If you’re like me, you love listening to music for almost any activity. It doesn’t matter if I’m driving to work, completing a DIY house project, or when you 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.
Being able to stream your favorite tunes for free also means you don’t have to spend your income on buying the album on iTunes. If you prefer owning a physical copy, you don’t have to find space for yet another CD that you might periodically listen to.
I also enjoy listening to music apps because I can discover new songs that you don’t hear on the radio either. With a wider song selection and brief commercial breaks, why wouldn’t you want to listen to the best music for free?
In This Article
- Top Free Music Apps
- How Do Free Music Apps Work?
- Benefits of Using Free Music Apps
- Are Free Music Apps Legal?
- Do Free Music Apps Work on Android and iPhone Devices?
Top Free Music Apps
Maybe you’ve never used a music app before. Or, you want to try a new one because your current playlist is growing stale. Although these apps share one common denominator (they’re all free!), each one puts their own personal touch for your favorite stations.
Spotify is arguably the one free music app that nobody “can live without.” If you’re not already using Spotify, there’s a good chance at least one of your friends is.
The setup process for Spotify is simple, you select your favorite artists or the top pre-made playlists. After you tell Spotify which songs you like or dislike, Spotify refines your playlist so you only hear the songs you like most.
There are a few other free features you will enjoy from Spotify too:
- Follow Facebook friends to expand your streaming library
- Discover new song selections each week
- Read song lyrics inside the Spotify app
- Play Spotify on your PlayStation 4
A lot of people prefer Spotify because of their song variety. With their Discover Weekly feature, Spotify recommends a new set of tracks each week. If you like a song, you can give a positive rating to include it in your playlist.
Spotify also has an awesome “name that tune” feature called Shazam that automatically names the current song that’s playing on the radio.
Maybe you currently use Siri or Alexa to tell you the name of a song you can’t remember. With Spotify’s Shazam, you can instantly add the song to your playlist if you like it.
If you like the free Spotify app, you might also consider upgrading to Spotify Premium for ad-free listening and Amazon Alexa integration!
Do free music apps play commercials? With Jango, the answer is most likely going to be, “No!” With other music apps, you need to pay $10 a month to skip the commercial breaks.
Jango currently offers commercial-free music streaming apps. If you connect your Facebook account, you only get one daily commercial when you stream from their website.
Another reason Jango offers commercial-free music is the large presence of independent artists. Unlike other free music apps, you’re more likely to hear songs from independent artists with a similar feel to your favorite artist.
Independent artists pay to have Jango play their music and catch their big break. To return the favor, Jango asks for you to leave feedback or even leave a tip with the 25 free NeuCoins you receive each week!
You can sort playlists on Jango by genre or artist. If you’re an Aerosmith fan, Jango will create a station that plays Aerosmith and similar artists. But if you want a broader playlist, you can choose a genre station like “90’s Rock.”
Even though video killed the radio star, 😉 Jango lets you watch music videos when listening to the song simply isn’t enough. You can also access the written lyrics in the Jango app too.
Jango just might be the best free music app you’ve never heard of before. And, you can even start streaming without creating an account.
The original music streaming juggernaut, Pandora is still a popular free music app that has a wide streaming library. If your friends don’t use Spotify, they most like stream on Pandora instead.
Unlike Spotify, where you can play songs on-demand, Pandora creates a station based on which genres, artists, and songs you like. Pandora then uses its Music Genome Project algorithm to match similar songs and artists to your preferences.
One reason why music fans prefer Pandora is that they hear songs from a variety of artists. However, since Pandora’s music library is smaller than other music apps, your playlist can get repetitive rather quickly.
The main advantage of using free music apps is that you never pay to listen to music. When you need to give Pandora a rest, use one of the other recommendations from this list!
Like other free music apps, Pandora offers two paid monthly services called Pandora Plus ($4.99 per month) and Pandora Premium ($9.99 per month). With both plans, you can enjoy ad-free listening and offline listening too.
When you still enjoy listening to your local radio station, iHeartRadio is a great option. You can listen to customized online-only stations or tune into your local radio station too.
IHeart will recommend several channels based on your interests. For example, if you tell iHeartRadio you like listening to Classic Rock, you might receive a few of these suggestions:
- Led Zeppelin Radio (artist-themed stations)
- iHeart 80s Radio (genre-themed stations)
- Local radio stations from across the United States
Although the online-only stations are well worth the listen, the live radio stations is possibly iHeartRadio’s largest advantage. You can find stations from all over the country. If you have moved cities or states, you can listen to the station you enjoyed as a child or college student for a trip down memory lane.
