When you’re looking for ways to trim your budget, every penny counts and although the subscription fees for your favourite media services may seem like small monthly costs, they can quickly add up over the course of the year. But if you cut Netflix & Spotify from your life then what on earth are you supposed to do with your time?! Why not take a look at some free (and legal!) alternatives? They might not offer the same level of choice, but you could be surprised by the hidden gems that you find when exploring free sites.
Archive.org comes top of the list because it’s a great all-rounder, featuring free books and audio as well as feature-length movies. This content is free because it exists in the public domain – meaning that no intellectual property rights apply. You won’t find any modern blockbusters here, but there are some excellent older movies including classic horror flick Night of the Living Dead.
On the audio side, you’ll find audiobook recordings for dozens of classic novels making that Audible subscription obsolete, as well as all the Grateful Dead you might need and a whole bunch of radio shows.
Popcornflix is a free and legal movie streaming site with a surprisingly good collection of films to keep you satisfied for at least a few months. Browse different genres or use their ‘discover’ feature to get recommendations from the catalogue. Access to this site is region specific.
When the copyright on an American book expires, the volunteers at Project Gutenberg add it to this digital library which now boasts over 59,000 free and legal titles. And, although American books are the focus. they also have copyright free texts from around the world in a range of different languages. If you’re not sure where to start then you can visit their top 100 to read classics like Pride and Prejudice, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and the Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
If you’re not checking out BBC iPlayer’s selection of films every few weeks then you’re missing a trick. The BBC regularly update their online collection with films that have been aired recently, meaning that you can stream both classic movies and modern hits totally free. At the time of writing, the films available included Philomena, Spotlight, It Follows and several Wallace and Gromit titles.
You do need a TV licence in order to watch BBC iPlayer legally, but if you already have one to cover your live TV viewing habits, then this is available at no extra cost.
Streaming services like Spotify often offer a free package that gives access to the same music database, with the only catch being that you have to listen to adverts. This is a great option, but if you’re interested in finding a service that offers something a little different then we recommend checking out SoundCloud. Although not all of SoundCloud’s music is free, the majority is – and you can listen to up-and-coming artists and support your favourite independent groups.