Update early 2007: Relaunched as Dogmazic.net. The site design and features may be quite different from this original write-up.
Musique-libre.org is a portal and community for free music downloads and artist information. All music is published by community members using various copyleft licenses which means the tracks can be downloaded and shared legally. Free membership offers a range of community features designed to facilitate music discovery, promotion and distribution. The site has four main areas: Reception – Music – News – Forums.
The music area provides focus spots for member bands and independent record labels. There’s always fresh content available and lots of tracks that can be played directly from the page. 5 random artists and the latest 5 registered voters from the community are shown each time the main music page loads. This combination is a good way of presenting new music to listeners and helps artists gain exposure for their material.
Archived music data is found by selecting from four drop down menus for; Groups, Styles, Labels, and Licenses. There is a high level of related information displayed at every stage of navigation along with streaming audio feeds which makes music discovery a breeze. Most audio files are in either MP3 or OGG format.
Various types of copyleft licenses are welcomed and used for music publishing. There’s a comparison table of licenses and it’s worth mentioning Creative Commons as CC licenses are kept up to date. All tracks display the type of license used and the site is particularly useful for podcasters looking for sources of podsafe music.
Easily accessible tools allow quick publishing of links to websites and audio files which can be supported by text comments. Members currently online are visible at any point during navigation and can be sent a message simply by clicking on a username. There’s an in/outbox for individual account messages that allows tracking of communications over time.
The site search engine has some powerful filter combinations that lets users find data in specific areas of the community database.
The RSS – external info link lets you select and read related music news feeds (English and French).
Language – Parlez-Vous Français?
This is a French site and therefore predominantly written in that language. However, the homepage has an English option via the flag icon at the top of the page and many of the important functional features such as navigating and data entry are either in English or intuitively usable. This is where the Forum and messaging system come in handy. There’s already an English language section in the Forum for people to exchange thoughts. As people of other nationalities join the community the site and its information will become increasingly accessible to a more diverse population. If you need a translator try a service like Babel Fish or Dictionary.com/translator which are good for pasting short chunks of text.
Individual group pages and record labels all have streaming music playlists and podcasts. Here are the two main site feeds:
Last 10 Titles: http://www.musique-libre.org/podcast.php?q=last
10 titles randomly: http://www.musique-libre.org/podcast.php?q=random
Musique-libre.org offers a good opportunity for artists to distribute music to an audience otherwise hard to reach. Music podcasters will find the combination of clear licensing information and music streaming very useful when looking for show material. The site is well designed and makes it easy to discover music at every stage of navigation. Overall it represents a valuable resource in the open source/free music community for both listeners and content providers.
Tag Meta-search: http://copyleft-music.gada.be/