Most of the best free music streaming apps work on all platforms. You can use them on your computer, or you can download them onto most android or iOS devices.
1. Tidal Free
One of the perks of using Tidal is its capability to produce your favorite music streaming songs in high-definition audio. Even the Tidal Free Version allows you to produce what they call “expert curated playlists.” It also produces decent quality audio up to 160 kbps.
This free tier has more than 90 million songs. Audio quality is AAC, which still offers a pleasant listening experience without consuming as much data as the “HIFI” or “MASTER” paid versions do. In case you’re wondering, the sound quality jumps to 1411 kbps and 2304-9216 kbps for the two paid tiers. You’d probably want to use these premium listening services on Wi-Fi instead of your mobile Internet.
Available genres include electronic, folk, Latin or hip-hop and R & B. Dancehall, Reggae, rock, metal and rap are also included here. You’ll find many others too, especially the public playlists recommended by users. Featured modern artists include Saint JHN, Christian Nodal, Josh Levi, Normani and Chloe. Enjoy content this year by VIVIZ, Chris LeBron, Muni Long and more.
In 2019, Pandora reached more than 63.5 million users. It’s one of the first-ever streaming services invented, and it started in the year 2000. You can create personalized stations with it that sound like the artists you prefer to listen to.
You can download songs and podcasts for free. You’ll have to pay if you want to listen offline, however. It’s also possible to search and play for what you want in the free Pandora tier if you unlock ad viewing. Additional functions, such as offline listening or making and sharing playlists do require either the Pandora Plus or Pandora Premium paid subscription.
Genres include rock and classic rock, pop, electronic and dance, folk, easy listening, singer-songwriters and more. You can also select user-created and automatically curated playlists for exercising, relaxing and holiday celebrations. Likewise, you can select music collections for driving, rainy days, focus, or love – just about any listening purpose.
The Free Version of You Tube Music enables you to listen to as much music as you want if you’re connected to the Internet. You can also listen if your viewing screen is still active, and it will show you ads. However, you can listen to just about any music you want. You must upgrade to the paid version if you want add-free listening in the background while using other apps.
Either the paid or free version offers you plenty of genre variety, such as rock, classical, pop or praise and worship. It includes videos, and you can even find a wide selection of karaoke to practice too. Customize your own decade (ex: 1980s or 1990s), personality or artist, and style playlists. Some “Mixes” are also automatically created in the YouTube Free version.
YouTube probably has one of the widest selections of artists you can listen to for free. 2022 featured artists include Kanye West, Kygo and Dean Lewis, and Beyonce.
Featured content includes songs by Def Leppard, Johnny Cash, Madonna, Third Day or Casting Crowns. Music comes from all decades, not just 2022. Try rock & roll from the 1980s, 1990s, or even early (1950s-1970s) if you want.
By the way, if you don’t want to sign up for YouTube Music, you can just search the general YouTube website for what you want. This music streaming provider also has talk, sports, documentary and entertainment podcasts, along with live and recorded news clips.
In some cases, you’ll be limited to about 30 seconds of content. After that, you might have to pay to listen to the rest. The YouTube Music free version is set up similar to how the rest of YouTube free is set up. You have to pay to download and listen on the go without staying on the same screen the whole time, but YouTube does allow split screen viewing if your phone provides that.
The Spotify Free plan gives you the chance to experience suggestions based on other user recommendations. Music selections come from users who have a regular following, which denotes the list of Featured Curators, have made this streaming platform social.
The Spotify Free plan also allows two users to perform the “Blend” function, which enables collaboration of their musical tastes into one collection. CNET rates it as the “best music streaming service overall.”
If you upgrade to a premium plan, you can less with no ad interruptions and download music. Unlimited skips and the ability to play any song would also come with a paid subscription. However, can play millions of songs and podcasts on the mobile app for free.
This music provider has more than 5,071 distinct music genres, including rock, indie, folk, rap, bluegrass or electronic. You can organize your listening preferences and playlists just about any way you like.
5. Apple Music
Apple doesn’t have a forever free plan. However, you can at least experience Apple Music for three months without paying for it. What’s more, you can access all the songs you downloaded and purchased in iTunes via Apple Music.
The 90-day trial provides you with quite a bit of time to decide if making a paid commitment, which will provide you with an ad-free listening experience, is worth it. You don’t get it for free as long as you would other solutions, but it does have a rating of “best alternative to Spotify” because of its collection of at least 80 million songs available.
R & B, Euro or A-List Pop, Sandbar, or rock and rap are some of the available music genres. You will also find country, electronic and dance, and religious music. Instrumental soundtracks are also available.
6. Amazon Music
Amazon Music offers more than 80 million songs. You can download the app and stream stations and podcasts for free on your device. You also can sign up for a 90-day free trial and enjoy unlimited listening and HD viewing.
If you upgrade to a paid Prime prescription, you can listen offline. The free version does require you to view occasional ads. Available genres include country, rap, R&B or rock.
You can also enjoy a variety of party and tropical selections, and they offer alternative hits. Popular collections include the [Re] Discover hits from the 1950s, including love songs, pop and rock & roll. You also can try the “Feel-Good Oldies” series. Both of these playlist groups feature Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Sam Cook and more.
Soundcloud has millions of free songs that you may not find anywhere else for free. You also may have the option to download free tracks. However, not all uploaders allow you to do this, so that may limit you from hearing all the music you want, especially when on mobile.
Still, you’ll find plenty of songs you can stream without downloading when connected to the Internet. In most cases, you will need to have a paid subscription to download songs for offline listening.
