The industry of music-listening has changed significantly over the past decade. Heading out to the record shop to pick up the newest release of your favorite artist used to be a weekly occurrence. Listening to music required a hands-on experience – place record on turntable, listen to side one, flip record, listen to side two, repeat.
Now, not only can you skip the lines at the record store, but you don’t even have to purchase most music from your favorite artists unless you want to store it on your computer for all-time. Streaming music services have replaced album purchasing and changed the way we listen to music. We’ve got a list of the best apps to stream music on your iPhone or iPad today.
In June of 2015, Apple launched its own brand of streaming music service. Similar to some of the most popular services in the industry, Apple Music lets you listen to hundreds of thousands of tracks from all genres of music covering all levels of popularity. You can download music for offline listening, create playlists, and listen to the exclusive live 24/7 radio program, Beats 1. You can also stream new albums either on the day they launch or shortly after, and get specially curated recommendation based on music you have “liked” in the past. It is supported on iOS, OS X, watchOS, and tvOS. Apple Music costs $9.99 per month, but starts you off with a free, 90-day trial period. It is available within the Music app on your iPhone.
SoundCloud is a music discovery app that brings together professionals and hobbyists alike. You can find tracks from the most popular artists of the year, or upload your own creations for others to hear. When viewing a track you are listening to, you can also see comments that others have posted about it. The app makes it easy to find more trending tracks or listen to your favorite songs. You can easily access music you’ve favorited in your Collections section without having to search for it. Music is organized by popularity, trending, and likes. This app is available for free.
YouTube has been around long enough now that there are thousands upon thousands of clips, uploaded by official channels, so you can hear the songs you want to hear and watch the music videos you want to watch. Based on your activity on YouTube, the Home tab will provide you with personalized recommendation and stations. You can listen to trending hits, full albums, remixes, and more. You can start a radio station based on one specific song, or listen to the artist’s entire discography. For $13 per month, you can access YouTube Red, which removes ads and lets you download videos for offline listening. This app is available for free.
Spotify gives you a lot of control over the free music that you listen to. It is one of the most popular music services in the App Store and is available around the world. With a premium account, you have instant access to millions of songs, one of the most available on any music streaming service so far. You can search for bands and artists by name, song, and album, or browse by genre. If you don’t have a premium account, you can still listen for free in the U.S. since the company does offer its radio service to free account holders. This app is available for free.
I still remember the first time I discovered Pandora. I couldn’t believe there was a service that let you listen to a bunch of music without making you pay. I loved the “Music Genome Project” that would try to hone in on what you wanted to listen to by offering similar attributes. Unlike other music streaming services, Pandora takes into account the style of guitar, vocal melodies, and rhythm to suggest songs for you to listen to. The more you like or dislike something, the better your radio station gets. You can also read lyrics, band bios, and album discographies for every song that is played. This app is available for free.
This is a useful subscription-based music app for tablet owners. The user interface on the iPad is exceptionally designed. You can either listen to pre-programmed stations from the Slacker team’s best playlists, or find your own music by searching. You can download music into the offline section and listen to music while lost in the woods. This service also features news, sports, and comedy tracks. Plus, you can listen to the radio portion for free for an unlimited amount of time. If your backyard party lasts two days, so will Slacker Radio. This app is available for free.
If you prefer your music to appeal to a broader audience, which is great for parties, try TuneIn. This app features 70,000 different live Internet radio stations, plus two million podcasts, concerts and shows. You can browse by genre, local radio, what is trending, and type of radio including news, sports, language, and more. If you have a TuneIn.com account, you can access all of your favorite stations just by logging in. This app is available for free. There is also a pro version that removes ads.
What do you think are the best music streaming apps for iPhone? Share your picks in the comment section below.