Pandora is popular for a reason. For most people, and I'd have to agree, it's the best app for streaming music.
Enter your favorite artist and Pandora will play songs by them along with similar artists that Pandora recommends. This is the easiest way to find new music similar to the songs you already love.
As you listen, you can rate songs so that Pandora will play more music like that again, or will not play songs like that if you dislike the song—it learns and improves suggestions based on your ratings.
You can also bookmark your favorite artists to access them later.
The Pandora app really works best when you're connected to Wi-Fi so you can stream the songs with little to no buffering.
Register for free with Pandora and you'll be able to save your stations and ratings across the phone app and their website if you also listen on your computer.
You can also visit Pandora on a computer to listen from there.
Shazam is a very cool free music app that you should have for those times when you don't know the name of the song you hear in a store, during a movie, in the car, etc.
Shazam listens to a song that's being played and then tells you the name of the song and the artist. You then have the option of sharing your discovery, watching a music video of it on YouTube, playing it in Spotify, finding tour information, viewing a discography, reading album reviews, and creating a Pandora station based on that artist.
Each song that's identified through Shazam will then be saved as a tag. You can share these tags with your friends and view their discoveries as well.
Sometimes, depending on the song that Shazam identifies, you can even watch the lyrics scroll by as you listen along!
If you create a user account, you can view all your Shazamed music from a computer.
Spotify is an awesome music app that lets you follow artists and sync music from your desktop. Similar to Pandora, you can create a radio station so Spotify will play recommended music based on your initial interest.
You can find music by viewing top lists and new releases as well as by searching for playlists and your favorite artists and albums. You can even add your favorite songs to a Spotify music library and then play them again later.
One thing that makes playlists so enjoyable with Spotify is that anyone can make one and share it with others, where they can play the same songs in their own app. For example, this Spotify playlist is perfect for streaming Christmas music.
The app allows several different push notifications like for when a new album has been released for an artist that you're following and when a playlist has been updated.
If you just need a radio app for your mobile device, iHeartRadio has you covered. It supports tons of devices, has awesome features, shows zero commercials, and finds nearby radio stations with ease.
You can also listen to podcasts and create your own music stations based on your favorite songs, search for stations, and look in categories like 80s and 90s hits, alternative, holiday, classical, rock, oldies, and more to find the music you'll like the most.
Your favorite stations can be saved as presets and even set as an alarm clock complete with a daily schedule and snooze option. You can also use the iHeartRadio music app to set a sleep timer to turn off a radio station after so-many minutes or hours.
The iHeartRadio also lets you view lyrics as you listen, see an artist's biography, and share a station with others.
Slacker Radio is a free music app that has pre-programmed streaming radio stations for just about every genre you can think of.
While listening to these stations you can fine tune them to play more of the songs that you like or leave things a bit more open to find new kinds of music.
You can also create new stations and playlists as well as keep track of your favorite songs and recently played songs.
If you love radio but want the convenience of it on your smartphone, then you'll want to check out the free music app from TuneIn.
TuneIn lets you find and listen to local radio stations wherever you are and save them as presets. I love to use this feature while I'm traveling.
You can also enter a song or artist and you'll instantly have a list of all the radio stations around the country that play that song or artist. With a push of a button you can then listen to that radio station from your phone.
You can also access podcasts and sports radio through this app.
If you really like TuneIn you may want to buy their pro app which allows you to record what you're hearing on the radio.
SoundCloud contains tons of audio uploaded by other users, so it includes both homemade audio and music from up-and-coming artists.
You can search for music, artists, and audio as well as follow other users to keep track of their new uploads. A combined 10+ hours of audio is posted every minute from the users, which means you can surely find something interesting to listen to.
Playlists can be built on the iPhone so you can create a customized stream of your favorite music and share the playlists with others.
Some devices even let you record and upload your own audio right through the app.
If you create a user account, you can access your saved songs and other data from both the app and the SoundCloud website.
If you just want to listen to your own music library ad-free and on the go without any radio stations or unwanted music getting in the way, Google Play Music is the perfect app to do so.
You can upload up to 50,000 of your own songs to your Google account and then instantly have access to all of it with an easy to use app. You can play your music in shuffle mode, create custom playlists, or just manually choose specific songs to play at any time without any limitations.
Once you've had the app for awhile, you can start an "I'm feeling lucky mix" to play audio from your library based on the music you listen to most, or create a regular mix from any song to play music similar to it.
If you want more from the Google Play Music app, you can subscribe to an all access pass, which lets you discover and save new music to your account for a monthly fee.
Google Play Music works in a browser as well as through an app with any of the below devices.
Musi is a simple app that lets you add videos from YouTube and SoundCloud to your own custom playlists. The app will stream the music through iOS so you can use the regular volume and playback controls without having to keep the app open.
In other words, if you've ever wanted to keep playing music when you close the YouTube app, this is the app for you.
You can manually search for music or browse through the popular and trending songs, as well as look through the videos by genre or import already-made playlists directly from YouTube.
The sleep timer lets you set a timer for when music should shut off, a perfect feature if you like to listen to YouTube as you fall asleep.
Because videos are displayed, you're able to change the streaming settings from HQ to standard to save on data usage.
An unlimited number of playlists can be built with Musi, but the app is ad-supported.
App Available for: iOS (iPad, iPhone, iPod touch)
8tracks is another radio app for mobile devices that lets you listen to ad-free music through mixes that each contain eight tracks. You can browse through staff-picked mixes, featured, popular, and trending ones as well as share mixes, comment on them with other users, and like the mixes for recommendations of similar music.
Mixes can also be found by searching for an artist or by activity, mood, or genre. As you add filters like "happy," and "summer," mixes are instantly shown on the bottom of the screen from where you can start playing them instantly.
Tracks you "favorite" are collected together and can be viewed later on SoundCloud or YouTube.
The Top 10 Free Music Apps
The Best Free Music Apps for Your Mobile Device
These free music apps will help you listen to music in just about every different way imaginable. These are the best free music apps to help you listen to your personal music library, discover new artists, identify songs, listen to streaming music, and find radio stations near you.
All of these music apps are completely free and most are compatible with both Android and iPhone. Use the link to download or find them in the online store on your phone. You'll be up and running in no time with a free music app that you won't be able to remember how you lived without.