No matter you love music or not, you must want to listen to some music somehow or sometimes. But which music stream apps are easy to use and can listen for free online?
When it comes to music, some of us are pop fans, some of us beat our hearts for EDM, and some of us bang our heads for metal music. But of all the devices we own, most of us listen to music on our phones. So let’s talk about the best music apps that can meet the needs of music lovers.
What should I expect from a great music streaming app?
Basically, a great music streaming app should have a huge collection of songs, clear audio quality, and lots of relevant playlists so we can just put them up and keep doing what we’re doing.
Then it’s the turn of fancy but necessary features like Chromecast support, offline download option, etc.
Now, if I were to talk about a promising and efficient online music player, then Spotify or Apple Music would be the first choices that come to our minds. But, of course, there are more options than these two.
So, in this article, I tried to combine some of the best music streaming apps for Android and iOS devices. What’s more, most of them also work on your browser. So, you can listen to the songs on your computer.
If you’ve had minimal exposure to the world of online music streaming, chances are you already know about Spotify.
Spotify was created by a Sweden-based company in 2006, and since then it has managed to give iTunes Music and later Apple Music stiff competition. The two even went head-to-head in a legal battle when Spotify accused Apple of abusing its dominant position in the app store.
What makes Spotify one of the best music apps is that it provides a complete package of a great app that complements its massive catalog of songs.
What are the best features of Spotify?
- Spotify has a well-designed music app for Android and iOS, complemented by a pleasing user interface.
Seamless cross-device experience. You can play/pause songs from different devices.
- Provides a dedicated screen to manage connected devices.
- Spotify’s music catalog includes more than 50 million songs in a variety of languages and genres.
- Comes with a built-in private mode for anonymous listening.
- In addition to songs and curated playlists, users can also listen to podcasts.
- Spotify’s free version offers decent sound quality and allows users to download Podcasts for offline listening.
- The app includes some useful features such as gapless audio playback, crossfades between songs, and volume normalizer.
- A built-in search function supports context-based search queries; for example, you can type in “songs for road trips” and get relevant results.
- Direct connections to Facebook and navigation apps, including Waze, are available.
- Spotify offers the best selection of charts and playlists. Personally, I find them more relevant than other music streaming apps.
What’s the downside?
- You can only play on one device at a time (you can download music on three devices).
- It may have inconsistent catalogs in different regions.
- It does not include a light-themed user interface.
- The procedure for playing locally stored music is cumbersome.
How much does Spotify’s paid music subscription cost?
- Spotify free: $0/mo (Ads, No offline downloads, No ‘Very High’ sound quality option)
- Music Premium: $4.99/mo (add 5 more accounts)
- Spotify Students: $4.99/mo(Discounted plan for students)
#2 Apple Music – best music app for iPhone users
As you may know, Apple Music is one of Apple’s efforts to gain a stronghold in the music streaming space. It replaced iTunes Music, which lets users buy songs and albums separately. I think Apple Music offers the best music subscription plan in terms of value for money, especially with its family plan.
Unlike other Apple apps and services, Apple Music is also available for Android. Recently, Apple also launched a web player for those who want to use Apple Music in their web browser. So, yes, Apple seems to have realized that it can always keep some restrictions in place if further development is needed.
What are the best features of Apple music?
- The user interface is neat and clean.
- Apple Music catalog includes over 50 million songs.
- Works seamlessly with Apple devices (of, course!).
- “Lyrics to Live by” feature shows song lyrics in real-time.
- Curated playlists (based on genres, moods) and charts are good enough.
- Provides data-friendly streaming options for cellular connections.
- Provides a decent selection of internet radio stations across different genres.
- Can sync music from the iCloud library.
- Users can automate Apple Music on iOS via the Siri Shortcuts app.
What’s the Disadvantage of Apple Music?
- Apple Music has a tedious setup process for Android users. Also, the Android app doesn’t work smoothly.
- Single user plan only streams on one device at a time.
- Can’t toggle music streaming quality over WiFi.
- Doesn’t support audio crossfade, gapless playback (No visible option even if it’s there).
How much does an Apple Music subscription cost?
- Individual: $9.99/mo (90-day free trial)
- Family: $14.99/mo (90-day free trial)
- Student: $4.99/mo (90-day free trial)
#3 YouTube Music – the best free music app for Google fans
It’s a freshly minted music streaming app for Android and iOS that Google has launched to replace Google Play Music. As the name suggests, YouTube Music is a YouTube spin-off for those who just want to focus on the music part.
