I have just downloaded music by hundreds of bands using file-sharing software. The bands won't get a penny but I don't care. Because I used a legal torrent by the South by Southwest Festival. (Did you see what I did there?)
The South by Southwest Festival (SXSW) is an annual showcase where musicians from all over the world gather in Austin, Texas. I'm still working my way through the songs but I haven't heard a duff track yet. I began to wonder if I was losing my ability to discern good music but the bands chosen for the showcase are chosen from about 8,000 who apply, so they're going to be of a certain standard.
This eclectic electric collection is like the ultimate sampler CD and features over 700 bands (about half of the acts who attended) and is ideal for just shoving on your mp3 player and just making a note of the artists you want to investigate further.
The torrent is about 3gb and is on the Toolbox page on the right hand column or use this direct link to launch your BitTorrent software. If you don't have one, I recommend the ones linked below.
If you don't want to use file sharing software then the bands are streamed on the SXSW website in the Player v.07, where you get some details of the artist and a link to their homepage.
Having heard about a third of the songs, I want to hear them again immediately and yet, at the same time, I can't wait to hear the rest.