One interesting factor about Soundcloud is the variety of songs that come from emerging and new artists. That’s not to say no other music app does this, but this music streaming service offers some of the best resources to participating creators.
You can find music from rock, R & B, Hip Hop, alternative, heavy metal, pop, electronic to folk and more. Popular artists include Drak, Joji, and Little Duck, and they offer quite a few party playlists.
It also provides a collection of motivational, true crime, stories and talk show podcasts. You can search for everything, the SoundCloud Go+ paid library, people, albums or playlists.
8. iHeart Radio
The free version of the iHeart Radio app enables you to start listening to your favorite music, local radio stations, podcasts and playlists. It connects you with not only music, but also it provides you access to news, comedy, sports and talk shows.
You can organize your playlists by activity, decade, mood and genre, making your playlists available for any occasion. Examples of playlists and stations include Christian & Gospel, Alternative, Classic Rock, Classical and College Radio or Comedy.
iHeart Radio also features live radio from popular stations, including WIXX 101, and WTAQ News, Talk And Sports from Wisconsin or US 103.3 FM and Q92 FM in Florida.
In fact, you can select live radio stations near you from a drop-down list, and this includes the most popular genres and talk or sports. Countries represented include the United States and Mexico.
You only hear song samples if using a computer browser. However, you can carry this app around with you on a mobile device and have access to at least 50 million songs for free.
That’s a lot of tunes for unpaid usage. The premium version allows ad-free listening. Both the free and paid versions also have radio stations and podcasts. You don’t need a credit card to sign up for the free version – just register and enjoy the complementary listening collection.
Deezer offers smart list creations based on time of the day, entertainment setting or mood. You also could set up collections of your favorite genres and artists, such as pop, rock, ethnic, R & B, country or Latin. Available collections include party, charts, new releases, workout or relaxation and summer music.
In addition, you’ll find true crime, sports, history and kids podcasts. They also have comedy, news, talk, language and travel or finance podcasts, among others. Some famous ones include Ted Radio Hour, NPR Radio Ambulante and The Daily or Radiolab and The Ben Shapiro Show.
Napster, surprisingly, is still doing their thing and has been around since 1999. That makes it a little older than Pandora. Since 2002, it has become a legalized peer-to-peer music file sharing system after the company shut down for about a year.
It now has Napster 3.0, which you can enjoy on your mobile app for free for 30 days before you upgrade to a paid subscription. The Napster name changing hands multiple times throughout the 2000s is a story in and of itself.
Listen.com had owned the brand from 2001-2003 before RealNetworks took it over. This is where it gets confusing. Both RealNetworks and Rhapsody International, Inc. owned Napster too between 2003 and 2020. In 2003, RealPlayer used to be called RealOne, and the company also had a paid subscription services called RealOne Rhapsody before Rhapsody turned into Napster.
11. Real Music
In 2022, Real Networks is far different than before. It still operates the RealOne Rhapsody player. The RealPlayer, formerly known as the RealOne Player, is its own entity. The free version does still let you download songs, and you can access 720p-quality videos.
You can also import and burn CDs that you own and use their Real Player Discover Feature for free. The free and Downloader Express plan, which requires a one-time purchase, does have ads. The Plus, which is a one-time purchase also, doesn’t have ads, and neither does the Premium plan.
You can enjoy listening on the mobile app too. It also has some free features. For both the desktop and mobile, you can identify celebrities in videos with just one click. It’s also possible to use the Real Player to play a variety of media types that you already own, including Flash, MP3, MP4, and RealVideo.
In addition, you can display music and video content you created. It’s also possible to make them available to the world. Some conversion features may require a paid version of the RealPlayer, which functions like iTunes once did.
12. LiveOne (formerly LiveXLive)
The LiveOne streaming service provides music, video and podcast content. Before becoming LiveXLive, you might remember LiveXLive from when they used to call themselves Slacker Radio. This app also allows free signup to listen or watch festivals and concerts. Use it to catch up on shows you cannot attend in person after downloading the app for free.
LiveOne’s Basic free account offers you personalized playlist recommendations. You also can access customized audio stations. If you upgrade to the Plus paid version, you can experience no ads, maximum audio quality and unlimited skips. The Premium version allows you to play on demand and offline.
Music genres include pop, country, electronic and dance, “chill,” hip-hop, comedy alternative, Latin and R& B. Popular LiveXLive podcasts include Morning Joe, the 11th Hour, Deadline, Hardball or American Greed. There’s also NPC Nightly News and AM Joy.
You’d like this playlist if you’re into Hindi music. Some users report errors when using the website, but that’s probably because they don’t live in the default viewing/listening location, which is India. Besides the Hindi style/language, it has quite a cultured collection of songs in the Punjabi, Telugu, Tamii and Bhojpuri tongues.
Malayalam, Kannada and Marathi songs are also found on the Gaaba website. All these tongues represent people of different regions in India, and a complete language list is found here.
Other areas of Asia and the Middle East are represented too, such as the Urdu language, also spoken in Pakistan. Another example are the songs in the Odia language spoken in India or Europe.
Old song selections, for which Gaana is famous for, include Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein, Hamen Tumse Pyar Kitna and Purano Sei Diner and Aamar Pujar Phool. There’s countless more in the Gaana website’s featured languages.
This list should start you off into a world of possibly never having to pay to listen to music. It depends on your tastes, but keeping an open mind will provide you with plenty of content.
This wraps up our list of the best free music streaming apps available for users today. Did we miss any of the essential apps? Let us know any suggestions or criticisms with this list by contacting us today and we’ll be sure to consider your input appropriately.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.