NoisyGeeks

9 Best Free Music Apps for Android and iOS

best free music apps

There was a time when Mp3 download sites thrived owing to the large user base who didn’t mind sacrificing their phone/computer storage space and seemed to have no issues with music piracy either. With the advent of Napster, the art of music sharing was set free, and later iTunes brought the necessary finesse that has taken different forms with current music apps in the market. 

Adding the word “Free” to the music apps instantly gives a feel of music being accessible, on-the-go with no strings attached kind of relationship. Though most free apps have the ultimate aim to convert free users to paid members, many of them, like Spotify or Pandora, do care about the listening experience in any format. The free listeners help these apps to create a market share by attracting a wide base of users who later might pay for in-app purchases or become their premium members. 

Free apps earn their revenue majorly from the advertisements and promotions that play in between the songs. If you are ready to overlook this “distinctly visible but possible to ignore” shortcoming, you can enjoy a generous dollop of free music that doesn’t pinch your credit card.

Are free music apps worth it?

Things that you don’t get with free music apps generally include features like ad-free playtime, non-restrictive song skipping, access to a larger music library, personalized experience, better sound streaming quality, and in some cases, even downloading music for offline use. You may wonder why Free Music Apps, then? The answers are simple yet convincing enough for you to try a slice of the free version.

  • No Expense – This the most obvious reason why people continue to rely on free apps. By accepting commercial ads as an inseparable part of free apps, listeners are all in for the decent to the great musical experience provided by these varied platforms.
  • No Commitment – You are not paying anything, so there is no heartburn if you are bored/ don’t like an app and plan to give it up for a better one. You can simply uninstall your current free app for a suitable replacement available in the app market.
  • No FOMO – The Fear Of Missing Out has gone out of the window for free users as there are hardly any features that are not provided in the free tier of music apps. Many of these additional features are good to have and not critical for a wholesome listening experience. Worst case – The users can always switch over to paid service if they discover any feature worth spending. 

TOP 9 PICKS OF FREE MUSIC APPS

We browsed and researched different music apps and evaluated their free format on parameters like ease of use, sound quality, music/artist collection, features, and additional perks. Basis this exploration, we bring you only the best of free ones that are out there. These music apps are total “value for money.” Oops! We mean “Value for your ears.” Tune in to the details.

1. Spotify – Best Overall

spotify

Reason to Install – Strong Music Recommendation engine for a personalized feel

For a long time, Spotify has been the force to reckon with in the free tier of music apps. With Apple Music as its biggest competition, this app marches ahead by riding on the free to download and listen to features that Apple Music doesn’t support. One of the biggest reasons for Spotify’s popularity is because it recommends amazing playlists based on your music preferences. Not to forget the apps’ seamless integration with Apple Watch.

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 80 million+
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 160 kbps
  • Spotify lets you listen to ad-free music for up to 30 minutes if you bear through the longer ads on the platform.
  • Access to quality podcast content that is exclusive to Spotify and comes with free access to users
  • The music recommendation engine learns your tastes and suggests daily and weekly playlists to keep you company.
  • Requires a user account to access free music

Pros

  • Desktop app version supports on-demand music 
  • Impressive and curated playlist library
  • The user interface is easy on the eyes 
  • Good sound quality
  • Multi-platform compatibility (iOS, Android, Desktop, Web player, Bluetooth Speakers, Smart TV apps, etc.)
  • Limited time access to paid features (30 days trial)

Cons

  • If you use the app on your phone, you can’t play individual tracks. It’s more of shuffling through preset playlists and music stations.
  • Skipping tracks is allowed only 6 times in 60 minutes, which means you are forced to listen to songs you might not enjoy.
  • Downloading tracks for offline listening is not available in the free version.
  • Some users might find the audio quality to be lower in comparison to the paid version of the music app.

2. YouTube Music – The best all-in-one platform

youtube-music

Reason to Install – Useful feature to switch seamlessly between music and videos

Free music listeners can rejoice by streaming any song they like with YouTube Music, which offers unparalleled music experience by its integration with the regular YouTube platform. If you can’t’ find your favorite music track on this platform, it even gives you the option to upload up to 100,000 songs on a cloud for direct streaming. The video-sharing site mogul has seen a surge in the number of downloads for the YouTube Music app since its launch in 2015, owing to its ocean deep music library.

