Is there an app like Spotify Premium but free?

Spotify launched in 2008 as an innovative new platform for streaming music online. It quickly became one of the most popular music services in the world. Spotify offers both a free, ad-supported version and a premium, paid version called Spotify Premium. As of 2022, Spotify has over 433 million monthly active users, with 180 million subscribing to the premium version (, 2022).

Spotify Premium provides an ad-free experience and additional features like offline listening for $9.99 per month. While the free version of Spotify provides access to Spotify’s entire music catalog, it has advertising interruptions and lacks some features available to paying subscribers. Many people wonder if there are good free alternatives to Spotify Premium that offer a similar premium music streaming experience.

Spotify Free vs Premium

One of the biggest differences between Spotify’s Free and Premium tiers is the latter’s complete lack of ads. With the free version, you’ll encounter both audio and visual ads periodically (Source). The Premium subscription eliminates all ad interruptions entirely.

Premium allows for unlimited skips, whereas the free version imposes significant skip limits – only six skips per hour allowed (Source). With Premium, you have complete control over playback and can skip as many tracks as you want.

The free tier is limited to shuffle play only on mobile, while Premium permits on-demand playback – the ability to select any song at any time. Downloads for offline listening are only available to paying subscribers as well (Source).

Overall, the Premium subscription lifts all major restrictions of the free service, providing an ad-free, fully on-demand listening experience with unlimited skips and downloads. However, the free tier still allows for an ample music catalog if you don’t mind shuffle play and occasional ad interruptions.

Top Free Spotify Alternatives

There are several free music streaming apps that can serve as good alternatives to Spotify’s free tier. Some of the top options include:


Pandora (Source 1) is one of the most popular free music streaming services. It offers ad-supported free streaming radio stations that are customized based on your tastes. You can thumbs up and thumbs down songs to further tune the stations. Pandora has a large catalog of over 2 million songs. However, it lacks on-demand playback for specific songs and albums.


SoundCloud (Source 2) is a great option for unsigned and independent artists. It has a massive collection of remixes, covers, and other user-generated content you won’t find anywhere else. You can stream music and podcasts for free with ads. SoundCloud lacks the robust radio features of Pandora and Spotify.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music (Source 3) gives you access to official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio plus YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos. The free, ad-supported tier lacks advanced features like offline listening. But it provides a solid alternative for free on-demand streaming.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music has a free ad-supported tier in the US, UK, and Germany. It provides access to top playlists and thousands of stations for free. While the catalog is more limited compared to paid plans, the free tier still provides a decent alternative with ads.

Apple Music

Apple Music doesn’t have a free streaming tier. However, it provides a 3 month free trial for new subscribers to test out the service before paying. Apple Music has over 90 million songs and 30,000 playlists along with music videos, livestreams and more.


Pandora is one of the most popular free music streaming services. According to BusinessofApps, Pandora currently has over 63 million monthly active users and 6.2 million paying subscribers. Pandora offers users the ability to create customized stations based on artists or songs they like. The free version of Pandora provides unlimited skips and replays but includes audio ads. Some key features of Pandora include:


  • Ad-supported free tier
  • Premium tier without ads
  • Customizable radio stations
  • Mobile app availability
  • Podcast streaming


  • Simple interface
  • Effective radio algorithm
  • Wide selection of music and podcasts
  • Downloading capability for offline listening (premium only)


  • Limited skips and replays for free users
  • No on-demand track selection
  • Fewer features than premium services
  • Occasional repetitive songs

The main limitations of Pandora’s free service are the inclusion of audio ads and restrictions on skips/replays. Additionally, Pandora lacks many premium features like offline downloading, song choice, and high quality audio. However, for casual listening, Pandora provides a solid free option to enjoy music and podcasts.


SoundCloud is a popular free music streaming service that lets you listen to songs, albums, playlists, and podcasts. It has a huge catalog of over 200 million tracks from emerging and established artists across many genres like EDM, hip hop, rock, pop, classical and more (SoundCloud DJ Maus).

Some key features of SoundCloud include:

  • Ability to stream an extensive music catalog for free
  • User profiles where artists and creators can upload and share their content
  • Playlists curated by SoundCloud and users
  • Like and repost tracks to share with others
  • Desktop and mobile apps available

As far as pros, SoundCloud gives you access to a massive free music library from well-known and rising artists. It allows creators to easily share their content through profiles and get discovered. The search and recommendation features make finding new music simple.

However, there are some limitations. The free tier has audio ads between tracks and limits offline and ad-free listening. There is no ability to select specific tracks or albums like paid services. The mobile app lacks some features too. Overall audio quality can vary between tracks.

YouTube Music

YouTube Music is a music streaming service developed by YouTube. It provides access to official songs, albums, thousands of playlists and artist radio stations, as well as YouTube’s catalog of remixes, live performances, covers and music videos.