The app first appeared in 2015 and since then, it has expanded its reach to more than 70 countries in different regions of the world. One of the selling points is that YouTube Music lets you listen to music while keeping its videos in the background.
What are the best features of YouTube Music?
- The user interface of the app is visually appealing on both Android and iOS.
- Provides relevant recommendations as it pulls users’ YouTube history.
- Shows the playlists users create on YouTube.
- Can play audio files locally stored on the device.
- Contextually aware search bar (it’s Google) that displays well-sorted results.
- Just like regular YouTube, users can double-tap to do fast forward or backward actions.
- Dedicated Hotlist section to display all the trending music videos.
- YouTube Music focuses on music videos instead of audio files, different than Apple Music and Spotify.
- It provides offline download with an audio-only option.
- It provides location-based music recommendations, Mixtape endless playlist.
What’s the downside?
- It doesn’t include advanced features like volume normalization, crossfade, gapless playback.
- Treats music videos and audio alike which create confusion.
- Loading videos all the time might consume extra bandwidth.
How much does a YouTube Music subscription cost?
- YouTube Music Free: $0/mo (Shows Ads, No background play, No offline mode)
- YouTube Premium: $9.99/mo (1-month free trial)
- Student Offer: $4.99/mo (3-month free trial)
- YouTube Premium Family: $14.99/mo (can add 5 more accounts)
#4 SoudCloud-one of the best music stream apps
SoundCloud started back in 2007 as a platform for artists to easily share their self-created music. In fact, the main selling point of this music streaming app is that independent artists create most of their songs on this platform without any content being hidden behind a paywall.
One can simply call SoundCloud the best free music streaming app because you can stream unlimited songs without any ads. In addition, it combines a well-established free music app with a huge collection of songs and podcasts that you can listen to at any time of the day.
What are the best features of SoundCloud?
- SoundCloud has a minimalistic UI that works without any visible lags and freezes.
- With more than 200 million tracks, it’s the biggest streaming service in terms of numbers.
- It provides a wide selection of playlists curated by the SoundCloud community.
- Stream section shows updates from artists and friends you have followed on SoundCloud.
- Provides a weekly compilation of songs based on listening history, called SoundCloud Weekly.
- Users can post comments on songs at specific timestamps.
- Skipping and Seeking a song track on SoundCloud is the easiest across all the music streaming apps in this list.
- Users can record and upload their songs via their smartphone itself.
What’s the downside?
- SoundCloud doesn’t include many songs from mainstream artists.
- It doesn’t show a clear distinction between songs and podcasts.
- Navigation might be a little confusing for some users.
- There is no offline download option even for podcasts.
- The paid version is available in limited countries.
How much does SoundCloud’s music subscription cost?
- SoundCloud Free: 0$/mo (All the music, no downloads)
- SoundCloud Go+: $9.99/mo (30-day trial, Offline downloads)
#5 Amazon Prime Music-One of the best music stream apps
Amazon Music is a music streaming app owned by e-commerce giant Amazon. The company recently made news for adding support for the FLAC lossless audio format, making Amazon Music a strong competitor to Tidal.
One of the things you notice is that Amazon has created a bit of confusion when it comes to its music streaming apps. For example, in the U.S., there’s Amazon Music Unlimited, and then there’s Prime Music (part of the Prime bundle, which offers 2 million songs). But in India, Amazon offers tens of millions of songs to Prime subscribers at no extra cost.
Anyway, here we will talk about Amazon Music Unlimited.
What are the best features of Amazon Music Unlimited?
- The user interface is convenient but doesn’t look as good as Spotify and Tidal.
- Provides access to over 50 million songs spread across different genres, and curated into playlists.
- Shows real-time song lyrics just like Apple Music.
- Supports lossless audio format similar to Tidal, known as Amazon Music HD.
- The search bar is efficient but doesn’t support context-based queries.
- Includes built-in sleep timer that turns of music playback automatically.
- Provides a dedicated screen for managing connected devices.
- Amazon Music comes with Alexa integration for a hands-free experience.
- Supports volume normalization, gives different quality options for streaming and offline downloads.
What’s the downside?
- It does not support audio crossfade like Spotify.
- Can’t be used to play locally stored files.
- Does not offer any free version.
- Confusing choice of music streaming plans.
How much does an Amazon Music subscription cost?
- Non-Prime users: $9.99/mo, For Prime users: $7.99/mo
- Family Plan (Prime only): $14.99/mo (add 5 more family members)
- HD: $14.99/mo (90-day Free Trial), For Prime: $12.99/mo
- HD Family: $19.99/mo (90-day free trial)