For a wide variety of audio content, you can stream the following programs on TuneIn:
If you only want one app that does everything, TuneIn strikes a fine balance between its music and non-music offerings. With this free music app, you can stream more than 120,000 radio stations for live music and genre-based stations.
You can also enjoy exclusive TuneIn features including music sessions and interviews with your favorite artists. To listen to live sports, you will need to upgrade to the premium version unless your local radio affiliate has permission to live stream the game online.
Deezer is another free music app that offers a wide song catalog. With more than 53 million songs to listen to, Deezer has a larger offer than most other music apps.
As you listen, make sure you rate each song so Deezer can personalize your playlist. You can also upload your MP3s and existing playlists to personalize Deezer too.
Similar to other music apps, Deezer offers on-screen lyrics and exclusive interviews with upcoming artists.
The free Deezer plan is only available on mobile devices. If you also want the capability to stream on your computer or video game platform, you need to choose a different mobile app.
Some Deezer reviews also state this app is ideal for Google Home users and Sonos owners with their premium Hi-Fi option.
You can stream more than 100 curated music stations on Slacker. Once you find a station you like, it can be customized for your song preferences.
You can give the songs you like an Upvote and ban the songs you dislike. It’s also possible to stream news stations and even get weather updates on the Slacker app too.
If you like a song or station, you can also share your like with your friends on social media too.
In addition to the regular curated music channels that every music app offers, Slacker offers these unique choices too:
- Weekly music countdowns
- Album of the week
- Top thirty songs from five years ago
Slacker also hosts several themed series that include artist interviews and behind-the-scenes stories you won’t hear anywhere else.
Maybe the best way to describe SoundCloud is their crowdsourced music catalog. You will find many hit songs and independent artists that offer free streaming. Although you can listen to most songs for free, you might have to join their paid Go+ plan ($9.99/month) for the 30 million premium tracks.
Other music apps use curated channels to play music, but SoundCloud is a true free for all. On SoundCloud, you can search by individual song, artist, or album to find what you want to listen to.
If the artist or content uploader has created a playlist, you can listen to several songs in succession. Otherwise, you will need to either pick each song individually or choose an entire album as SoundCloud doesn’t exactly offer an auto-play feature.
To get additional song recommendations, you can browse either the “Top 50” or “New & Hot” lists to discover new songs and artists.
You can also explore these lists by genre, or see the most popular songs for the SoundCloud catalog. With the exception of Jango, SoundCloud might be your best option to find the best upcoming artists.
When you want to listen to full albums, SoundCloud might be your best option because you only listen to the audio-only version. If you’re not currently connected to wifi and using your cell phone data plan,
SoundCloud streaming consumes less data than using YouTube which also plays video. You can get the SoundCloud app on your smartphone and it is available on iOS or Android.
Besides SoundCloud, you can also stream the following content in addition to music:
If any digital audio can be streamed for free, it’s likely on SoundCloud.
Another large and longstanding music app is AccuRadio. Although you will listen to ads, you have unlimited skips and AccuRadio is 100% free. You don’t need to purchase a premium plan to enjoy additional benefits.
AccuRadio offers curated channels for almost every music genre you can think of. A rotating collection of featured stations will also be commercial-free for a limited time too.
If country music is the featured genre, every country music station will be commercial-free for the day! Be sure to check the schedule to see when your favorite genre will be commercial-free.
In addition to picking a stream by genre, you can also search by artist to see which channels play their songs. If you enjoy Elvis Presley for example, you will find 80 channels that play his music. Other apps will just create an Elvis channel for you, but AccuRadio offers a little more flexibility.
10. Google Play Music
Android users are already well-familiar with Google Play. In addition to adding up to 50,000 songs you already own to your playlist, you can also listen to the curated channels to stream more music. There are more than 40 million songs to choose from, so you’ll probably never run out of music to play.
If you’re not quite sure what you want to listen to, click the “I’m Feeling Lucky” button to listen to a random song. Just like you hit scan on the radio, keep clicking the Lucky button until you find a song you enjoy!
You can also download music tracks in the Google Play Store too. Each month, Google Play offers a new music selection of free songs and full albums you can download.
When you upgrade to a paid Google Pay Music subscription, you can enjoy ad-free listening and unlimited live radio.
Discover how to get free Google Play credits you can use to buy music and other rewards!
When you have the data to stream quality audio and video, YouTube is another fun app to use. You might use YouTube to watch product unboxings or DIY repair videos, but YouTube is also a fountain for music videos.
YouTube might be the best option for streaming music videos because their in-house Vevo program offers HD quality videos for old and new songs. Like SoundCloud, there are also plenty of user-uploaded videos and songs for your favorite artists.
With the user-uploaded videos, you can listen to a full album or watch the music videos for your favorite songs. There are also custom playlists that you can stream too.
