For better or worse, the age of the record store is coming to a close. Tapes are long dead and CDs are on their way out. Vinyl records are still available as collector's items, but digital distribution is king.
Even though digital has no physical copy, the price is still about the same. That's why far too many people have taken to illegally pirating music.
That's something you should never do. Not only is it flat-out stealing, but it could land you in big trouble. RIAA lawsuits have forced pirates - even unintentional ones - to pay millions of dollars.
If you want free music, you should just try out these great resources. Each one is 100 percent free and packed with tons of tunes.
Freegal - You probably already knew your local public library stocks CDs for loan. Many of them are adding digital music as well. In partnership with Sony, your public library may now offer a service called Freegal. It has an extensive music catalog you can download from your home.
You'll need a library card and PIN to access the site. There's also a weekly download limit, so you can't go completely berserk. But it's a great way to discover new artists or find that track you love.
Amazon Music - Amazon's MP3 marketplace needs no introduction. It carries a staggering number of artists in nearly every genre.