The internet has spoiled us with choices. The question is not where to find great content, but which of the many services work best for you. Streaming free music is no exception, so here are some of our favorite sites.
Spotify is one of the world’s most popular music streaming services. It has a radio-like experience with some on-demand features. Free users can stream ad-supported music while paying users can stream on demand, get offline access, and listen to ad-free music.
One of the features that sets Spotify apart are its recommendations. For example, the Discover Weekly playlist is a hugely popular feature that recommends 30 songs to you each Monday based on what you’ve been listening to. This and other features have made Spotify the most popular streaming service out there with over 70 million paying users.
Pandora is a great website to stream your favorite music and discover new music as well.
As you enter your favorite genre or artist in the search box on the homepage, Pandora creates a radio station for you that includes music similar to your selection. Based on the feedback you provide, Pandora makes decisions about which music to recommend next.
Just like all other services, Pandora’s free version is ad-supported. Pandora offers two paid plans—Plus and Premium. The Plus version costs $4.99 a month and gives you access to unlimited skips, unlimited replays, and higher quality audio. The Premium version costs $9.99 per month. It includes all the Plus features, gives you the access to the entire 40 million song database, and lets you store music offline on top of all the Plus features.
Google Play Music
Google Play Music has a giant music collection, and you can search for music or artists to start streaming immediately. Alternatively, you can visit the top charts or new releases section to listen to popular tracks. You can stream some music directly, but some require you to start a radio station.
One unique feature that only Google Play Music offers is letting you upload up to 50,000 of your legally-owned songs to the Google library that you can then stream anytime.
The service is ad-supported, but you can pay for a subscription to get rid of the ads. It costs $9.99 per month, but they also offer a family plan that supports up to six members and costs $14.99 per month.
iHeartRadio is a great music streaming website where you can listen to live radio or create your own channel with your favorite artists and genres. iHeartRadio is part of the iHeartMedia group, which is the largest broadcaster in the US.
And that’s the real selling point of the service; you can use it to listen to radio stations all over the US. They run over 850 channels, set up music events, and even produce events and concerts.
SoundCloud can be described as YouTube for music. It has a vast collection of music created by artists across the globe. Since it features music from independent artists, it does take a little more searching to find music you like. But, once you follow a few good artists, you can always find good music in your feed.
The free version of SoundCloud is ad-supported. It also offers a premium plan—SoundCloud Go+—that removes the ads and adds offline listening. SoundCloud Go+ runs $9.99 per month.
Another premium plan—SoundCloud Pro—is designed for the artists that share their music on SoundCloud. This plan provides higher upload limits, detailed analytics, and a few other features.
SHOUTcast is an interesting music streaming service that gives you access to over 89,000 radio stations from across the world. You can navigate the stations by Genre, or search for stations or artists. There is no sign-up required, and you can start streaming music in seconds.
But, SHOUTcast is not just a streaming service. It’s broadcasting tools allow you to start your radio station. The service is entirely free, and you can even monetize your radio station with the Targetspot Publisher Program.
AccuRadio is a great place not only to stream music but also to discover new music. Unlike some websites, AccuRadio’s interface is pretty straightforward. You can click any of the recommended artists or genres on the homepage, or you can search for your favorite music and start listening immediately.
Although AccuRadio is ad-supported, it does offer unlimited skipping of songs—something that most free streaming websites don’t offer. If you like to listen on the go, you can use AccuRadio’s mobile apps which are available for Android, iOS, and many other platforms.
Last.fm was one one of the first social networks and streaming services before other alternatives came along. It lets you stream music freely but also discover music based on what the community is listening to. Their “Scrobbles” feature claims to track what you’re listening to and recommend other music that you’d love. “Scrobbling” is done on the Last.fm website, but you can also connect with other music services like Spotify, SoundCloud, Google Play Music to get fine-tuned recommendations based on your taste.
While we wish that we could recommend just one of these websites as the best for your streaming needs, we can’t. Everyone has a different taste in music, and the sheer amount of music available makes it impossible to declare one service the best. We recommend that you have a go at all these sites find out for yourself which ones you like the most.
Image Credit: agsandrew/Shutterstock
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