- There are a variety of quality free music apps that can serve as alternatives to premium music streaming subscriptions.
- Spotify and Tidal offer free and ad-supported service tiers, and apps like Pandora, iHeart, and YouTube Music also give you access to vast libraries of free popular music.
- Here are seven of the best free music apps for iPhone and Android, and why you should check them out.
Apps like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music have been game changers when it comes to listening to music at home and on the go – access to millions of tracks from anywhere feels like you have every song ever released at your fingertips. But if you’re paying for a subscription to any of these apps, there are plenty of ways to stream music for free as well. Here are seven of the best free music apps for iPhone and Android.
Spotify is not only one of the most popular subscription music apps, it’s also one of the best ways to stream music for free. You can sign up for a free Spotify account and listen to the service’s full catalog of 90 million songs, but you’ll have to deal with ads and albums set to “shuffle mode”. These drawbacks aside, Spotify doesn’t hold back much; you can search for artists, albums and songs, and you can favorite songs and artists for later. Spotify also offers podcasts, playlists, and sharing music with friends. Download Spotify for iPhone or Android.
Pandora works a little differently than most music apps in that it’s structured like a radio with stations built around musical styles. Choose an artist, for example, and you can listen to their music as well as tracks from artists with a similar style. Rate the songs Pandora plays to refine the app’s recommendations. If you sign up for a free account, you can use the same settings and bookmarks on multiple devices, or subscribe to remove ads. Download Pandora for iPhone or Android.
Audiophiles love Tidal because it offers high-fidelity and nearly lossless tracks, but until recently it didn’t offer any free tiers. That has changed now; Tidal Free gives US users access to Tidal’s usual lineup of over 90 million tracks, but does so with limited commercial disruption and a more modest 160kbps sound quality, similar to what Spotify and many other music services. Also, you will only be able to choose shuffle, rather than choosing specific tracks. It’s still a good introduction to the
service, in case you want to try the catalog before upgrading to the paid version. Download Tidal for iPhone or Android.
One of the oldest music streaming apps, iHeart has lost the “Radio” from its name but still functions much like modern radio, allowing you to favorite and follow artists and stream their music or listen to a huge range of radio stations, both local to you (you can search by zip code) and internet radio. iHeart is also a complete hub for podcasts. The app has some other cool features, like the ability to set a sleep timer that turns off your music after a set period of time. Download iHeart for iPhone or Android.
Don’t be confused by the free trial screen the first time you start TuneIn; you can dismiss it with the almost invisible X in the top corner and use the app for free, with ads, of course. And like iHeart, TuneIn’s specialty is radio. You can stream a very wide selection of radios from this app including local radio as well as talk radio, music stations, news and sports from around the world. There are over 100,000 stations in total and you can save your favorites for easy access. And like iHeart, TuneIn also offers podcasts. Download TuneIn for iPhone or Android.
Perhaps because YouTube has become such a popular hub for music videos, YouTube Music is here with a dedicated streaming music experience. The free version is of course ad-supported, but you can upgrade to the ad-free version for $10 per month. Either way, the app provides smart recommendations based on your preferences and offers an extensive library of audio-only and video (including live performances). Especially welcome: many songs also have lyrics. Download YouTube Music for iPhone or Android.
While the other apps will give you access to mainstream and popular music, SoundCloud is where you can go to get the scoop on new, upcoming, and user-generated music you won’t hear elsewhere. It’s a popular resource for people to upload their own home-recorded tracks and for unknown artists to share their art. There’s a huge library of music to explore here, and SoundCloud gives you great ways to find music you might never have experienced otherwise, including a new fast-forward button that lets you move in a track. Download SoundCloud for iPhone or Android.