6 Best Online Music Sites for Downloading Songs

Girl dancing while listening to music on her computer.

Hero Images/Getty Images

The music industry continues to evolve to meet changes in technology and consumer demand. Gone are the days when we'd simply pop into a record store and rifle through packed racks. In fact, 2017 saw only 17 percent of music purchased in physical form (for example, CDs and vinyl). A whopping 80 percent was downloaded or streamed. It's no surprise, then, that music sites continue to proliferate, and sorting through them all can be time-consuming. Here are six of the best music sites for downloading songs.

The Ethics of Music

Downloading music for free from disreputable sites (i.e., pirating) is not only illegal; it's unethical. As of 2018, musicians generally receive only 12 percent of revenue from online sales. Support the musicians who make the music you love by purchasing their art legally.

01
of 06

iTunes

iTunes window with iTunes logo

 Apple

Many music fans regard Apple's iTunes store as the internet's premier music provider. Apple fans use iTunes' own software to access Apple's store, which naturally offers built-in support for syncing music to your iPod, iPhone, iPad, and other Apple devices. You don't have to have one to use this service, however.

Apple's online store is more than just an online music service; other sub-stores offer music videos, audiobooks, movies, free podcasts, apps, and more. A social network (Connect) lets you follow your favorite artists and connect with others who appreciate them, too.

What We Like

  • Not exclusive to Apple devices
  • Vast selection of current and past hits
  • User-friendly, browser-like interface
  • iCloud interface makes music available to all your devices

What We Don't Like

  • No free music
  • Lacks a web interface
02
of 06

Amazon MP3

Amazon MP3
Amazon/Wikimedia Commons/Fair use

Amazon MP3, which first launched in 2007, has grown to be one of the largest stores for purchasing and downloading digital music. With many songs and albums retailing at a very competitive level in the digital music market, Amazon MP3 is certainly worth a look as an ​iTunes Store alternative.

What We Like

  • Cloud Drive means any digital media you purchase is automatically stored in your own personal music locker
  • Amazon's Cloud Player makes streaming your music easy
  • Wide selection available for Prime members
  • Integration with Amazon Echo products

What We Don't Like

  • No weather, lifestyles, or sports audio
  • Not as large a library as that of iTunes
03
of 06

Spotify

Spotify

Spotify

Even though Spotify is essentially a streaming music service, its special Offline Mode qualifies it as a music download service, too. In this mode, you can download and listen to thousands of songs without needing to be connected to the internet.

What We Like

  • Create playlists
  • Share and build playlists with others through social networking
  • Can import your own iTunes and Windows Music libraries

What We Don't Like

  • Requires Spotify subscription ($9.99 as of 2018)
  • Can't sync playlists to more than three devices
04
of 06

Napster

Napster

Napster, LLC

Gone are Napster's days as a file-sharing service (which was shut down due to copyright violations). Today's Napster is both a subscription-based service and an a la carte music store. Selecting the subscription route gives you the opportunity to use Napster for music discovery: You can listen to as many songs as you like, providing you keep your subscription going. You also get MP3 credits by subscribing, which you can redeem for MP3 downloads.

Note

Even though Napster US has been acquired by Rhapsody, it is still very much alive and well.

What We Like

  • More than 40 million songs available
  • Search results can be used to generate a playlist that can be downloaded

What We Don't Like

  • No free membership level
  • Nothing to set it apart from other services
05
of 06

eMusic

eMusic

All Media Guide, LLC

eMusic is a subscription-based service that provides a library of more than 32 million music titles, all from independent artists. The big plus about this subscription service is that all songs are DRM-free; you get a set amount (depending on your subscription level, the costs of which range from free to $29.99) to download and keep every month.

What We Like

  • Free trial
  • Great way to discover independent artists
  • Free tier gives users unlimited cloud storage and access to their own music collections, photos, audio books, and videos
  • Use service on up to 10 devices at once
  • Compatible with iPhone and Android
  • Offers web interface

What We Don't Like

  • No current major-label hits
  • Can download a song only once
06
of 06

7digital

7 Digital

7 Digital 

7digital is a media service that provides not only music tracks, but also videos, audiobooks, soundtracks, and a selection of free MP3 downloads. The digital locker helps you to store all your purchased tracks safely in the event that you need to download them again.

What We Like

  • High-quality MP3 downloads of up to 320 kbps
  • Digital locker comes free with account

What We Don't Like

  • Not all tracks are DRM-free
  • Smaller selection than that of larger players in the field