We librarians like to emphasize the databases we pay for because they’re substantial resources. But, we also use free databases all the time.
One of the things you’re learning when you’re doing research is how to evaluate information sources. You may not have access to all the databases we pay for when you leave UT, but you’ll need to get high-quality information from somewhere. With any luck one of the habits of mind you acquire while researching various topics will be how to tell good information resources from mediocre information resources.
With that said, one of the free databases I use frequently when doing music research is Allmusic.com.
I recently needed to know more about Shel Silverstein. You may know him as the author of The Giving Tree, or Where the Sidewalk Ends, but he was also a prolific song writer. At Allmusic.com I got a list of all the songs he wrote, albums he recorded, awards he won, as well as a brief bio. I was also able to find a list of everyone who has covered Shel Silverstein songs (“25 Minutes to Go,” about a man’s final minutes before execution, has been covered by artists as diverse as Johnny Cash, Diamanda Galas, and Jon Langford & the Pine Valley Cosmonauts, for example.)
Where do you look for music information online?