Free Music Websites
When the last song you heard is stuck on repeat in your head, you can either drive yourself nuts by humming it incessantly or you can try to drive the tune out by listening to something new. Any of the free music websites listed below are sure to help you find the relief you’re looking for, and you might even discover some new favorite tunes along the way.
Additionally, these sites can help you get in the zone while working, liven up your party, or energize you while working out, and more.
Click on the blue links below to access the free music websites. Sites are listed alphabetically for organizational purposes only, and order does not designate one site as being better than another.
This site features user-created playlists consisting of 8 tracks or more (hence the name). Discover playlists by searching by mood, genre, or artist. When you find playlists that you enjoy you can like them, so that you can easily access them again. If you’re feeling brave, you can become a DJ, and upload your own playlist for others to enjoy.
Advertising is featured on the site along the right hand side, but there is no audio advertising to interrupt your music listening. There is a limitation in the number of songs you can skip per playlist, and playlists are shuffled each time you listen to them due to licensing requirements.
8Tracks also has a mobile app, which allows you to access your liked playlists, or search for new ones. However, at the time of testing the app was a buggy on the Motorola Droid X2, causing frequent crashes. Your experience may differ with the app.
A different sort of free music website, Google Play allows you to store your existing MP3’s in the cloud, and access them via the website or mobile app. To do this, download the utility on your computer, and the point it to the folder location of your MP3’s. Once uploaded, you can access your personal music collection from anywhere that has internet access.
You can also receive access to new music for free, by selecting the option during the signup process. When selected, new songs will be released periodically, and automatically added to your collection. With your Google Play account, you can also purchase albums at a discounted rate, some as low as $3.99 per album.
Your music on Google Play is also accessible through the free mobile app, which seems to work well with many different versions of Android phones without issue.
Unlike most other music sites, Grooveshark allows you to pick the artists and songs you want to listen to, without having to sit through songs you don’t want to hear. Although a little more time consuming to queue up, since you can’t just hit play on a playlist and continue about your business, Grooveshark is very useful when you know exactly what you want to hear.
There is a radio portion available, and in theory it is useful, as you can queue up songs you like, and then turn on the radio and it will play songs that are similar to the ones in the queue. However, the radio feature often plays songs and artists that are completely unrelated to what you have queued up. So far, the radio portion is the least helpful part of the service (your mileage may vary).
The service is useful for favoriting songs that you love, as you can easily add songs to your collection for quick access later. Additionally, you can create your own playlists, and share them with others.
Additionally, the service is helpful for discovering new music, as you can search for artists you enjoy, and then click on Related Artists, and find a whole list of artists who you may enjoy too.
While there are advertisements on the site, they are only displayed on the right hand side of the page, and do not get in the way of listening to music. You can sign up and use Grooveshark for free, but they charge to use the service on your mobile device (downloading the app is free, however).
A streaming radio service, Last.fm not only plays music based off the artists you like, but it keeps track of what you listen to, and helps you discover new music all at the same time.
After you sign up for the free service, you can immediately begin customizing your personal radio station by selecting artists you like. From there, you can explore similar artists to discover new music. However, the service not only allows you to discover new music manually, it will also suggest artists and songs you may like based on your current likes and preferences. There is also a “recommended artists” station you can access to easily find new music based on your tastes.
Additionally, you can download the Last.fm Scrobbler, and it will track your MP3’s as you listen to them on your computer, automatically adding those artists to your list of music you like. The Scrobbler interacts with various other services too. If you have an 8Tracks account, you can link it with your Last.fm account, and scrobble songs on 8Tracks, allowing Last.fm to keep up with your listening tastes.
If you don’t want to listen to your personalized radio station, you can create new stations by typing in up to 3 different filters, typically by artist or genre. For example, you can listen to a station that features pop, alternative rock, and female artists.
Last.fm does have audio advertisements, however they aren’t too intrusive. Generally you hear one commercial each time you start a new station. Additionally, a commercial will play every hour or two, briefly interrupting your listening. Luckily, you can turn the volume down on advertisements.
There is a mobile app available, and it is free to download. However, you can only use the mobile app for free for a short time before you are charged a usage fee.
Having been around for a few years, Pandora tends to be one of the better known free music services. While it is a streaming radio service, what makes Pandora different is that it is a part of the Music Genome Project, which pairs songs together based upon similar characteristics, instead of their pre-described industry labeling. This allows for a broader, more diverse experience for listeners.
With Pandora, you search for artists, genres, or composers that you like, and then the service builds a station based off of those preferences. If you don’t like the selection added, you can always tell the service to add more diversity into your list. Additionally, you can save playlists to access them later. Pandora allows you to shuffle all of your saved lists, allowing you to create a station that is uniquely yours and fits most of your moods and tastes.
When a song plays, Pandora will display information about the song, including a copy of the lyrics (if available), information on the artists, and suggestions for similar artists.
Pandora has audio advertising that plays from time to time, interrupting your listening; however you can remove these ads by paying for the service, which is relatively inexpensive (only $36 for the entire year). You can also listen to Pandora for free on your mobile device.
One of the newer free music websites available, Songza touts itself as a music concierge service by allowing you to select music based upon activity or mood. When you first log in, it will ask you if you want to listen perfect for the exact day and time you are listening. However, you can also search by artist, genre, and more.
Songza is a free streaming radio service that groups songs together in playlists based on genre. What makes them different from other playlist driven free music websites is that Songza’s playlists are created by music industry experts, so the playlists tend to have a more polished feel to them.
You can favorite playlists you like, so that you can come back to them later. Or, explore new playlists by seeing what’s popular, or browsing all lists which allows you to view playlists by genre, activity, mood, decade, culture, or record store clerk.
Like the website, the mobile app is free to download and use. Occasionally the app crashes (on a Motorola Droid X2), but this happens infrequently so it’s not that annoying.
Instead of accessing music through a website, like other services, you need to install the Spotify software onto your computer to use the service. However, once you do, the program will allow you to manage and organize your personal MP3 files, but will also give you access to millions of songs you don’t own, just by searching for them.
When you sign up for a Spotify account, you receive unlimited access to music for the first 6 months; however after the trial period the free account is restricted to 10 hours per month of music. Otherwise, you will have to pay for an account to maintain unlimited access.
Similarly, the mobile app is available for free, with limited functionality. It will let you access your personal MP3s for free, and listen to some radio, but if you want to access the additional mobile features, you’re going to need a paid account.
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