Want to legally download music for free for your DJ sets? There are still plenty of places you can do just that, whether to build a collection without spending much money, or to discover something cool that nobody else has got…
Once upon a time, all DJ music was bought, in physical formats. Then along came digital and DJs could suddenly download music for free, with first Napster then a rush of similar sites becoming a huge opportunity for DJs wanting lots of music for nothing, and of course a huge problem for the music industry.
But the music industry has changed fundamentally since then, with the big streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music largely replacing the download sites, for consumers at least, who are happy to pay their $10 a month for anything they could wish to listen to. Streaming services are even finding their way into DJ software, offering DJs this option too.
But most DJs still want to own their music. And while torrenting or other ways of illegally ripping music certainly haven’t gone away as sources for building a quick DJ collection, they come with legal, ethical and technical pitfalls. And even though download stores are still hanging in there, the specialist dance music download stores of interest to DJs can be expensive, especially for those who are just starting out and want to build a relatively large collection quickly.
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Plus, there’s also the question of whether you’re really finding anything particularly new and interesting when you shop in the same places as everyone else. If being a DJ is about having better music than the next DJ, surely you should be casting your net wider than the obvious places to look for that music?
That means that not only for new DJs, but also for established DJs looking for that set-changing banger they can be pretty sure nobody else has found yet, finding more obscure alternative places to get music from is a good idea. And happily, a lot of those places also don’t charge you for that music.
On such sites, you can often find unsigned/underground acts, or music from up-and-coming producers that hasn’t made it to the iTunes Store or Beatport’s catalogue just yet. Going through these sites and spending time on them lets you build a unique DJ library that isn’t reliant on charts or other easily accessible tools (like curated playlists from online shops) which helps you set your song selections apart from other DJs. Part of a DJ’s job is to break relatively unknown songs to an audience, and many DJs build a name doing just that.
So whether you’re brand-new to DJing and just want a bunch of tunes you can get started with, or you want to cast your net wider to find some obscure track others don’t have, or you just want to save some money, here are 13 places to start your search: