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Thursday, 29 July 2010

Free online mp3 hosting...

So you've written your magnum opus.  You've spent a long time recording it, mastering it, sweating over how it sounds and now you need to get it out there on the web.  You can either purchase some webspace and build your own webspace or use one of the many free mp3 hosting or distribution services.

Why host on a third party website and not your own space?    The main advantages are:
  • Free - you don't have to pay hosting charges to an external company.
  • Bandwidth - 1000 downloads won't impact on your own bandwidth keeping those costs low.
  • Website integration - usually the hosting companies have some way for people to embed you songs on their website.
  • Social networking - some of the sites such as soundcloud are integrated social networking sites in themselves allowing listeners to rate, download or connect with artists directly through the site.  You can mass mail followers and allow people to comment - enhancing your social currency.
here are some of the options currently available:


Once the king of social networking, Myspace is now a defunct entity.  It's slow loading, bloated, looks incredibly dated, full of advertising and hard to configue.  The sound quality (including downloads) is bad an you can't embed any songs outside of the network.

At it's height Myspace had 100 million users.  As of June 2010 it has 66 million.  Still - that's 66 million potential listeners so can't be discounted.    On top of that Myspace also has a music distribution mp3 sales platform that you can buy into - sadly having an account is not a prequisite - you would need to use a third party distribution company such as Zimbala.

There is no rating system, statistics tracking (beyond plays) or commenting system on Myspace.


A dedicated music social networking site.  Comes in two flavours free and paid for.  The free version limits the number of tracks you can upload (limited to 3 hours in total) and restricts downloads to 100 per track.  On top of that certain additional tracking functions (such as access to who listens to your tracks) are restricted or only available in the paid for flavour.

You can link directly from tracks to places where listeners can buy your tracks and embed mp3's on third party websites.  There's also facebook integration.

The paid for flavours start at 29 Euos per year and go up to 500 for a professional unlimited account.

The restrictions on downloads aren't necessarily a burder however as some of the dubstep forum members have found out - trading comments for downloads.  With the favoriting system it also has a rating system.


Similar to Soundcloud, except without some of the social networking or connection options. 

Currently free, although they are working on a paid for Pro option which is in Beta testing.  This includes some advanced branding options the details of which haven't yet been made public. 


A great hosting solution.  Includes a great range of quality options including free email capture, the ability to collect money or create a radiohead "in rainbows" style of opting to pay what you like for a dowload.  n return Bandcamp collect a % of you revenue, and provide a free centralised hub with some advanced tracking options and an easy graphically attractive website.

You can embed mp3 players on exterior websites.  Unfortunately there is no social networking ability like in Soundcloud.

By offering Flac and high quality 320kbps mp3 downloads their quality is by far the best.

Reverb Nation:

Reverb nation is like a cross between Bandcamp and (in the paid for pro option) a distribution company like Zimbala.  They provide the space, the hosting, some social networking tools and the ability to distribute through third parties like iTunes.

Torrents - Mininova

Once (and maybe still) the scourge of the music industry.  Through sites like Mininova probably still one of the quickest ways to reach people fast. A good way to get to lots of listeners quickly but without anything in return (arguably if you're tracks are good enough people will hunt you down).  Mininova links can be passed to other sites such as Pirate Bay, Rlslog and the other torrent engines. 

If you're using torrent engines then it's important to include links to other areas where people can download other tracks or sign up for updates.


We've preseneted here a selection of the free hosting services available.  So which one should i go for?  Well, in theory all of them.  They're free they each have their pros and cons - you certainly don't lose anything by having a web presence in each of those. However one thing that should be noted is that, particularly in those that have a social networking element like Myspace or Soundcloud that you will get the best out of them by being part of the community - engaging listeners and offering reward incentives for repeat visits such as the comments for downloads scheme adopted by users of the Dubstep forum.

It's also worth noting that it's wise to keep one as the main account for external contact.  Having too many links on a centralised website can confuse or put off potential listeners.  By all means have a web presence in each but choose one as your main account and use that for all your twitter / facebook integration.

By Jez with No comments


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