If you like listening to classical music while you work, you can choose a video titled, “3 Hours With the Most Relaxing Classical Music Ever.” If you find a particular channel you enjoy, you can follow it to easily find their playlists.
YouTube periodically streams live concerts and festivals too. Other channels also broadcast 24/7 so you can listen continuously and don’t have to switch selections every few minutes or hours.
Although you will probably find everything you need for free on YouTube, they also offer a paid YouTube Music streaming service. It costs $9.99 and offers curated channels and customized playlists similar to the other paid music apps.
You already have access to Shazam if you use Spotify, but you can also download the standalone app. In a matter of seconds, Shazam can identify any song playing on the radio, tv, or over the PA system in a store or restaurant. Once Shazam identifies the song, you can see which music app has it in their catalog.
Another reason you might like Shazam is their extensive charts feature. You can quickly see the most “Shazamed” songs by country or genre and the number of queries for the song. For example, the most Shazamed song of all time has been identified 23.7 million times!
Whether you want to find the most popular songs from yesterday or tomorrow’s next future hit, Shazam is a fun app. Although you can only listen to 30-second song clips, Shazam lets you watch music videos and read the song lyrics.
For custom playlists, check out the 8tracks app. You will find an abundance of user-created and sponsored playlists for many different genres. Some of the music genres include:
- Happy Songs
- Sad Songs
- Sleep Songs
- Study Songs
- Chill Essentials
- Workout Essentials
8tracks is definitely a unique app that offers a breath of fresh air if you’re tired of the same ol’ same ol’ with the other apps.
If you want to enjoy these playlists ad-free, you only have to pay $4.99 monthly. That’s half the price of most other paid music apps.
14. Amazon Prime Music
Included in your Amazon Prime membership is access to the Prime Music catalog. If you primarily remain a Prime membership for its other benefits, this perk can be an almost-free add-on.
You can stream two million songs with the Prime Music feature. It’s not a lot to choose from, but it can be enough for an ad-free and on-demand listening experience.
It’s also possible to stream curated stations and create personalized playlists with Prime Music too! Plus, you can stream on any Amazon Echo device too.
For access to the complete Amazon Music catalog, you have to join the Amazon Music Unlimited service which starts at $3.99 per month.
How Do Free Music Apps Work?
With any free app, there are a few tradeoffs. You can usually expect the following limitations from a free music app:
- Can’t play music offline (i.e. airplane mode)
- Some apps don’t support web browser access (i.e. computer or laptop)
- A limited number of skips per hour or day
- Must watch or listen to occasional ads
The main reason why you might upgrade to a premium plan is to enjoy ad-free listening and unlimited skips.
It’s also possible to download a playlist or songs to listen to music when you’re not connected to the internet. This is a good idea if you’re monitoring your data usage and only connect to the app when you’re on wifi.
If you’re constantly listening to music from one music app, upgrading to a premium plan can be worth the cost. Most paid music apps offer a free trial period, but you can test the free app first to see if you like the app usability and song selection.
Benefits of Using Free Music Apps
There are many reasons why you can use free music apps and never pay for a premium service:
- Fewer commercials breaks than live radio stations
- Larger song selection than live radio stations
- Customizable playlists
- Access lyrics and music videos simultaneously
Some music apps now come pre-installed with new automobiles. This feature means you don’t have to drain your cell phone battery to listen to your custom playlists when driving.
Are Free Music Apps Legal?
All the apps mentioned above are legal. This is because you can only stream the songs, just like listening to the radio.
Some apps like Google Play may offer free downloads, but the content is still licensed and adhere to current copyright law. These apps aren’t going to be like the original Napster or the latest BitTorrent program where you download a song from another person’s personal collection.
Do Free Music Apps Work on Android and iPhone Devices?
With the exception of Musi, all of the apps mentioned here are compatible with Android and Apple devices.
Because your playlists and account information are stored in the cloud, you can seamlessly access your favorite channels from any device. Even if you buy a replacement cell phone or decide to stream on your computer, your playlist information isn’t lost.
If you own any smart home devices, these apps can also integrate with the following devices:
- Amazon Alexa
- Google Home
- Xbox or Playstation gaming platforms
- Smart TV
Some music player apps might require you to upgrade to the paid service to use a smart home device. For the most part, you can stream music on any device for free. You just have listen to the ads and remember you might have a limited number of skips available.
These are the best free music apps that let you listen to almost any song ever written! Music lovers can own a variety of devices and listen to a wide variety of music collections.
With fewer commercial breaks and the ability to listen to them virtually anywhere in the world, it doesn’t get much easier or affordable to listen to music.