Frequently Asked Questions

What is Freegal?

Freegal is a downloadable music service from your library. All you need is your library card number. With access to the Sony Music Entertainment catalog, it offers hundreds of thousands of songs, over 100 genres of music, and more than 50 record labels, all without having to download software or have any digital rights management (DRM) issues to deal with. Access to Freegal is limited to patrons of subscribing libraries. Each library card is allowed 3 song downloads per week, and the files don't expire or disappear.

How much music is on Freegal Music's website?

It changes daily. But it's safe to say that there are thousands of artists, tens of thousands of albums, and hundreds of thousands of songs. The Freegal Music website has over 100 genres of music and is rich in many of them. The content is based upon an agreement with Sony Music Entertainment, owner of many different music labels. You can read more about Sony and its artists at

How does Freegal Music work?

A download usage counter is located in the upper right corner of displaying your weekly allotment. For instance, 1/3 means that you have a weekly limit of 3 downloads, and you have used 1 of those downloads. The download counter resets each Monday at 12:01 AM EST.

The site is set up to browse or search for your favorite music or artist. You can use the navigation at the top of the page to browse by keyword, artist, or album; or you can simply use the advanced search page. Freegal Music also offers a collection of Top Download lists on the homepage where users can browse a variety of music selections.

Are the songs really free?

Freegal Music and the music you download are free in the sense that most things in your library are free to you as a patron of the library. The service is underwritten by your local library.

Why are there limits on the amount of downloads I can make? What does "limit exceeded" mean?

The limit is set so that a maximum number of patrons may have equal access to the songs in the Freegal Music Service. The "limit exceeded" appears when you have used all of your downloads for the week.

Where did you get the name Freegal? (Rhymes with "legal")

It's a word used by Library Ideas, the company who developed Freegal Music. It means "free and legal" music.

Who is Library Ideas LLC?

Library Ideas is a privately held company based in Fairfax, Virginia that offers services and products to the educational markets. Besides Freegal Music, Library Ideas offers movies on USB, an online language learning product and online games.


All things mobile: iPod/iPad how-to, apps, and devices:

The proliferation of smart phone and tablet devices has resulted in many questions of "compatibility" with the Freegal Music Service. The Freegal Music Service downloads MP3 files, which are basic sound files that the vast majority of devices can play. Since there is no DRM (Digital Rights Management) software on downloaded Freegal files, the question is not one of compatibility but rather, "what's the best way to get Freegal files on my device?"

In general, just about every device will accept a transfer from a computer or laptop using our service, including PCs, Macs and Linux-based computers. Many patrons will find this to be the most satisfying experience, because then your files sit on your computer, the "home base" if you will, and you can transfer your files to an unlimited amount of devices, or burn music to a CD.

Devices like BlackBerrys and Android phones will not have a technical problem accessing the Freegal site and directly downloading files. Since the Freegal site is not optimized for these devices, it may be challenging to navigate a large site on a small screen.

Tablets like the Samsung Galaxy and the Motorola Xoom and dozens of others navigate the Freegal site easily like a PC, and will have no problems downloading and storing files. Freegal is a very satisfying experience with these two tablets, and others.

Apple, the manufacturer of the iPhone and the iPad, has created these devices without the ability to download music directly, unless going through the iTunes store or using an approved application. To get music on the iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad, we recommend the following procedure:

Download Freegal files to your computer desktop by doing the following:

Press "Download Now"

Press "Save"

Direct download to desktop

Next import the file into iTunes, by opening iTunes and then dragging the file from the desktop to the open application. The next time you synch your device, the Freegal file will be both on the "home base" computer and the mobile device.

Freegal does not currently have its own app, but it is something we are considering. The primary advantages of an app for this service would be easy navigation from a small screen and direct downloading where it doesn't already exist. The drawback to an app is the downloaded music then resides within the app. Let's say for instance you had an iPad app which stored your Freegal music. What happens if you want to go jogging? You will be lugging your tablet with you on that jog. However, if you stored your Freegal music on your "home base" computer, you could have your Freegal music wherever you wanted it.

All that said, we are considering a Freegal app. There are several apps in the Apple App Store which apparently download and manage Freegal files, and seem to work well. One such App is the "Downloads-Download Manager" published by Hian Zin Jong for $1.99. Library Ideas and Freegal Music are not endorsing or vouching for this app as we have not thoroughly tested it.

