Best free music services in 2020: Drowning out the pandemic with streaming tunes

With many people caught in our dwelling places of work through the pandemic, the silence will get fairly boring. Chances are you’ll require tunes to work — or perhaps you might want to drown out the distractions. Both manner, whereas there are quite a few music streaming companies properly value paying for, there’s additionally loads of stuff that you may entry at no cost.

Additionally: Take a look at the Jason Squared podcast on ZDNet

A lot of the paid companies additionally supply free trials. We have listed companies right here with fully free tiers, although you may improve to a better degree of service to take away adverts, improve the dimensions of the music library, enable extra skips, or enhance stream high quality in bitrate.

Disclosure: ZDNet might earn an affiliate fee from among the merchandise featured on this web page. ZDNet and the creator weren’t compensated for this unbiased assessment.

Streaming platforms

A streaming platform is a cloud-based service that has a catalog of music sometimes sorted by style or artist. These comprise playlists of albums or different thematic methods of sorting (comparable to by a long time, model, or temper) in order that the music will be randomly accessed. They both have apps or web sites and will be built-in with a sensible speaker machine (Amazon Echo, Google House, Sonos), however some (comparable to YouTube or Deezer) require paying for the premium tiers.

It’s good to be a Prime customer


  • High quality: N/A 
  • Information: N/A 
  • Library dimension: 50 million+ 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, desktop app, net participant, linked speaker help, vehicles

The free tier for Prime customers options greater than two million songs and greater than 2,000 playlists and stations — all ad-free, with limitless skips and out there for offline playback.

View Now at Amazon

Spotify Free

The world’s hottest streaming service, in a free model


  • High quality: 160kbps, 96Kbps for cell machine customers 
  • Files: MP3, M4P, MP4 
  • Library dimension: 45 million+ 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, desktop app, net participant, sensible TV apps, linked speaker help, and vehicles

Some of us, like my Jason Squared podcast colleague Jason Cipriani, discover the native software interface complicated. Following an artist isn’t the identical as including the artist to your library. Nevertheless, the service would not require the native interface, because the free model will be simply built-in into streaming gadgets comparable to Sonos, which makes use of its personal native UX. However there’s plenty of content material right here to get pleasure from, and targeted genres for rock, pop, indie, moods, new releases, throwbacks, and charts.

Google your tunes


  • High quality: 128kbps 
  • Information: AAC 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps

The search big has all kinds of music, with good cell apps, however it’s closely ad-supported. It has wonderful search options too, with a lot of stay music recordings.

View Now at Google

One of the oldest is still one of the best


  • High quality: 64kbps 
  • Information: N/A
  • Library dimension: 30 million+ 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, Internet UX, sensible machine integration

With Pandora, music is created “thematically.” You selected a bunch of artists, and it figures out what tastes you might have, and it offers you music based mostly on that music model. Adverts are frequent.

View Now at Pandora

It’s live!


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit 
  • Information: N/A 
  • Library dimension: 13 million 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, Internet UX, sensible machine integration, linked vehicles

This can be a stay music platform for concert events and festivals, audio stations, authentic exhibits, and podcasts.

View Now at LiveXLive


Vive le France!


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit 
  • Information: MP3, FLAC 
  • Library dimension: 56 million 
  • Platforms: OS and Android apps, Internet UX

This can be a Paris-based firm that has been in enterprise for over 13 years with a really massive music library. There’s periodic audio adverts between songs, solely 128 kbps MP3 audio high quality, and 5 music skips per hour.

Streaming radio networks

Streaming radio networks will be differentiated from the streaming platforms. They’re primarily composed of stay broadcasting radio stations which have queued music mixed with programming. Many are precise radio broadcast stations which have created a “feed” of what’s occurring on their networks stay. 

Whereas some are internet-exclusive stations, most radio stations are native properties. They’ve DJs with common packages and play regionally common types of music and artists (comparable to ska and reggae in elements of the Caribbean and the UK). The stay content material consists of native commercials that can’t be ignored. Some radio networks have channels with a thematic nature with related categorization because the streaming companies, like by a long time, genres, and moods.

Embrace the weird


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS, Android and desktop apps, sensible integration with Sonos gadgets

With Sonos Radio, there aren’t any skips, and it has a 128ok bitrate. However there may be plenty of attention-grabbing stuff and channels. It requires the Sonos app for iOS/Android/desktop to play on Sonos solely. The streaming radio community is included at no cost with each Sonos system and was just lately re-launched with plenty of new content material, together with many varieties of genres and featured native radio. Band community streams (Disney, ESPN, BBC, and many others) and two specialty stations (“Sound System” and “Within the Absence Thereof” curated by none apart from Radiohead’s Thom Yorke) are additionally included.

View Now at SONOS

Radio blended with themed music selections


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit 
  • Information: MP3, FLAC 
  • Library dimension: 20 million 
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

iHeartRadio is one thing of a hybrid between a streaming platform and a radio service, because it has over 20 million songs in its stock which might be labeled and searchable by artist. It has over 1,500 browsable radio stations. Stations/Channels will be chosen based mostly on the performing artist (i.e., The Rolling Stones), and music is set based mostly on that artist’s music model — not essentially the artist itself, much like Pandora.

View Now at iHeartRadio

Tune out from the pandemic in high-quality sound


  • High quality: 320kbps, 32-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

Though TuneIn appears to be similar to iHeartRadio, there are some key variations. TuneIn has solely radio stations (over 100,000 to select from) and podcasts (5.7 million), and it distinguishes itself by having as much as a 320Kbps bitrate, which delivers excellent sound high quality.

View Now at TuneIn

Genres galore


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

That is much like Pandora, with customized playlists. The streaming stations are structured by many varieties of themes and genres. AccuRadio is an unbiased, multichannel web radio property based in 2000, and it is based mostly in Chicago.

View Now at AccuRadio

If you like DJs who mix it up


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

Mixcloud has 1000’s of stations with on-line DJs who make their very own mashups and mixtapes, all of that are on-line radio stations enjoying specialised worldwide music of many sorts.

View Now at MixCloud

Anarchy in the UK


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

International (often known as International Media and Leisure) is a British media firm fashioned in 2007. It’s the proprietor of the most important industrial radio firm in Europe. International owns and operates seven core radio manufacturers, all using a nationwide community technique. The service options are fully free however ad-supported content material. You get. dozens of native British radio stations, plenty of channels, and hemes (a long time, chill, loosen up, and many others) by way of curated playlists.

View Now at Global Player

Rockin’ Matilda


  • High quality: 128kbps, 16-bit  
  • Platforms: iOS and Android apps, sensible machine integration, Internet UX

That is like International Participant, however all of the content material is from Australia! You get dozens of latest hit radio stations run by Southern Cross Austereo in Australia utilizing native DJ expertise, plus comedy programming. 

View Now at Hit Network