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 70+ million songs
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 128 kbps
  • Compatible with Android, iOS, Linux, Windows and macOS, Google Nest, Sonos, Android TV, Android Auto, Web player version
  • All-in-one platform – Music and videos of live concerts, artist recordings, interviews, unplugged versions, remixes, etc.
  • Supports both – Preset playlists and recommended playlists
  • Music discovery is enabled through genres, moods, top charts, etc. 
  • Offers song lyrics for the majority of songs hosted on the platform
  • 30 days free trial period for YouTube Music Premium

Pros

  • One-tap switch between audio and video version of a song
  • Clutter-free layout
  • Allows to make and share personal playlists 
  • Hosts music that might be difficult to find elsewhere

Cons

  • Ads might be a minor annoyance
  • Search filters to discover music are a bit weak
  • Sound quality can swing between decent to dodgy
  • Offline listening is available in the YouTube Premium version
  • The free version supports playing music with the phone screen lit up. The moment you deactivate the screen, the music stops.

3. Pandora – Best User Experience

pandora-music-logo

Reason to Install – Radio style listening at its best

Not just another name in the world of free music apps, Pandora stands out from the clone crowd with a robust recommendation engine, which was a first in music streaming services. After its acquisition by SiriusXM, there have been many welcome changes to the app, like the inclusion of Satellite radio DJs, exclusive SiriusXM shows, and commentary /info on artists and their concert tours. Making things intense is the app’s responsiveness to simple voice commands that let you play/pause/skip/adjust your favorite music track volume. 

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 80 million+
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 160 kbps
  • Compatibility – Android, iOS, Kindle Fire, Mac, Windows 10, Nook, Desktop, Smart Watches
  • Playing over Wi-Fi recommended for a “no buffering” experience
  • Pre-set stations for different artists/genres/moods
  • Allows to access on-demand audio content by playing ads
  • Allows for a rating of music tracks for the app to learn your choices
  • 6 Station Modes to choose the music you like – My station (That stores your favorites), Crowd Faves (What are other listeners tripping on), Deep Cuts (Lesser-known songs from hidden gems), Discovery (listening to new music), Newly released (Fresh tracks from the oven) and Artist only (Hear songs of a particular station artist only)

Pros

  • Internet radio station vibes done right
  • Music data, including favorites and playlists, syncs across different platforms
  • Unrivaled user experience
  • Limited period exposure to premium features for free (After watching a video ad)
  • Bookmarking favorite artists

Cons

  • Necessitates creation of a user account 
  • Not ad-free
  • Limited track skips 
  • Free users have restriction to share playlists

4. Amazon Prime Music – Best Free Feature Support

amazon prime music logo app

Reason to Install – Handsfree listening with Alexa and Amazon Echo 

Amazon Prime members get a freebie of more than 2 Million songs to listen on the go with Amazon Music, an elementary level music platform from the e-commerce giant. It’s not just music in the free package. The Prime Music service also offers podcasts and radio stations with curated playlists. The 2 million songs are not static, and they keep replacing old tracks with fresh ones. Aspiring to be the next Pandora, Amazon Music format ultimately aims to convert the free members into paid “Music Unlimited” members. 

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 2 million songs for Amazon Prime Members; 75+ million for Amazon Music Unlimited (Paid membership)
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 256 kbps
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android apps, Fire TV and Echo
  • Amazon Prime Music comes bundled with Prime Membership and is ad-free.
  • User experience and features are uniform while using the app on desktop as well as mobile.
  • A limited but curated collection of podcasts, radio stations, and trending playlists
  • Integrated experience can be delivered with Amazon devices. Alexa can be used for music search to suit mood and taste, while Echo can be integrated to blast up the music from its speakers.

