Do you remember when you drove your first car? What was the first song you blared over the radio?
Our life events often reflect the music of the era. More often than not, specific memories relate to particular songs. That’s why music has become such an ingrained part of our day-to-day world.
In the 80’s we made mixtapes to capture the lyrics that tug at our heartstrings. In the 90’s we made CDs with tracks to give to our love interests. In the early 2000’s we made playlists for our iPods to listen to while we worked out.
Today we stream music and create our unique radio stations. Our individual stations play songs that are specific to our tastes in genre, artist, and era. We’ve come a long way!
One of the perks of 2019 is that we have instant access to unlimited catalogs of music. Gone are the days that we have to wait for our favorite new hit to come on the radio. We don’t have to listen to Casey Kasem run down the American Top 40 on a Sunday morning. All we have to do is turn on our smartphone and run through an expansive list of available apps to find the song that’s been stuck in our head all day.
The best part is that not only are there a ton of apps to choose from, but there are also plenty that are free. For the mere trade of listening to an occasional ad, you can access all the great music your heart desires.
Below we outline nine apps that you can use to stream music for free. So charge those AirPods, get the texting finger ready to search the app store, and settle in for a day of free music enjoyment.
8tracks is a free music app that offers listeners access to playlists, handcrafted by other listeners. A great feature of the app is that it allows users to create profiles, where they share their favorite playlists or post ones they have created. Users can “like” other users’ collections, playlists, or add some of the other users’ favorite tracks to their playlist.
The app is interactive and user-friendly. We find it comparable to a social networking site built on one common interest — a love of good music.
AccuRadio provides almost 1000 different channels to users. Through these channels, users can select unique options such as themed composer channels or mood focused music. It’s a different take on music streaming and one that allows a little less flexibility in choice than other apps.
AccuRadio boasts two incredible features, though, that keep users coming back for more.
The first is that it allows listeners an unlimited number of “skips.” “Skips” enable users to bypass songs they don’t like. Other apps limit the number of “skips” a user can use.
The second feature is that AccuRadio is 100% free. There are no upgrades, ad-skipping packages, or any other sort of enticing aspect that provokes a user to put forth the money to use the app.
Apple Music is not a free app. We want to set the stage that we know this fact, and we don’t want you to think we don’t. Apple Music does offer users a free 30-day trial to give those interested a glimpse into what membership offers.
Hear us out on why it may be worthwhile to pay for Apple Music. With Apple Music, you have unlimited access to 50 million songs, and you’re able to download 100,000 songs to your personal library.
We don’t know of anywhere else you will be able to gain access to this much music, let alone on any free platform. While you will pay for it, you’ll also have total autonomy over what you’re listening to. For some people, this is a perk worth paying for.
Plus, you can earn free gift cards for iTunes, so Apple Music can be kind of free.
Deezer is similar to other platforms like Pandora and Spotify. You have the option to utilize it in a free capacity. However, you’ll have to tolerate ads and a limited number of skips. It’s worth mentioning, in the free version, you’ll only have access to music when your mobile device connects to Wi-Fi.
If you choose to upgrade Deezer, you’ll have more control in all three of the methods mentioned above. Upgraded packages offer two options, with the premium selection allowing you to tap into a 30-day free trial. Additionally, you can download your favorite tracks and listen to them even if you’re not on Wi-Fi. If you’re someone who travels often, or whose smartphone has a lot of storage, then upgrading may be worth your while to have access to music at all times.
I Heart Radio
I Heart Radio offers users a unique twist on free streaming. While other platforms limit users to listening to music, I Heart Radio provides access to radio stations around the country and podcasts.
I Heart Radio takes the idea of free listening to the next level. With offerings that expand beyond music, it’s a one-stop-shop for any method of auditory entertainment. Similar to other apps mentioned, you do have upgrade options. However, the introductory package is free, and that’s a price range we are comfortable with.
Jango reminds us of an older Pandora. With straightforward, user-friendly navigation, it’s an easy option for someone less experienced with technology.
Like Deezer and AccuRadio, Jango builds off of channels that are custom created to specific genres, holidays, or eras. The variety of stations available is a bit limited, in comparison to other platforms. Simplicity is key with this particular option. Those who know what they like, and don’t need a lot of variety will find comfort in Jango.
Pandora is one of the free music streaming app world’s originals. Despite the app’s longevity in the field, they’ve managed to stay ahead of the curve with their offerings, while still maintaining a free option.
Like many others, Pandora has advertisements and a limited ability to utilize the app’s capabilities without paying. You will still have to tolerate ads and limited skips, but with Pandora, you know what you’re getting. There’s something about a tried and true app, and tried and true is exactly what Pandora is.
Slacker Radio is now known as LiveXlLive Powered by Slacker
Slacker Radio recently underwent re-branding when they joined forces with LiveXLive. A fresh new aspect of this partnership is the option to listen to music live. The site boasts that no other platform offers this option. We haven’t done our comprehensive research on this claim, but we do admit that this is the first time we’ve seen this listening choice.
Another aspect that makes this option more versatile is that the upgrade options are lower priced. If you did decide to forgo free listening in favor of paid membership, then you could do that as low as $3.99/month with Slacker.
Back to the live listening feature. We can’t help but wonder how cool it would be to listen to a favorite band live broadcast a studio session or performance. The more we consider this unique feature, the more we’re inclined to give Slacker Radio, now known as LiveXLive Powered by Slacker, a try.
A final option we like is Spotify. Spotify operates much like the other platforms we’ve mentioned above. With the ability to create playlists, we love this app as one that will enable users to take full control of their music listening experience.
Spotify is another one that offers the choice to listen to podcasts on their app. Our favorite characteristic, though, was the ability to view the playlists of artists, celebrities, or friends. If you’re wondering what your next-door neighbor is listening to, then you can find out and start listening, too.
Finally, Spotify has a TON (and we mean a ton!) of add on apps that can enhance your listening experience. You can adjust the quality of your music, your privacy while operating in the app, and even transfer songs you’ve downloaded on other apps to Spotify. It seems the tech world has put the time and effort into enhancing the Spotify experience, and it makes it an app worth your time.
The Bottom Line
Streaming free music has never been easier. You can find a myriad of free options to create soundtracks for every day of your life. If you want to create memories to music, 2019 is the time to do it.
We suggest trying out multiple streaming options to provide the maximum amount of variety to your listening. There’s no limit on how many platforms you can use or sign up for. It makes listening even more comfortable if you know what app and station are going to fit your current mood best.
With the evolving technology involved in streaming music, we can assure you we’ll be back to revaluate free options in the future. Until that time, happy listening!
Michael launched Wealth of Geeks to make personal finance fun. He has worked in personal finance for over 20 years, helping families reduce taxes, increase their income, and save for retirement. Michael is passionate about personal finance, side hustles, and all things geeky.