Some of the key features of YouTube Music include:

  • Streaming over 70 million official songs and albums;
  • Listening to music for free with ads or through a paid subscription;
  • Uploading up to 100,000 personal tracks for streaming;
  • Downloading music for offline listening (paid subscription only);
  • Ad-free listening, background play, and downloading with YouTube Music Premium.

YouTube Music has some advantages over other free streaming services:

  • Huge catalog of remixes, live versions, covers and music videos;
  • Integration with your YouTube account and recommendations;
  • Ability to easily find and play music you’ve listened to on YouTube before.

However, there are some downsides to using YouTube Music:

  • Audio quality limited to 128kbps for free users;
  • No ability to listen to specific albums or playlists in order;
  • Music recommendations can sometimes be off-target.

The free, ad-supported version of YouTube Music has limited functionality. Premium unlocks features like:

  • Higher 256kbps audio quality;
  • Background listening;
  • Downloads for offline listening;
  • No ads.

So while YouTube Music offers a free streaming option, the experience is limited compared to the paid Premium version.

Amazon Music

Amazon Music provides access to over 75 million songs to stream or download for offline listening. Some key features include:


  • Ad-free streaming
  • High quality audio up to HD and Ultra HD for premium plans
  • Stream or download songs for offline listening
  • Alexa integration to request songs hands-free
  • Curated playlists and stations


  • Competitive pricing with subscription plans starting at $7.99/month for Prime members
  • HD and Ultra HD quality audio available with premium plans
  • Seamless integration with Alexa and Amazon Echo devices
  • Large catalog of songs available to stream or download


  • Mobile app and features not as robust as Spotify
  • Lacks Spotify’s personalization and discovery features
  • Fewer users globally so less socially integrated
  • No free ad-supported tier like Spotify


  • Only individual and family plans available, no student or group plans
  • HD and Ultra HD limited to certain songs and requires premium plan upgrade
  • Downloading songs only available on mobile apps
  • Podcasts limited compared to Spotify

Apple Music

Apple Music is the second largest music streaming service after Spotify with 15% market share. Launched in 2015, it offers access to over 90 million songs and 30,000 playlists.

Some key features of Apple Music include:

  • Stream songs, albums, playlists, and music videos
  • Download music to listen offline
  • Get personalized recommendations
  • Access exclusive content like new releases and interviews
  • Share and collaborate on playlists with friends
  • Listen across devices like iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Android, Mac, PC, and HomePod

Pros of Apple Music include its deep integration with Apple devices, human-curated playlists, exclusives like new albums, high audio quality, and Family Sharing plan. However, it has some limitations – the Android app isn’t as robust, there’s no free tier, and sharing and social features are lacking compared to Spotify.

While Apple Music offers a comparable catalog and features to Spotify, its main appeal is for users deeply embedded in the Apple ecosystem. With limited social features and no free ad-supported tier, it has less appeal for casual listeners. Still, Apple Music stands out for its high-quality curation and audio fidelity.

Other Options

For those searching for more niche Spotify alternatives, there are a few smaller apps worth checking out:

Free Spotify Alternatives: 25+ Music Streaming Services Jango is an ad-supported radio-style music streaming service. It creates custom stations based on your favorite artists and songs. While the free version is ad-supported, they also offer an ad-free premium version for $4.99/month.

Another option is Alternatives to Spotify that are open-source and ad-free. offers streaming stations for sports, news, podcasts, and music. The music selection includes stations for popular genres like pop and hip hop as well as more niche genres. Registration is free.

For those specifically looking for Spotify’s social features, Soundwave and GonnaHear are smaller social music apps that allow you to share music and follow friends. While limited in overall music selection, they offer a similar social experience.

Exploring up-and-coming apps like these can reveal some hidden gems with interesting features not found in the major music platforms.


To sum up, here are the best free Spotify alternatives discussed in this article:

  • Pandora – Offers customizable radio stations and limited on-demand listening. Good option for passive listening.
  • SoundCloud – Massive library focused on emerging and indie artists. Allows uploading your own tracks.
  • YouTube Music – Gives access to official songs, covers, and live performances. Video integration sets it apart.
  • Amazon Music – Basic Prime plan has 2 million songs. Can upgrade for more features.
  • Apple Music – 3 month free trial. Large catalog of over 75 million songs.

Overall, Pandora is the top pick for free streaming radio, while SoundCloud is best for discovering new music. Both provide a solid free alternative. YouTube Music is great if you want video integration, and their large catalog makes it one of the closest competitors to Spotify.

For the most robust on-demand streaming experience similar to Spotify, try the free trials from Apple Music or Amazon Music. While Apple Music has a bigger catalog, Amazon Prime members can get their free plan included.

Just keep in mind that most free services have ads, limited skipping, and lower audio quality than paid plans. But they provide a great way to enjoy music without paying a dime.

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