Best free and legal music download sites on digitaltrends.com

Looking for an FMA Logo? Try one of these

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Website design and development by Cuban Council. This website would not have been possible without the tireless coding of Mark Armendariz, the intuitive design by Anna Arbuckle, Juan Añorga's masterful flash, and Tara Cyphers for making it all go as smoothly as possible. The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard, Future of Music Coalition, Creative Commons, Tiffany Camhi, Michael Davison, David van Dokkum, Tommy Engelhardt, Marcus Estes, Michael Feldheim, Ian Frazier, Ken Garson, Dylan Going, Greg Harrison, Austin Julian, Greg Klass, Matt Kruglinksi, Wendy M Levy, David Lorenz, Matt Marando, Markian Martynetz, Pranay Nadkarni, Graham Nalle, Irene Rible, Nayelli Rodriguez, Nat Roe, Marcel Rudin, Caleb Townsend, Jen Vafidis, and Alex Yockey. Initial funding for The Free Music Archive came from the New York State Music Fund, a program of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. Additional funding support has been provided by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, by the National Endowment for the Arts, and by charitable contributions from FMA users.