May 18, 2024


Buzz The Music

The 7 Best Free Music Streaming Apps for iOS and Android (2024)

Use a free app to stream music from virtually anywhere. I’ve put together this list of the best music services that offer apps for both Android and iOS. These apps allow you to delve into your own music collection, explore new artists, and discover local radio stations.

What We Like

  • Find content you won’t find anywhere else.

  • Enjoy live recordings, concert footage, and artist interviews.

  • Build as many playlists as you want and share with friends.

What We Don’t Like

  • Need a Premium account for ad-free music and offline listening.

  • Only paying users can continue streaming in the background when the device is locked.

YouTube Music provides a staggering number of streaming songs and videos from popular artists as well as lesser-known, niche content creators. Its powerful recommendation engine adapts seamlessly to offer songs and content according to what you played before, where you are, and what you’re doing. Its smart search function helps you find songs even when you don’t know the title.

The YouTube Music video offerings include popular music videos along with live recordings, interviews, concert footage, and more, spanning decades of artists’ work. Add songs to your library and craft playlists, or choose from a variety of preset playlists. It can build a playlist for you based on the music you like.

Another feature I appreciate, and one that I don’t find in most music apps, is the ability to read lyrics while the song is playing. It’s like having a lyric video for all your favorite songs! Not every track includes lyrics, but most of the ones I’ve streamed do, and it’s one of the reasons I keep using the app.

The basic, ad-supported version is free. Music Premium ($10.99 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. There’s also a Family and Student plan. Try the premium edition free for 30 days and see if the upgrade is worth it.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Works on many devices.

  • Make an unlimited number of playlists.

  • It’s easy to listen to playlists made by others.

  • Try the premium features free for 30 days.

  • Excellent Apple Watch integration and features.

  • Skip up to six songs every hour.

What We Don’t Like

  • Shows advertisements.

  • Must make a user account to listen.

Spotify is an awesome music app that lets you follow artists and sync music from your desktop. You can create a radio station so it plays recommended music based on your initial interest. This is my go-to music app when I want to find music similar to the stuff I know I already like.

It lets you find music by viewing top lists and new releases, as well as by searching for playlists and your favorite artists and albums. Like most apps with free music, Spotify lets you add your favorite songs to your library to play again later.

One thing that I think 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 app allows several push notifications, alerting you to things like a new album being released from an artist you follow, or when a playlist is updated.

The basic version is free. If you want to remove ads, play any song at any time, download the music, and more, there are Spotify Premium plans to pick from.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Easy to find new music.

  • There’s a lot of content, and it’s always being updated.

  • Fast-forward through songs, unlike most free music players.

  • Some music is free to download.

What We Don’t Like

  • Most of the music is from new artists, so you might have trouble finding tracks you’ve already heard.

  • Requires a user account.

SoundCloud contains tons of audio uploaded by other users, including homemade audio and music from up-and-coming artists. This is the reason I like it; it’s one of the best ways I’ve found to stumble on new music.

Search for music, artists, and audio, and follow other users to keep track of their new uploads. 10-plus hours of audio is posted every minute from other users — believe me, you will find something you like.

Playlists can be built to create a customized stream of your favorite music and share the playlists with others. Some devices also 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.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Easy to use, even while driving.

  • Includes tens of thousands of live radio stations.

  • Includes podcasts.

  • Provides a sleep timer.

What We Don’t Like

  • Can’t hear specific songs because it’s a radio service.

  • Isn’t ideal if you want only a music player.

  • Lots of ads in the free version.

If you love radio but want the convenience of a mobile device, check out the free music app from TuneIn. I love that I can use it to listen to local radio stations wherever I am. In fact, it’s a pretty great music app for traveling, especially the car mode with big, easy-to-touch buttons and voice search.

Enter a song or artist, and you instantly have a list of all the radio stations around the country that play that song or artist. With a push of a button, you can listen to that radio station from your phone. TuneIn also lets you access podcasts and sports radio.

If you like the service, consider subscribing to TuneIn Premium for commercial-free radio and fewer ads.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Start stations based on artists.

  • Pre-made stations are available for different moods, activities, decades, and more.

  • Lets you rate songs to fine-tune the music selection.

  • Watch ads to skip and play unlimited songs.

What We Don’t Like

  • A user account is required (it’s free).

  • Shows advertisements.

Pandora is popular for a reason. For most people, it’s because they find it to be the best app for streaming music. I don’t like that a user account is required and that skips are limited, but for a free music app, this is definitely one of the better ones.

Enter your favorite artist, and Pandora plays their songs along with similar artists it recommends. This is the easiest way to find new music similar to the songs you already love.

As you listen, rate songs so that the app 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. This is what makes Pandora an awesome app, and I can confirm that the recommendations are spot on.

You can also 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 their website if you also listen on your computer. Paid plans are available if you want to remove the ads, listen offline, and skip unlimited songs.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Includes music, radio, and podcasts.

  • Plays zero commercials.

  • Works on a variety of devices.

What We Don’t Like

  • Must log in before listening to music.

  • There’s a daily limit for song skips.

If you want a radio app, but TuneIn isn’t cutting it, give iHeartRadio a try. It supports tons of devices, has awesome features, and helps you find commercial-free radio stations.

You can also listen to podcasts and create music stations based on your favorite songs, search for stations, and look in categories like 80s and 90s hits, alternative, holiday, classical, rock, oldies, and more to find the music you like.

Save your favorite stations as presets and set one as an alarm clock, complete with a daily schedule and snooze option. Use the iHeartRadio music app to set a sleep timer to turn off a radio station after a certain number of minutes or hours.

I also like that this app lets me see lyrics as I listen, view an artist’s biography, and share stations.

Upgrading to iHeartRadio Plus or All Access gives you more features beyond what the free edition allows, including unlimited skips and playlists, instant replays, and more.

Download For:

What We Like

  • Stream music without a user account.

  • Lots of pre-made stations are one tap away.

  • Can adjust the audio stream quality.

  • Alerts about music news and sports updates.

  • Skip up to six songs per day.

What We Don’t Like

  • Occasional commercials between songs.

  • Not every feature is free; some require a paid upgrade.

LiveOne (formerly LiveXLive, and Slacker Radio before that) 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.

Create new stations and playlists, as well as keep track of your favorite songs and recently played songs.

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 (although, six per day is still decent!). You can upgrade to get those features.

Download For: