You’ll have to listen to ads, but the bottom line is millions of songs and no fees
If you’re like me, you love listening to music for almost any activity. It doesn’t matter if I’m completing an assignment, writing some code of a project, or when I just want to relax, music is an essential part of life.
Thankfully, free music apps make it possible to listen to your favorite songs without the long commercial breaks of local radio stations.
Most music streaming services let you sample their paid options with a free trial, but the platforms on this list let you use them indefinitely without ever putting in a credit card number. Use the link to download the app or find it in the app store on your smartphone. You’ll be up and running in no time. Here’s the list of the best free music streaming apps;
Spotify has the best music discovery algorithms and the slickest, snappiest user interface. It led me down rabbit holes to find new artists and old favorites, based on what I’ve already liked and listened to on the app.
Find music by viewing top lists and new releases, as well as by searching for playlists and your favorite artists and albums. Add your favorite songs to a Spotify music library and play those songs again later.
One thing that makes playlists enjoyable with Spotify is that anyone can make one and share it with others so that they can play the same songs in their app.
The basic version is free. If you want to remove ads, play any song at any time, download the music, and more, get Spotify Premium.
Pandora is popular for a reason. For most people, it’s because they find it to be the best app for streaming music.
Enter your favorite artist, and Pandora plays their songs along with similar artists that Pandora recommends. This is the easiest way to find new music similar to the songs you already love.
As you listen, rate songs so that Pandora will play more of the music you like, or won’t play songs you don’t like. The service learns and improves suggestions based on your ratings.
Bookmark your favorite artists to access them later, and stream podcasts from the app.
Register for free with Pandora to save your stations and ratings across the phone app and the Pandora website if you also listen on your computer.
There’s a free Pandora app for iPhone, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook, Windows Phone, Windows desktop, and other devices, including smartwatches.
On iOS and Android, you can only “favorite” 1,000 albums and artists, each. That’s way too low. Music discovery suggestions are pretty bad too. I’d be listening to one band and Deezer would suggest something very different. A lot of the curated playlists included tracks from albums not available in the US, so I was unable to play them. Not just obscure titles, but several tracks in Ray Charles collections, for example. It also had a dismal back button that would skip screens, like Apple Music
With SoundCloud, you can upload original songs and discover emerging artists on this app, with a minimalist design and aesthetically sound layout making for seamless browsing. You can link your Amazon and Google Play accounts to get greater access to a wider assortment of songs, and it’s not just for music: you can download podcasts and audio shows, too.
Search for music, artists, and audio, and follow other users to keep track of their new uploads. A combined 10-plus hours of audio is posted every minute from other users, which means you can find something interesting.
Playlists can be built on the iPhone to create a customized stream of your favorite music and share the playlists with others. Some devices let you record and upload your audio through the app.
If you create a user account, access your saved songs and other data from both the app and the website. An account and subscription to SoundCloud get you ad-free listening, no previews, high-quality audio, and offline listening.
Install the SoundCloud app on Android, iPhone, and iPad devices.
5. YouTube Music
Your music experience on YouTube can be more than just going to the website and putting music videos on loop. YouTube Music replaces the old Google Play Music as the one true, music app for the company that also happens to make Android. Depending on your thoughts on the company, playlists that change based on tracking your location and time may be more creepy than cool. Still, everyone can enjoy the free version, excellent lyric-based search options, collaborative playlists, and the ability to switch between audio and video at will.
The basic, ad-supported version of YouTube Music is free. Music Premium ($9.99 per month) lets you listen and watch ad-free and offers an audio-only mode so that you can play a song without its video. Music continues to play even when your screen isn’t activated. The Family Plan ($14.99 per month) lets up to five additional family members use the service, and students get a steep discount. Try the premium edition free for 30 days and see if the upgrade is worth it.
YouTube Music works with Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs and offers iOS and Android apps.
6. iHeart Radio
If you need a radio app for your mobile device, iHeartRadio has you covered. It supports tons of devices, has awesome features, shows no commercials, and finds nearby radio stations with ease.
iHeartRadio also lets you view lyrics as you listen, see an artist’s biography, and share a station with others. Another greater advantage over other competitors is it doesn’t play commercials.
iHeartRadio apps work with Android, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Kindle Fire, Windows 10, and other devices, including Apple TV, Amazon Echo, Chromecast, gaming consoles, vehicles, and wearables.
Jango is an online radio service rather than an on-demand streaming service. You can’t listen to particular artists or songs as and when, but you can listen to radio ‘stations’ by artist or genre.
You don’t have to register. Just type in an artist or genre, select a result and the station will start playing right away. For example, type in ‘Adele’, select ‘Adele Radio’ and it will play similar artists to Adele, such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Tove Lo, as well as Adele herself.
LiveXLive lets you stream music without a user account. LiveXLive (previously called Slacker Radio) has pre-programmed streaming radio stations for about every genre. While listening to a station, fine-tune it to play more of the songs that you like, or leave things a bit more open to find new kinds of music.
The free version includes ads, doesn’t play music offline, has standard-quality audio, can’t play music on-demand, and doesn’t let you skip an unlimited number of songs. To get those features, upgrade to LiveXLive Plus or Premium
If we missed any of the best free music apps for Android and iOS, tell us about them in the comments!