CNET's <A HREF="http://www.music.download.com" TARGET="new">Download.com</A> has opened its doors to independent music artists seeking a free platform to upload their songs and make them available to

CNET's Download.com has opened its doors to independent music artists seeking a free platform to upload their songs and make them available to the general public.

"While commercial music services have proliferated, we are the first large-scale provider to offer free music downloads in a discovery-focused environment, saving music fans valuable time in finding tunes that match their tastes," says Scott Arpajian, senior VP of CNET Download.com, in a statement. "Our goal is to provide music fans free digital fuel for their devices, and exposure to original artists."

The San Francisco-based interactive content company began building its music database last month. The site is launching with a basic functionality that allows users to browse, download and listen to music. During the coming year, the site will add community, discovery and technology features. User feedback will be integral to the development process.

"Many smaller artists are not able to afford the cost of serving files to audiences," says Arpajian. "CNET's economies of scale make hosting of music something we can afford."

The free, legal songs are available in the MP3 format and can be synched with portable devices. This launch is separate from CNET Networks' upcoming bow of the all-new MP3.com site, set for later this year.