NEW YORK (
) -- Free music still exists online, but it's about to get a little harder to find.
For months, music listeners have had their pick of free music on demand from
, a music streaming service that partners with the four major record labels to offer some 15 million songs, but that's about to change. When
in the U.S. in July, it offered users unlimited free streaming for the first six months in an effort to attract more customers. Now time is running out, meaning users will have to either pay at least $5 a month or be restricted to 10 hours of music a month.
|There are still plenty of Web sites where fans can stream and sometimes download music for no cost.
At the same time,
, another Web site with a vast amount of songs available to stream for free, could be forced to cut back its music selection. All four major record labels are
due to complaints over copyrights and royalties. It's possible that Grooveshark could somehow emerge from this unscathed, but anyone who watched the record labels go after other music sites in the past decade probably expects the worst.
Even if Grooveshark was forced to change its business model, there are still plenty of other Web sites music listeners can turn to for free music.
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may not offer unlimited free streaming anymore, but 10 hours of music each month will likely be enough for many casual listeners. The real downside, as anyone who uses Spotify knows, is that when you use the free version, the music is interrupted frequently by annoying advertisements.
music streaming service is very similar to Spotify's, with roughly 14 million songs available on demand and three pricing levels, but unlike Spotify there is no time limit for the free streaming plan. Instead, users can earn more free plays by sharing music choices with friends on MOG.
may not have as much free music as either Spotify or MOG, but every day it offers new songs and albums from big-name artists that users can download to their computers for free. Moreover, users can upload up to 20,000 of their own songs to Google Music for free to stream from any computer or mobile device. This way, you don't have to waste any of your allotted time on services such as Spotify listening to music you already have.