DidYaKnow? – Download Cirque Music – Free (Legally!)

For the Cirque music fan who might like to sample tracks from albums you don’t already own, there aren’t many legal options. Sure, there are 30-second song samples out there, and the occasional downloadable free track, but not much else.

But now, for those lucky enough to be members of a participating public library system, there is www.freegalmusic.com!

Freegal is a service that sells standard MP3 downloads from the Sony music catalog to library systems, who make them available to their patrons for free. (Your tax dollars at work!)

We couldn’t find a complete listing of all the libraries participating, but a partial list includes:

o) Birmingham, AL
o) Scottsdale, AZ
o) San Jose, CA
o) Santa Clara, CA
o) Douglas County, CO
o) Orange County, FL
o) Louisiana Libraries, LA
o) Saint Paul, MN
o) Princeton, NJ
o) Las Vegas, NV
o) New York, NY
o) Multnomah, OR
o) Nashville, TN
o) Seattle, WA
o) Eau Claire, WI

There are likely a multitude of others – check with your local library.

Once you have a library card from a participating library you use your library card number and pin code to log onto the Freegal site at www.freegalmusic.com. There you can access literally hundreds of thousands of songs from hundreds of artists. The catch is you can only download a small number (usually 3) per Monday-Sunday calendar week.

The site has some peculiarities. It is sorted by first name, so Cirque du Soleil is under “C”, as is Charlie Daniels, Carlos Santana and Crystal Bowersox. And for some mysterious reason the tracks can be listed quite out of order (not in track or alphabetical order). Some CD’s are also listed more than once.

That doesn’t mean there are no current hit tracks though. A “Top 10” list on the main page shows the top tracks being downloads from the TV show “GLEE.” The new soul singer Adele is also high on the list. The listings include artists from around the world, old and new, of all musical genres. Truly something for everyone!

What Cirque du Soleil albums does Freegal have on offer? Virtually all of them! Nearly all of the Cirque canon is available here, from the “second edition” of the first Cirque du Soleil album, through to Zaia and Zed. The collections are here as well, including Collection, Solarium/Delirium (which also has the Ian Pooley remix of “Lubia Dobarstan” also available on iTunes) , Le Best of, and 25. Also available are the variations, such as Mystere Studio and Live in Las Vegas, and both versions of the Saltimbanco CD. It even has the Journey of Man soundtrack.

There are a couple of notable omissions. The service doesn’t include the first CDS CD (before they signed with RCA and rerecorded it). There was no CD of Totem when we looked. No Beatles Love or Viva Elvis. And their version of Alegria strangely only includes three tracks, “Alegria,” “Vai Verdrai,” and “Querer” – the rest of the CD is missing.

The downloads are 256KBS, perfect for most uses, and have no digital rights management applied so they can be copied or transferred on a whim.

If you’re within a participating library system, can work with the weekly download limit, and are patient enough to download a tiny amount of tracks each week, over time you could have quite the collection.

A great way to sample the breadth of Cirque music, a little bit at a time, for free. And legally to boot!