Every so often, I filter Amazon.com's MP3 album downloads by price: "low to high". This tends to throw so much gratis music at me I don't know what to download first.
How many people know Amazon has free, promotional music up for grabs? I tripped across this fact, myself, while browsing the site mindlessly. Browsing Amazon mindlessly can be dangerous if you have any kind of money on hand... and it can be depressing if you don't have money on hand. All the more reason to know about the free MP3 albums.
The very first Amazon album I downloaded for nothing was a compilation from the World Music Network. Unfamiliar with world labels beyond the gentle Putumayo, World Music Network's energetic beats and genius vocalists made me hunger for more of that international vibe- that lively "screw you" to the globalized standard for pop and rock. Amazon had no shortage of world music from labels various. Bollywood bounce, Turkish dance, Celtic harmonies.
Indie tracks are also well represented in Amazon's free bin. Freshly downloaded today: Paper Bag Records Fall '09 sampler. Now this is an album. From the Outkast-flavored "That Girl" by Two Fingers to the pretty, synth-heavy melody of Sally Shapiro's "Miracle", there's something for every taste and interest. The last track in the set is especially stand out- as he sings "Young Hussies", Slim Twig's lead vocalist sounds like he's channeling Foetus a.k.a. JG Thirlwell. Impressive, considering Thirlwell isn't dead yet.
Amazon's free downloads are a category you want to peruse often; many albums are available at no cost for only a limited time. Naturally. So if you even halfway like what you hear in the 30-second samples, download the whole thing. If you decide the album's not a keeper, you can always delete it later. (And yeah, some of the albums aren't even worth the price of nothing. The biggest waste of space in my hard drive, beyond a doubt, is Music of Croatia. I sincerely hope that Croatians get to listen to better stuff than that on their radios.)
I was in no way paid by Amazon.com to write this. I doubt they even know I'm alive. :P