Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Continuing my look at sources for legal free music from the Intertubes, this week: two bands from Germany and one from NY –all courtesy of Jamendo claims to be the #1 online site for Creative Commons music. The service goes back to about 2005. The music they provide is available for download in mp3 and Ogg Vorbis formats, and they also stream music for continuous listening via various radio channels: Rock, Jazz, Pop, World, Classical, HipHop … Some of the tracks are professional and must be purchased, but most are free for the taking – even without registering. (More often than not, I back out when I find that I need to register/provide an email address. How about you?)

Wikipedia says that more than 45,000 albums – *not* individual tracks - had been uploaded as of 2011. The service is based out of Luxembourg. Considering EU laws and policies protecting people as well as businesses (no, a business is not a person), the TOS for Jamendo may have a more solid standing related to your rights to your music than some US-based services.

I am not aware of any policy the service employs towards vetting the input/user uploads. They do say they gather/vet the best for their radio channels, but even my random sampling of genres/files available for download has netted some quality music. My experience with the quality of the sounds from some other sites that offer free music has not been nearly as positive. If I had a business and needed continuous free, streamed music, I would seriously consider broadcasting their radio channels as ambience music throughout my store. (I see after I wrote this that they have a section labeled “background music for your shop or business!)

A small random sampling of downloads this week mostly focused on pop/rock to get you started:

Ella Blooma, a band out of Dresden, Germany, tells us on the MySpace page (they also have a Facebook) that their music is pop (“Ella Blooma machen Popmusik). The song is

Christopher Squier is an indie musician out of Buffalo, NY. The track from his EP “Flowers Beneath the Ashes” is on the list of most listened to tunes at Jamendo:

Trick Seventeen, another German band continuing my rock/pop focus this post, with a rocking number from their “We Own The Night” album called

Privacy notice: I have both MySpace and Facebook logins. As much as we have heard about the decline of MySpace, I have to admit that accessing band info via MySpace is a lot less painful/invasive than via Facebook . Many of these bands have accounts at both, but MySpace allows you to check them out without logging in to your account.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

SXSW 2012

SXSW is now on my “Bucket List”: it is 10,000 miles away from here and at a “bad” time of the year, so it will take some effort to get there. SXSW  stands for South by Southwest and it's an annual festival held in Austin, TX in the spring.
When I went digging for information, I was surprised to learn that SXSW was much older, better known and more established than I was aware. (This is a state of affairs that I run into more and more - seems it gets harder and harder to stay tuned in.) I learned that 2012 was the 26th SXSW. It is a week-long (longer now) media festival (primarily music and film) that has grown from an attendance of hundreds to tens of thousands over the years. I understand that the SXSW organizers have recently gravitated towards providing more offerings as well (more and more, digital media, of course) including an extension specifically dedicated to education (SXSWedu).
In my continuing search for free musical downloads, I was delighted to see that you can get free legal copies of some of the music recorded at SWSX. The copy of the music files I found/am aware of is at - this appears to be a sub-site of and was a link from the website. There are sub-sections of labeled "SXSW 2012 Free Songs" (online and available for other years as well - try a Google search for <SXSW Music download YEAR>). The site also has a "Free MP3 of the Day" section.
Being somewhat skeptical about TOS for media files, I tried to drill down a bit deeper: under what conditions can I (you) use them? Typical of online resources, the best info I could find says [... you can download some content but don't exceed the rights granted to you.. unless you are authorized ... ]  Nowhere does it say yea. Nowhere does it say nay. But of course, it does say that they can change the rules when they see fit – it’s kind of hard to begrudge them when it is a freebie. Since I am going to provide you with a link to the larger zipped files that contain the music, let's assume we're "free and legal". However, to spare you the extra hassle of downloading their large files (100MB), extracting the individual files, and searching for something you like, I have unzipped and am posting a very limited selection of my choosing this week. Do go get the full zipped files if you like. Actually, if you like it, head to the bands' websites and buy a song or an album or two. That's what it's all about.
I know from previous forays online that several of the bands are amenable/glad to have other folks spread the word, sharing their music-at least for some of their work. You can visit the official websites for this week's choices below, where they provide download options for some of their tunes.
there is so much available ere and my selections here are so limited that I will aim to return with another selected collection at a later date. If you proceed on your own, most of what you’ll get if you download the full set is going to be worth your time.
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah [ Statues] [Website]
Jennifer O’Connor [Here With Me] [Website]
William Elliott Whitmore [Hope For You] [Website] - [also see SMM]

Thursday, June 14, 2012


I recently ran across a piece at that I had missed when it came out. The news was that IUMA was back. That prompted me to go digging through my CD/DVD archives. What I found was two CDs dated 2002. (As a result, I now know that CDs last at least 10 years as an archive media.)

IUMA was an early musicians’ website that offered unsigned musicians a route to making their music available to a wider audience. The IUMA acronym is the short form of Internet Underground Music Archive and it began in  ‘93. The Wired article said that  IUMA had gone through several owners but had ended up – most recently – at Excellent news! As you should/may well know, media at is either Public Domain or Creative Commons.

Back in ’02, I had collected and backed up my IUMA files because I thought  they were good. If you take a look at the “browse” option at’s IUMA section, you’ll see that the collection  includes some off-the-wall band names – you’d be right to think twice before digging deeper: Pulled Groin, Gear Box Enterainment (sic), Pukey and the Vomets – the names themselves are astounding, and there are many 100s of them.

In the “Browse” listing, you’ll see only a single (1) for most bands, but if you proceed, you’ll see that most bands’ links include more than one song. Some bands’ archives extend to 100s of MB of mp3s. I haven’t been through them all, so my posting here is based on my CD archives (and I checked: most of them are among those that have been transferred from IUMA to The collection is so large/extensive, that I will sort/select and comment more at a later date.

Because my own musical tastes are eclectic, the selection I highlight here is also “mixed”. I think you’ll find it worth your time. I will confess before you proceed, that my “bent” at that time appears to have been more country/folk than my overall taste leans to.
Bruce Adams: My Heart Is Like The Sun (appears to not be online at yet).
Andy Rau Band: The Jackson County
Bob Irwin Jazz Guitar: Desafinado
Hair of the Dog: The Old Black Rum
Again these are all from my 2002 archived CDs and with the exception of the Bruce Adams file, are all still online @ archive/IUMA

Friday, June 8, 2012

The Next Assignment - Heroes

About a month ago I said that I would be back with an update to my "Creative Arts" student music clips. It took us a month to get here because the students were working on several different kinds of medias all related to the topic of "Heroes".

We/They used Pivot (the free stick figure animation program) to create gif animations of heroes (soccer players, flying superheroes, etc). They used Microsoft's free PhotoStory  to create hero collage movies (if you already own their software, it's free).

And for the project files showcased here, they/we use Audacity (also free) - with which I chopped up the original,mp3 sound tracks into pieces which the students used to create MTV-style video clips that I later re-combined in Movie Maker.

Two of the files below come from SoundCloud and they are among the many files there that are available for download. The other comes from

Note that these are all wmv video files, not mp3 audio.

The Hero offerings are:

We Dont Need Another Hero/Tina Turner (Sarah May Lin)

Be Your Hero/Iglesias (Michelle Anderson)

Time Loves a Hero/Little Feat (Live)