Pros

  • High-quality audio
  • Supports hands-free listening with Alexa voice commands
  • Ad-free experience
  • Unlimited skips are possible
  • Offline storage of tracks is a useful feature when not using the internet

Cons

  • Available at “no additional cost” only for Amazon prime members
  • The free music library might feel restrictive

5. SoundCloud – Best Indie music scene

soundcloud music logo

Reason to Install – Music uploads and presence of underground music talent

Treat yourself with a worthy break from mainstream music, with SoundCloud’s stellar collection of unconventional and eclectic mixes from established and upcoming artists/DJs/Podcasters. This app is also a go-to platform for audio content creators as anyone on SoundCloud can listen to their music, and this way, they gain more followers for their music. Like any other social media platform, music aficionados can even like, comment, repost or follow their favorite artists.

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 200+ million songs
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 64 kbps 
  • Artist Community Strength – 20+ million
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android Apps and Web Player
  • The app lets you link your Amazon and Google Play accounts for more customized access to a wider collection of music and other audio content.
  • Fast-forward feature is available to breeze through songs faster when required.
  • Some songs are even free to download
  • You can record and upload your audio file directly to the app using compatible devices.

Pros

  • The uploading feature makes it a good platform for budding artists
  • Connecting and collaborating with friends and artists on the platform
  • Niche and minimalistic layout
  • Wide variety of podcasts, audio shows, and original tracks
  • Find unique and new tracks before the world discovers them

Cons

  • Ads and Pop-ups take away some of this apps’ thunder
  • The free version might not feature all your favorite popular artists

6. TuneIn Radio – Best Versatile Platform

tunein app music

Reason to Install – Access to Sports, News, Internet Radio and of course music

If routine music is not enough and you hate having too many apps cluttering your phone, then place your trust in TuneIn Radio – a one-stop-shop for all your audio needs. Soundtracks, news, sports, podcasts, and radio will keep your plate full with this all-in-one app. The music is organized to discover your favorite songs basis your mood, activity, or genres. Yes! TuneIn may not be your usual “music app only.” However, the wide range of radio stations does offer a quick music fix for users who are open to variety.

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 200+ million songs
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 64 kbps 
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android Apps, Web Player, Smartwatches, CarPlay, gaming consoles, Windows 10, Windows Mobile, Voice assistant devices like Google Home, Alexa, Echo, Sonos, Chromecast, Roku, and many more
  • Multi-audio content that includes news from local and global channels, sports stations, exclusive soundtracks, music podcasts, and over a lakh AM, FM, and internet radio stations to keep you company wherever you go.

Pros

  • Integration of multiple audio services one single platform
  • News and sports events can be heard as podcasts too
  • Live streaming of biggest sports events, so you never miss your game
  • Many exclusive local stations and big stations are on TuneIn
  • The music discovery process is easy

Cons

  • Too many ads dominate the playtime
  • Drains up the battery
  • Pure audiophiles might find this app distracting

7. Spinrilla – Best app for Hip-Hop Mixtapes

spinrilla

 

Reason to Install – Discover established and upcoming hip hop artists

If hip-hop mixtapes are your jam, then you should have Spinrilla on your phone or desktop. Among the first ones to launch an all hip-hop mixtape pitstop, Spinrilla has evolved into a hip-hop giant where you can discover many new and upcoming artists and hear their underground music before anyone else does. Some of the famous artists like MoneyBagg Yo and Lil Nas X were first unearthed on Spinrilla. It’s not just hip hop mixtapes but a whole lot more with artist interviews, live shows, documentaries, and so on. 

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 1.4 million songs approximately
  • Free Content Quality – NA
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android Apps and Web Player
  • Discover trending daily tracks 
  • Offline mode available when the internet is an issue
  • Built-in radio for listening to top hits, local music, and instrumental tracks
  • Has tab at the top to discover new releases, popular tracks, hit singles, and upcoming releases

Pros

  • Allows to follow favorite artists and get notified when they release new tracks
  • The new version of the app allows you to view videos for songs wherever available.
  • Allows a sneak peek of upcoming releases (with a countdown timer)
  • Unlimited skips and offline audio content

Cons

  • Ads 
  • The new version of the app has got criticism owing to unexpected crashes

8. Jango Radio – Best Internet Radio Music App

jango radio logo

Reason to Install – Amazing assortment of themes, genres, artists, and playlists that can be shared with Facebook Friends 

If you are on the lookout for a free radio internet service that provides a personalized listening experience, then Jango Radio would do the trick, that too without any commercial ad interruptions. The platform has an enviable musical assortment of talented artists, and it lets you create custom playlists basis your choice of the artist. The app studies your preferences and makes a playlist with similar artists/related genres. If you want the playlist to expand, just switch to the shuffle mode and enjoy the unlimited listening time. 

