Finding Free Music

Crucial as the lending library is to the maintenance and advancement of civilization (though like any institution it is eminently corruptible), there is something to be said for the physical possession books of one’s very own.

When it comes to music, some have similar notions about vinyl. Reactionary as I tend to be, and despite having fond memories of buying my first ’45 record (it was this gem), I’ve never quite understood the attraction of listening to a scratchy piece of spinning plastic.

(Well, one advantage cannot be gainsaid: without the existence of the “B-side,” I would never have encountered exotic pieces such as this, much less be able to call them to memory decades later.)

As for CDs, while publishers have occasionally gone to impressive lengths to develop unique presentations, the less we say about the atrocious “jewel case” the better.

For some time now, I’ve been convinced that electronic is the way to go when it comes to audio. Yet streaming, I think, as liberating as it is in some respects, goes one step too far. Deprived of the element of possession, my use and appreciation of a work seem somehow truncated.

Does this mean one is forced to invest large sums of money in building a music library? That is possible, of course, and done wisely might be worth the while.

But I would like to bring Dear Reader’s attention to certain ways of acquiring excellent music, at the most reasonable price there is: nothing.

Nothing, that is, but the willingness to endure a little friendly spam from time to time.

Naxos sends out an email newsletter each month, featuring new releases and the opportunity to download one venerable album (from three choices) at no cost. Mid-month, they send another missive featuring affiliated labels, and offer additional free tracks.

Supraphon, an incredible Czech label, provides free samples of their latest releases to subscribers.

Chandos also has a newsletter including free music, as does BBC Music.

As the years go by, I have enjoyed many, many hours of lovely music I might otherwise have never known, thanks to these generous souls.

Though my tastes have somewhat changed, I will always think with fondness about my first forays, with a Fisher Price turntable, into the realm of audio adventure, and the lessons I learned from certain pop stars who reminisced about times . . .

When I, you, and everyone we knew could believe, do, and share in what was true!

What do you think? Please comment, subscribe, & forward to friends!   

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