ReverbNation is a fairly well established music site. It works with independent artists and provides a web platform so artists can give fans access to their music. The artists can sell downloads, show videos and build a community of fans. There are thousands of artists on ReverbNation covering pretty much every genre of popular music.
You can search for artists offering free downloads, for example, I discovered Fish is offering a free track when I searched for "Progressive Rock" and "Free Downloads".
Advert supported downloads
However, given what I've said before about sponsorship being an interesting way for bands to be rewarded for their music while fans get to download for free, I want to focus on a deal that Windows has done with ReverbNation and MySpace. Essentially, in exchange for Microsoft adding a Windows advert to the album art, fans get a chance to download a song for free. Currently, Window's are sponsoring over one thousand songs. Will I say that again? Over 1,000 songs for free download!
It has to be said that, by the nature of the people that use ReverbNation, most are by artists I've never heard of. It also doesn't help that there is no search option in the Windows section of site (the best you can do is narrow it down by first letter of the artists name or by choosing a genre). However, I have come across two names I recognise that I want to pass on here.
The first name I recognised was The Answer. Again, because of the way the site is organised, it is not possible to link directly to their page. You may have to go to the Free Music Giveaway section and look for them yourself. With a bit of luck you will be able to download the mp3 of Tonight from here but if you find them yourself, you get the choice of downloading in m4a or mp3 format, as well as being able to listening to it directly from the web page.
Tonight is a great track from an up and coming band but I must admit I prefer Goodbye from Logan. Logan are a five piece rock band from Glasgow - my home town. They do the noisy guitar bit (which I like!) but are also able to slow it down and produce quieter, dare I say it... ballads too. Currently they are supporting Thunder on their farewell tour and I hope this brings Logan to more people's notice because they are a band that deserves to become huge.
Available on eMusic
It is worth pointing out that both The Answer and Logan can be found on eMusic. (Declaration of interest. If you sign up for eMusic as a result of following this link, I get some extra free downloads but I would highly recommend this site anyway as a great source of cheap, legal, music for download.) My suggestion would be to try Everyday Demons from The Answer but to beg, buy or borrow a copy of Cruel Little World by Logan. I've given the album five stars on my iPod and the track, When I Get Down, is outstandingly good. Check them out and let me know what you think.
Where do I start?
With over a thousand tracks to choose from, my problem is where to go next! Do you recognise any of the other names? Who else should I listen to/download?