In open source software, the makers and general caretakers of the movement have left a long trail of articles and blog posts, describing many times the different facets of “free” and “open”.
A common rhetoric thrown about is whether the thing at hand is free “as in beer”, or free “as in speech”. I found this nice distinction explained using the words gratis vs libre. In software there is a large gap between the two: Can you only download and run the application, or can you also legally download the source, change it to your liking, and build or even share the changed end result?
One site making use of it, that was recommended to me years ago, which I only now fully started to appreciate, is the Free Music Archive: I keep listening and listening to Tha Silent Partner‘s music. He writes on his twitter page “I make beats(as Tha Silent Partner) and live my life”, so, following that thought, I’m a bit sad that all his music that I checked on FMA is licensed as NonCommercial-NoDerivatives, meaning you can listen to and play it, while you don’t make any money, but you may not, well, sample it for something else. Isn’t it counter-productive to make beats but not let people use them in their songs? I must ask him, maybe he’ll reply; maybe there’s some sense in it that I haven’t seen.
Back to samples, one site that I found more recently, which isn’t centered around free music, but actually free pre-produced samples, is the Converse Sample Library. The awesome part about it is that it’s nearly no-strings attached, you can browse the library, download samples, make your music and sell it as you wish. Hurrah!