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Free audio goodies: Christmas music, Sherlock Holmes, and more!

Dozens of free Christmas tunes, one free audiobook, and an album's worth of the best new artists of 2011.

X5 Music

Cloud, schmoud. I like my music the old-fashioned way: in MP3 format, stored on my hard drive and/or smartphone. Especially when it's free.

Today I've rounded up four great audio freebies, including some Christmas music, a best-of-2011 collection, and even a Sherlock Holmes collection. Take a look:

Audible, one of my favorite sources for spoken-word audio, is offering The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, unabridged, for free. (Okay, technically this isn't an MP3, but still.) This nine-hour collection includes 12 of Holmes' "most famous cases." You do need an Audible account to get this (and you can use your Amazon account to create one), but you don't need to have an active subscription or anything like that.

Speaking of Amazon, the site is home to a whopping 72 free Christmas songs, all in MP3 format, all ready for download (though you have to grab each individually, a definite hassle). You'll find everything here from Bing Crosby to Twisted Sister. (Nothing says Christmas like a head-banging rendition of "Deck the Halls.")

While you're at it, X5 Music is offering a free five-song sampler from "The 99 Most Essential Christmas Masterpieces." These are choir and/or orchestral versions of famous tunes, including "Silent Night" and "Joy to the World."

Finally, NPR has announced its favorite new artists of 2011 and is giving away one track from each of them. You'll find a wide range of musical genres represented here. Good stuff.

One last thing: Google Music, by way of Android Market, currently has millions of MP3s on sale for just 49 cents, plus half a million albums for $4.99 each. Good time to stock up on some favorite artists.

If you've found any good audio freebies (or cheapies), be sure to share some links in the comments!