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 40+ million songs
  • Free Content Quality – NA 
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android devices 4.1 and newer and Web Player
  • Multiple genre stations including Top 100, Hot Country, Soft Pop, Classic Rock, and many more
  • Syncs mobile and computer music data when you save your radio playlists– So you can carry your music on the move
  • Let’s you add artists to the playlist and ban songs that you find offensive/explicit
  • Allows to share radio playlists with your friends on Facebook
  • Let’s you adjust sound quality, as per the internet availability in your area or while you travel (Songs sound better over Wi-Fi than on LTE roaming services)
  • Sleep timer to tune off the music after a set period
  • Offers lyrics and even video wherever available

Pros

  • It doesn’t limit the number of skips
  • You can create your own artist station
  • Umpteen radio station options, themes, and genres to choose from
  • Social features to like or dislike a song
  • Easy navigation

Cons

  • Offline listening is not possible as it is internet radio
  • Promotional songs keep popping after every 3 or 4 songs

9. Deezer – Best for Organizing Playlists

deezer music logo

Reason to Install – Good podcasts and song catcher tool for identification

The French streaming service has been in the market for quite some time now and rivaled with Spotify at first and with Tidal later. With an amazing lineup of song choices, podcasts, and non-music audio content, Deezer has managed to build its loyal fanbase. With Deezers’ trademark FLOW feature, you can discover new artists, playlists or make one yourself. There is no cap on the number of playlists you can create to suit your personal taste in music. To accommodate offline mode listening and good sound quality, one needs to switch to the premium version.

Key Unique Features 

  • Music Library Size – 73+ million songs
  • Free Content Quality – Up to 128 kbps (Deezer Free)
  • Compatibility – iOS, Android Mobile and tablet devices, Desktop app, Web player, and other compatible devices
  • Song Catcher Tool – It lets you discover new artists and songs that you can safely tuck away to your favorites album for listening later
  • Song lyrics (play and share) support is available to the free users of this app
  • Deezer free now allow its free listeners to select songs individually and create personalized playlists, and access editorial playlists 
  • Allows for a 30-second preview window to hear a specific track in the non-shuffle mode

Pros

  • A healthy mix of good podcasts and music tracks
  • Clean and intuitive layout
  • Personal recommendations are great (“Made for You” section)
  • Price cut in the paid HiFi tier
  • You get unlimited skips on many of the daily and editorial playlists

Cons

  • Ads follow every third soundtrack in the free tier of this app
  • Audio is not lossless in the free version
  • The Discovery feature can use some improvements
  • A 30-second preview feature is not available in the US

Final Verdict

Spotify rules the roost in our list of best music apps that are free

With over 1B+ downloads on Google Play Store and is rated as the #1 music app on App Store for iOS users, it is no surprise that Spotify is the unrivaled contender in the free music space. 

With sleek looking interface and robust playlist recommendation, Spotify inches ahead of another crowd favorite – Pandora, owing to the impressive music library, voice command enabled playback (using Siri and other compatible Voice Assistants), and the ability to share playlists.

Aesthetically pleasing fonts, the easy discovery of features, and amazing audio content (some are original and undiscovered, not found on other platforms) make Spotify our top choice.

Conclusion

Free Music apps have a use case for both categories of listeners – Casual/Occasional Ones and avid audiophiles. It doesn’t make sense for the occasional listeners to invest in something they are hardly going to use, and if they do, they won’t care about missing a few features and studio-like audio quality. For the connoisseur’s ears, it would be appealing to first use a service in its free form and then shell out money for the upgraded version. So either way, it’s a win-win.

Whether you live and breathe music or resort to listening to it only a few times, we hope our best-of-best list and related observations gave you worthy cues to install apps that let you enjoy free music in all its glory. 

Are you currently using any Free Music App? What has been your experience? Let us know in the comments below

ernests.embutnieks

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