First published on the OrSaveIt blog (http://orsaveit.com/blog/120-5-legitimate-steps-to-getting-free-music):
Festival season is upon us, Daft Punk have just released the ultimate summer hit, and everyone from Kanye West to MGMT, Franz Ferdinand to Wu-Tang Clan have exciting new albums due out soon.
But how to enjoy this veritable feast of music without breaking the bank? Here’s OrSaveIt’s top five tips for enjoying music on the cheap.
Sign up to music streaming sites
The internet is responsible for many wonderful things – from aiding democratic rebellions in the Arab Spring to the Nick Clegg Looking Sad Tumblr. But one of the greatest things the internet has given us is so much readily-available free music.
You can sign up to both Spotify and SoundCloud are free, and, for those who object to having their music interrupted by an advert every few songs, Spotify offers an advert-free premium account which also gives you access to the database offline and on your mobile phone for the actually-quite-reasonable £9.99 a month. Spotify has an enormous collection of music, past and present, ready to stream, whilst SoundCloud is especially good for seeking out new tracks, remixes and live recordings. See also: last.fm and The Hype Machine.
Enter lots of competitions
Long gone are the days when one could stroll on down to Hyde Park and watch The Rolling Stones for free. No, if you want to catch The Stones at Glastonbury this year, get ready to part with a hefty amount of money, especially with tickets sold out – and no-one likes handing their money over to an opportunistic tout charging above ticket-price on eBay. But there is an alternative – check music magazines and websites for competitions for festival tickets, of which there are plenty. With Glastonbury early on in the festival calendar, those of us unlucky enough to have missed out on tickets might have to be content with highlights on the BBC, but there are plenty of competitions for festivals later on in the summer, such as Latitude and Leeds/Reading.
Volunteer at festivals
The easiest way to get into a festival for free is to volunteer. Granted, it means you’ll have to spend some of your time there working behind a bar, directing traffic, or some other such role, but it’ll seem worth it when you get to spend your spare time watching your favourite bands for free. Check out websites like Festival Volunteer, Hotbox Events and vInspired for the best gigs.
If you’re a student looking for something to do over the hols, Studentbeans.com has a complete guide to becoming a festival volunteer.
Perform or write about music yourself
If the Sex Pistols taught us anything, it’s that the best way to engage with music when you’re young and broke is to start your own band and show the established chart-botherers that you don’t need to be a millionaire to write a decent tune.
Start a band, get yourself some support slots and not only will you get into gigs for free, you might even end up being the next Beatles …perhaps. Alternatively, find websites that need music writers – a lot will offer free albums and gig tickets to those who write reviews.
Connect with your favourite bands online
Your grandma probably remembers being a member of the Beatles’ fan club, thrilling at a postcard ostensibly from John and Paul every couple of months.
In 2013, connecting with your favourite band is a lot easier. Like band pages on Facebook, follow them on Twitter, sign up to their YouTube accounts and check out their websites.
When Arctic Monkeys released R U Mine? last year they put it up on YouTube and left their fans to spread the word.
When The Stone Roses announced a free reunion gig last year, it was via their website. When Azealia Banks released her Fantasea mixtape, it was through Twitter. Social media has innovated the way artists can release music, often for free, so take advantage of it!
Follow these tips and you’ll be set for a summer filled with music, without going bankrupt in the process. See you down the front!