Why do people download pirated content from the internet? Easy and free access to the latest movie, music album or TV show (e.g. Game of Thrones, which is the most pirated series globally), as well as the rising prices of premium software or best-selling books are some of the most cited reasons by illegal downloaders around the world.
However, over the last decade, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA), along with industry players of other countries, have initiated a crackdown on illegal downloading of content by tying up with internet service providers like Time Warner and ComCast, and copyright-enforcement authorities.
Moreover, fresh guidelines issued by the European Commission on September 28, 2017 that call for Google to monitor web usage by people and automatically block them from accessing pirated material is bound to make it more difficult to download stuff illegally.
So what do you do if you don’t want to subscribe to streaming content service providers, but still want to get your entertainment fix? Fret not, for there still are a plethora of websites through which you can legally download music and stream movies. We have shortlisted the 16 best ones below:
On Soundcloud, you can find almost any genre of music to stream from and there is also the option to download MP3 music files. This website has tied up with artist promotion services such as hypeddit.com and www.tuneboost.net so that you can also save music from new and upcoming artists.
Featuring more than 500,000 tracks from over 40,000 artists from around 150 countries, Jamendo is a music discovery website through which you can download songs for free, albeit for personal, non-commercial purpose. You can search for the music by genre (rock, blues, pop etc) or by instruments (piano, guitar, drums), and even by mood (melancholy, hopeful, inspirational etc). There is also an option to listen to online radio channel spanning a host of genres like rock, hip-hop, jazz, or you can let the site recommend new music artists for you.
Like Jamendo, Noisetrade also connects artists with their fans. Discover new artists by simply creating an account. You can also save entire albums absolutely free of cost. To show your appreciation, you can even donate a nominal amount. It is not necessary but it costs less than the price of a coffee.
Another music discovery website promoting indie artists and their music, PureVolume allows you to stream music and download specific MP3 files free of cost. The artists have the option to charge a fee for the downloads so you can also lend a support to upcoming talent.
FMA is a fantastic website that serves as a forum to bring together indie musicians, DJs, and people interested in discovering new artists and music. You can download all the songs for free and there is no need to even register for this. Users can also ‘tip’ the artists if they like their music by making a small donation to their PayPal account.
To get your fix of Western Classical music like Beethovenn, Bach, Mozart, Chopin and Strauss, Classic Cat and MusOpen are your go to options. More than thousand compositions from different orchestras are available on these websites. On Classic Cat, you can search and download different pieces by instrument, composer, and various techniques like concerto, fugue, canon, overture etc. On MusOpen, you can even download the original sheet music in pdf format, with an additional option of paying a subscription fee to download the HD version of the pieces.
Boasting a collection of more than 50,000 movies and TV shows, Tubi TV offers entertainment in over 20 categories, including comedies, horror, sci-fi, action etc. It has nearly 200 tie-ups with distribution houses like Lionsgate, MGM and Paramount Pictures. If you are not watching on PC, Android and iOS apps are available for mobile devices and viewing can also be done on OTT devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.
On Snag Films, you can select from over 10,000 titles (movies+ TV shows) with plot titles available for each. On the home page, you can see what movies are trending and which TV shows you can binge-watch. Alternatively, you can select your own preference genre-wise. Free Android and Ios apps are available and it works fine also on OTT devices.
If you want to watch some of the best short movies ever made for free, then head over to Short of the Week. Promoting some of the best new talent in movie-making, this website has a brilliant archive of some of the best movie content curated from the internet. Each title has a detailed note that gives info on the movie, its director and the basic premise.
This is similar to Short of the Week and provides enough content to satiate your entertainment buds. Streaming is done directly from websites like YouTube and the database is updated frequently, so that there is always something new to watch.
Fan of classic movies? Free Classic Movies has an exhaustive collection of copyright-free films from as far as back to 1896. A solo project by Jimbo Berkey, you will find various movies starring Charles Chaplin, Humphrey Bogart, Vincent Price, Greta Garbo, and Vivian Leigh. This should be definitely on your bookmarks.
There are many people who prefer content that is not only entertaining, but is educational and informative as well, like the scores of good documentaries released every year. Transport yourself into documentary utopia with the aforementioned websites, and browse through a catalogue covering different topics like archaeology, art, biographies, crime, history, nature, science, sports, and much more. These websites include a rating system also so that you can shortlist the titles that are actually worth your time.