Free Music Archive (FMA), founded in 2009 by radio station WFMU, offers free access to open licensed, original music. Historically, radio has always offered the public free access to new music. So with the help of curators, netlabels and thousands of independent musicians around the world FMA became a continuation of that purpose. Tens of millions of visitors every month download music for personal use and many share and remix music from FMA in videos, podcasts, films, games, apps and even school projects.
Every MP3 you discover on Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era. These uses vary and are determined by the rights-holders themselves (please see our FAQ) who feel that allowing a degree of free cultural access is beneficial not only to their own pursuits, but to our society as a whole. Free Music Archive is a resource for audiophiles of all stripes, and unlike other websites, all of the audio has been hand-picked by one of our established audio curators.
Free Music Archive is a platform for collaboration between curators and artists, including radio stations, netlabels, venues, artist collectives, museums, music festivals and more. The platform combines the curatorial approach that these organizations have played for the last few decades, with the community-generated approach of many current online music sites.
Inspired by Creative Commons and the open-source software movement, FMA provides a legal and technological framework for curators, artists, and listeners to harness the potential of music sharing. Every artist page will have a bio and links to the artists’ home page for users to learn more about the music they discover via Free Music Archive. We also seek to compensate artists directly where possible. Artist, album and song profiles may contain links to buy the full album from the artist and/or label’s preferred vendor(s). Users can also “tip” an artist if they like what they hear, sending a donation directly to the artists’ PayPal account. FMA is also experimenting with “web monetization” tools.
While Free Music Archive is free and open to anyone regardless of registration or other requirements, written and audio content is curated, and permission to upload/edit content is granted on an invitation basis.
In September 2019, Free Music Archive was acquired by Tribe of Noise, a music platform and licensing company with many common features, facilitating a community of more than 34,000 independent artists across 190+ countries. Both FMA and Tribe of Noise support free to access, Creative Commons licensed, music and offer independent creators a variety of (revenue) opportunities.