There’s little reason to pay for digital music these days, especially if the artist you're seeking is signed to a major label. By all means buy it if you can, but the artists don’t get much money from digital sales. Support them by buying concert tickets or better yet, find them and put money directly into their hands (or PayPal accounts) to show them you care about their art. If you’re too poor to financially support the artists you love, do not fear. Music is your inalienable right as a human being. Feel free to stream, and sometimes even download, music for free. All five of these methods are tested by your expert Music Advisor and completely 100% legal.
Spotify — The app has recently become completely free on all (Android, iOS, computers, etc) devices. There are only two known downsides to Spotify: You’ll have to listen to some ads every few songs and if you’re on a smartphone as opposed to a smart tablet or a smart computer, you’ll be limited to a shuffle of album, artist or playlist. Spotify has approximately (MixtressRae’s verrry scientific evaluation of guessing) 80% of everything, has excellent sound quality, lots of ways to discover new music, and did I mention FREEEE?
Freegal — Anyone living in the states of Missouri or Kansas can get a Kansas City library card at kclibrary.org. They’ll mail it to you. With your library card information, you can log into freegalmusic.com and download (to keep, FOREVER) 5 songs a week. You can also stream for unlimited time-stuffs from their site or app, though the interface for both is a bit clunky.
Groove + — this smartphone app just came out a couple of weeks ago. It’s basically an interface with YouTube that allows you to stream any of YouTube's music content for free with only small banner ads. The app automatically plays the videos associated with the track, but if you lock your phone, you’ll be able to listen to the audio only, which is something you can’t do through the traditional YouTube app. This is a free way to gain mobile access to almost ANY song, because YouTube has EVERYTHING. Only available on iOS, so far.
speaking of YouTube — You really can find almost anything on YouTube. You can create playlists too. Even from a non-iOS mobile device there are wayyyyys to listen to music through YouTube on the go. Google it…or email me and I’ll Google it for you.
NPR — Through the app or npr.org, one can access lots of free music. NPR regularly features the streaming of entire albums (a feature called “first listen”). If you poke around in the music areas of their site, they sometimes have playlists with tracks that can be downloaded to keep in your music library.
With these five methods, you should be able to find anything you want to listen to with only an internet connection and a dream. You’re welcome.