Defective by Design

Guide to DRM-Free Living: Audio

DRM-free

Literature · Video · Audio
Software (external)

DRM-encumbered

Worst offenders

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Welcome to the guide to living DRM-free. Please submit corrections and new items for the guide by adding it to the LibrePlanet wiki (you will need to register and login first) or emailing us at info@defectivebydesign.org.


Crowdfunding Platforms

  • ArtistShare is a platform that connects creative artists with fans in order to share the creative process and fund the creation of new artistic works.
  • PledgeMusic helps artists and bands design a specifically tailored fundraising campaign to raise money for their next release.
  • Sellaband is a platform that empowers artists to execute their next music project, funded by their fans.

Community and Self-Publishing Platforms

  • Altermusique is a not-for-profit platform for free culture music.
  • Archive.org's huge music and audio collection contains over two hundred thousand free digital recordings ranging from alternative news programming, to Grateful Dead concerts, to Old Time Radio shows, to book and poetry readings, to original music uploaded by our users. Many of these audios and MP3s are available for free download.
  • Bandcamp sells music in a variety of DRM-free formats
  • CC Mixter is a community music site where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want, supports some free culture licenses.
  • CD Baby sells downloads and CDs of independent artists.
  • Dogmazic has streamed 55628 tracks and served 259584350 downloads of shareable music since 2005.
  • Electrobel is an online community for electronic music artists available in Belgium & Luxembourg, France, The Netherlands, United Kingdom & Ireland, and Italy.
  • Jamendo is the largest community-driven music platform supporting some free culture licenses.
  • Libre.fm is the free software alternative to last.fm and plays freely licensed music in free formats.
  • Sonicsquirrel.net is a platform and distribution channel for netlabels aming to promote free music and help artists and netlabels make their work easily available for a wider audience. It's not only about providing music, but also about giving background information and sensitizing people for issues like copyleft/right and DRM.
  • SoundCloud is the world’s leading social sound platform where anyone can create sounds and share them everywhere.
  • Wikimedia Commons is the media hosting platform for Wikipedia and uses entirely free formats.

Music Stores

  • 7Digital sells music in a variety of DRM-free formats.
  • Amazon sells music without DRM, and you can buy music without using any additional software. Their MP3 downloader is proprietary software so we recommend against using it. You are able to purchase and download individual MP3 files of an entire album without the software, but you can not download an entire album in a single step.
  • Analekta sells DRM-free classical music.
  • Archambault is a Canadian DRM-free music store.
  • Beatport is an online music store specializing in electronic music and culture.
  • BigPond Music is an Australian Internet service provider and is a product of Telstra. BigPond is Australia's largest ISP and based in Melbourne.
  • Emusic is the 2nd most popular online music store (just behind iTunes) with all tracks available in MP3 format. With over 1,000,000 songs from over 3,800 record labels and no DRM, you never have to worry about whether tracks downloaded from eMusic will play on your iPod, your Rio, or your Zen music player. They're guaranteed to play on any music player you own.
  • Equal Dreams is a platform for music makers and music friends aiming to allaw artists and fans to freely participate and collaborate in the music business. They offer MP3 and FLAC downloads.
  • Gogoyoko is a social music marketplace where music fans can buy directly from the artists. Artists can now have total control over the way their music is sold. Everyone can share and stream their favorite music, using their own customizable player. You can store your music-collection online or download it to any portable device. Artist not only set the price of the music, but they get 100% of the profit as well as extra revenue from streaming.
  • Google Play sells music free of DRM but other forms of media and apps may come with DRM.
  • Juno Download offers MP3, WAV and FLAC electronic music.
  • MusicZeit sells music in FLAC and MP3 format
  • Naxos A variety of contemporary and classical music without DRM and in the MP3 format.
  • Play.com sells DRM free MP3s and no software to install.
  • Qobuz offers high-fidelity downloads, listening on demand, music information and exchanges.
  • Rhapsody -- Experience DRM-Freedom: Rhapsody MP3s aren't restricted; that means; when you buy a song or album from Rhapsody you can do whatever you want with it. Put it on your iPod or any other MP3 player, play it on as many computers as you want, or burn it to a CD as many times as you want.
  • Zunior "the little digital music store" offers full album downloads of a number of indie and alt-country darlings, including Neko Case and The Be Good Tanyas. Zunior takes a strong stand against DRM, believing that you should be able to play your music wherever you want. All songs available in DRM-free MP3 or CD-quality FLAC formats. Miss your album art? Album packages include PDF files of artwork and liner notes, so you go home happy. And at $8.88 per album, Zunior blows iTunes Music Store out of the water.

Record Labels

  • Bleep is the highly successful online music store for UK darling Warp Records. If you're looking for electronic, dance and hip hop without all the DRM strings attached, visit bleep.com. Participating record labels include underground hip hop legends like Ninja Tune and Stones Throw records. All songs available as MP3s.
  • Discord Records 320kbps MP3 downloads from Fugazi and others.
  • Folkways is the nonprofit record label of the Smithsonian Institute
  • Magnatune founder and CEO John Buckman likes to say that his company provides "Internet music without the guilt," according to a recent interview at Creative Commons. We'd like to say, "Thank you, John," for selling music without the locks imposed by DRM.
  • Merge Records was started in the summer of 1989, by Laura Ballance & Mac McCaughan, the same summer they formed the band Superchunk in Chapel Hill, NC. The first couple releases were cassettes (remember those?), by WWAX and Bricks, followed by the first Superchunk (then known only as "Chunk") 7-inch single.
  • Nettwerk Records -- the influential Canadian record label home to such pop giants as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne, Barenaked Ladies and Dido, offers individual tracks and albums absolutely DRM-free. It's a great way to purchase directly from great artists who believe that DRM is bad for business and bad for fans.

Individual Artists and Albums

  • Electric Arguments is the third album by The Fireman, an experimental music duo comprising Paul McCartney and producer Youth.
  • The Funny Music Project has a variety of DRM-free comedy songs.
  • The Inevitable Rise and Liberation of NiggyTardust! by Saul Williams can be purchased as a collection of MP3 files (encoded at either 192kbs or 320kbs), or in the lossless and free FLAC audio format. They state: "All files are 100% DRM Free."
  • They Might Be Giants are a rock band from Brooklyn, NY with a variety of DRM-free downloads.
  • Jonathan Coulton Folk rock singer and songwriter, Jonathan Coulton, is selling his music (by album and by individual song) in lossless FLAC format, 192kbps MP3 format, as well as the MP3+G Karaoke format.
  • Nine Inch Nails -- Trent Reznor and his band Nine Inch Nails have released a 36 track instrumental collection entitled Ghosts I-V. The first 9 tracks are available at no-cost as "high-quality, DRM-free MP3s, including the complete PDF." They note that MP3s were encoded using the free software program, LAME, at 320kbps.
  • InAndOut Cologne hosts free culture folk music to listen to and/or buy.
  • Voluntocracy Music hosts libre folk music with ABC source, sheet music PDFs and MIDI files.

Streaming and Online Radio Stations

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