More free music than you can shake a stick at

… and I’m really good at shaking sticks at free music.


If you have an Xbox Music subscription make sure you install the Music Deals app. Back in November Microsoft released 100 albums for free, and now for December they’ve released another 50 free albums. There is a catch, of course: you need to have an Xbox Music subscription* (… or not, see note at end). Since the subscription is only $10 you may want to subscribe just to download the albums… you can always cancel right after.


Now you’re likely thinking: “it’s probably just a bunch of crappy old music, only available for Microsoft devices and with obnoxious rights-management handcuffs.” That’s what I thought, and I was wrong.

The albums aren’t DRM-crippled and they’re not 96kbps samples…  they’re 320kbps MP3 files and MSFT has released apps for iOS and Android. Another great thing is there’s lots of great music from a good selection of genres. Most people’s musical tastes should be covered. Since my taste is fairly indiscriminate I made out like a bandit – 65 free albums and counting!

Here’s a selection of albums available in the current free 50:

  • Night Visions – Imagine Dragons
  • Bad Blood – Bastille
  • The Fame Monster – Lady Gaga
  • You’ve Come  A Long Way Baby – Fatboy Slim
  • Songs In The Key Of Life – Stevie Wonder
  • Exodus – Bob Marley & The Wailers
  • To The Sea – Jack Johnson
  • All That You Can’t Leave Behind – U2
  • Tron: Legacy – Daft Punk
  • The Lateness Of the Hour – Alex Clare
  • Anthology: The Sounds Of Science – Beastie Boys
  • Love On The Inside – Sugarland

There is an expiration date on this deal, however… the first 100 albums are already gone and the latest 50 will expire in a little over a week.

* A note on the subscription requirement: after I posted this my friend Jonathan commented on Facebook:

I don’t have an XBox Music subscription and still could download these. I think you just need an MS account. Hurray for free music 🙂

Leave a comment below if you’re able to download the music without a music subscription.



Mashuptown – more mash-up music than you can shake a stick at


A couple years ago I got hooked on music mash-ups when a coworker pointed me to the work of Party Ben, a DJ who, until recently, had a mash-up show on San Francisco’s alternative station Live 105.  Since then I’ve been hooked.

What’s a mash-up?
Music mash-ups are the result of a DJ taking two different songs and mixing them together into a hybrid of the two, sometimes with fantastic results.  It’s a little like sampling (taking a riff from one song and making a new song around it).  Some of the results are total crap… but sometimes one can find some real gems.

Why do I enjoy mash-ups so much? 
Well… I listen to music a lot and find I get sick of what’s on the radio and what I have in my own collection.  Mash-ups are a fun way to listen to music I already like and make it fresh again.

Where can you find mash-ups?
A quick search will net you all sorts of stuff but you can save yourself a lot of legwork by simply going to Mashuptown, a mash-up review blog which picks out great tracks almost daily. Mashuptown will point you to the sites of some great DJs where you can find more great tracks on your own.  Another good place to start is on the mixes page of Party Ben’s site.  Party Ben has a collection of tracks all crammed into a single file, as if you were listening to a long set at a club.