Consumers love movie soundtracks, whether those soundtracks are based on original scores or collections of popular music by mainstream artists. Finding them, however, can be tricky. They tend to go out of date fairly quickly. If you're looking for soundtracks old and new, explore these websites that offer free downloads of the music from your favorite movies.
Last FM has a large collection of free MP3 files to download, though you'll need to piece together complete soundtracks song by song. Search the free download section for "movie score" and "film score" to find even more titles. Titles range from the obscure to mainstream. This is a very easy site to browse and navigate. Users do not have to sign up in order to download, but those who do will have the chance to customize their experience.
Search through the Community Audio section at Archive.org for movie soundtracks. The site offers a nice library of film music, though you'll have to do a bit of digging. Some of the offerings include:
If you're looking for hard-to-find movie music, especially the obscure and instrumental, this is a good place to start.
Artist Direct has a large collection of free downloads, though you'll need to be search-savvy in order to find them. Free songs are mixed in with those that are available for purchase after conducting a search, so be sure to check the price of the song before attempting to download it. Users who do not have iTunes loaded onto their computer might find it easier to navigate if they first download this free program.
Free Music Archive
The Free Music Archive offers a unique library of tracks, especially indie, hard-to-find selections from experimental movies. If you search for "soundtrack" in the site's search box, you will see a list of tracks available. You can listen and download them without signing up for a profile but to use other features, such as tagging a track, you must sign up for a free profile.
Other Ways to Listen to Soundtracks
Some movie soundtracks prove elusive. If the sites above yield nothing, consider watching video clips on You Tube and other similar sites. Also, listening to free online radio stations, such as stations found on Shout Cast, is a good way to hear movie favorites.
Finding Free, Legal Soundtracks for Your Own Movies
If you're looking for free tracks for use in your own film productions, these three sites provide helpful resources:
- Go Soundtrack: Possibly one of the best free download sites for this purpose, GoSoundtrack offers original compositions, categorized by unique mood descriptors such as "Emotions for Film - Nostalgia" or "Achieving the Goal - Challenging Music" that are copyright and license-free to use in any production. You must register for a free profile in order to download their tracks.
- Partners In Rhyme: This site has a page dedicated to free downloads of its instrumental tracks, and every free track is original instrumental music, copyright and license-free to use anywhere. No sign-up is needed. You simply right-click and download any track in its list, which includes unique genres such as "Arabian salsa" and "circus music," besides the standard music genres.
- FMA Creative Commons: In the search feature of the Free Music Archive, you can select "Creative Commons" and "allows for commercial use" to access hundreds of original songs uploaded by artists to the Free Music Archive who have granted permission for copyright and license-free use of their music. Every genre is found in this treasure trove, but it is most valuable for its unique, experimental electronic instrumental tracks.
Before using any audio in your films, always be sure you've researched its copyright status and asked the proper permissions to use the material.
Legalities of Free Downloads
While downloading free movie soundtracks and all other types of music online can be a lot of fun, it doesn't come without risk. Some free online music sources are completely legitimate and legal. The copyright holders have given permission to the sites to allow downloads of their music as a promotional tool. Other times, a website that offers free music downloads may be supported by advertising. They pay the copyright holder for the downloads using the money generated by advertising on their websites, but the user is allowed to download for free.
Downloading from sharing websites is not a good idea. The Recording Industry of America (RIAA) has filed lawsuits against people who use these networks. It is not legal to download songs that have been uploaded and offered without the permission of the copyright holder. Additionally, downloading music from an unfamiliar source may put your computer at risk of getting a virus. A lot viruses masquerade as music files, so get your music from a trusted source.
Stock Up on Movie Soundtracks
Thanks to free music downloads, the days of scouring used record stores for that obscure movie soundtrack are over. While you may have to invest some time into searching for that particular film score, you can do so in the comfort of your home at any time of the day or night, and this option won't cost you a penny!