The Best Free Music Apps

Whether it’s driving to work, or walking to class - many people want an accessible, user-friendly app that plays great music and helps pass the time. Free music apps save us from long downloads, by giving users the freedom to listen to whatever they want - whenever they want. With so many options, I bet you’re wondering how to choose just the right one. Worry not, this review is here to help. 


Spotify

Spotify is a user-friendly app that works well with and without WiFi. The app gives you the ability to listen to any album released by your favorite artists. Spotify gives users the ability to choose radio stations based on the music of their favorite artists. It also has a discover page which allows users to preview new music from popular artists similar to the bands they already listen to. The app also allows you to rewind and fast-forward songs and even skip songs altogether. But be warned— commercials appear every 2 or 3 songs. However a premium version of Spotify allows commercial-free listening on desktop and mobile for only $9.99 a month.

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Rdio

The  coolest feature on Rdio is its the ability to allow users to see what song is coming up next. This gives users the chance to also skip the song before it even plays. Its music library is just as expansive as Spotify.  Unlimited access to Rdio it is $10 a month, but for students it is only $5 a month.

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

iTunes Radio

iTunes Radio gives users the ability to select an artists' station based on specific genres. This app is great if you are a parent on a road trip with the kids in the car, because it provides a feature to edit out music with explicit lyrics. One major issue I found was, it was hard to listen to three songs without the station cutting out afterwards. I would not expect to maximize my experience using iTunes Radio unless there is a wireless hotspot present.

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Pandora

Pandora is best known for being the first to have artist-inspired radio stations, a feature which is now available on all of the other apps. Pandora is best at playing artists within the same genre. When it comes to quality, I feel Pandora gives the best experience. However, Pandora’s greatest strength is also its biggest weakness: the system allows you to give a thumbs up if you like the song and a thumbs down if you dislike the song. But disliking the song automatically results in skipping it. Alternatively, Pandora's paid version (Pandora One) offers longer waiting periods in between commercials, and higher quality music. This service costs about $3.99 a month.

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

Sarah Witkowski / Knowledge Jam

In Review

Overall each app has its own unique characteristics, but they DO NOT all provide the same experience. If I were to choose one of the four, it would have to be Spotify. As a music junkie, I feel it provides the most freedom to listen to what I want... when I want. It may crash every once in a while, but the musical freedom it provides makes it worth your time and your money.