How do I search for a song or artist?

Freegal Music is set up to browse, or to search for your favorite artists or songs. You can use the navigation across the top of the page to browse by genre and news articles, or use our quick search tool on the home page. Searching by keyword at the top of the website allows you to search by artist name or song title. Expanded search options are under advanced search.

How do I download a song?

When you've found a song you want, click on the "Download Now" link next to your chosen song. At the prompt, select "Save" and choose where you want to save the song. If you're not presented with a prompt, try right-clicking the link and choosing the option to save the link (i.e. Save Target As, Save Link As, or Download Linked File, etc.). This will let you choose where to save your song. (Note: Anytime you click on the "Download Now" link, even if you decide to cancel or play it, the download will count towards your weekly allotment.)

Can I download a whole album?

Songs are available on an individual basis only. You can choose, over time, to download all the songs on an album.

Why does the counter say I've downloaded 3 songs when I'm sure I haven't?

You may have started a download then changed your mind and canceled it. Once you click the "download now" button, it can't be reversed. It will count towards your download limit even if you cancel or choose "play" instead of "download." To avoid this, please use the song clips to ensure you are downloading a song you want in your music library. We cannot credit a download.

What is the song clip?

The song clip is a randomly chosen 30-second clip of a song, so you can decide whether or not you want to download it.

Is there a download manager to install on my computer?

No, Freegal Music utilizes the browser to download music, so there is no need to install anything on your computer. That's one of the benefits of the site.

How does the "Recent Downloads" functionality work?

In the Freegal Music navigation bar, you will see "Recent Downloads." Here you have the ability to re-download a previously downloaded song up to two more times within 2 weeks from the original download for reinstall purposes, in case your connection timed out. This re-download will not count against your download totals.

Is there Digital Rights Management (DRM) on these files?

No! Hooray! Finally. These files are downloaded as MP3 files which are compatible with any MP3 Player or device. You can transfer the music to any computer, MP3 player or even burn it to a CD. Copyright laws apply for all music downloaded.

How do I get the songs into iTunes?

The easiest thing to do is to download the files to your desktop or your music folder. Import the song into iTunes by either dragging the song into the window or importing it from the menu. Presto, the song is now added into your library with all album art! Next time you synch up, you will see that song in your music library.

How do I burn music to a CD?

Each computer system is different. You can use iTunes, Windows Media Player or a third party software like Roxio. Simply follow the instructions found in the software for burning your CD.

How do I get the songs into Windows Media Player?

If the song does not open directly into Windows Media Player, simply launch Windows Media Player then click and drag the song into the Windows Media Player window or simply Select: File - Import File. To select multiple songs Select: File - Import Folder. Select the file(s) you wish to add then click OK. The song will now appear in your Windows Media Player library.

I've downloaded a song, but can't find it on my computer:

The downloaded songs may be automatically stored in different places, depending on the operating system you are using, the type of browser you are using, and the way your computer is configured to handle mp3 files.

Here are some techniques that may help you locate the mp3 files you have downloaded to your computer:

  • There may be a folder on your computer called "Downloads" that contains the mp3 files you downloaded from Freegal.
  • There may be a folder on your computer called "Temporary Internet Files" that contains the mp3 files you downloaded from Freegal.
  • If you use the Firefox browser, check the settings in the Tools -> Options menu. The "General" tab shows the location that is used for saving downloaded files.
  • If your computer is set up to automatically open mp3 files in iTunes, let iTunes manage the file location for you. In order to keep the songs in iTunes after the initial download from Freegal, click the "Advanced" tab on the iTunes Edit -> Preferences menu, and check the box that says "Copy files to iTunes Media folder when adding to library".
  • Use your computer's Search capability to locate your files. For Mac computers, this is the "Spotlight" tool. On Windows PCs, look for the "Search programs and files" box when you click on the Windows Start button. A good way to search for your Freegal mp3 file is by typing in the artist's last name, or a distinctive word from the song title.
  • Note that when downloading a Freegal song on an iPad or iPhone, there is no easy way to save the mp3 file on your device. The recommended method is to download from Freegal to a computer and then transfer the mp3 file from the computer to your portable device.


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