Free music streaming

With music streaming services you can listen to the latest and greatest hits whenever and wherever. By putting up with a few ads or making use of free trials, you can do so without paying a penny. Here's our round-up of the best music streaming services that let you listen for free.

What is music streaming?

Streaming lets you listen to your favourite tracks and albums instantly. Its main boon is you get instant access to huge catalogues of music, without having hundreds of CDs cluttering up your house or thousands of MP3s filling up the memory of your devices.

These services are legal and above board, but on free services the music is often interrupted every now and then with an advert you can't skip. It can also be difficult to find the exact songs you want to hear, so free streaming services aren't for everyone.

streaming music on phone

There are two ways to access music online:

  • Streaming. Here you play tracks while you're online and every time you listen you're effectively 're-downloading' the track (unless you're on a plan with 'offline listening' where you can download tracks to listen to later). You'll only have access while logged in to your profile with the service (though many are free to use).

  • Paid downloading. Here you download the songs you want to listen to. Once you've paid for a track or album, it's yours to keep and listen to for as long as you like, and you can listen offline as well as online.

    This can be costly, especially if you're paying to download a whole album of songs, or you're paying for several albums. 

Quick questions

  • What do I need to watch out for?

    Before you consider streaming, a word of warning: ensure your broadband and mobile data connection have a generous data download limit. While you're not actually downloading a track to keep, streaming will use up your monthly allowance. Otherwise you risk being hit with added costs.

    As a general rule:

    You need a high (or unlimited) download limit, or you could be slapped with gargantuan charges.

    For example, if you're going to listen to about six hours of internet radio per week, and that is all you'll be doing, you'll need a monthly download allowance of at least 5GB.

    If you're going to be streaming more music, or doing other data-heavy things, like streaming movies, it's worth checking that your broadband package offers unlimited usage (most do these days), so you'll not have the worry of exceeding any limit – full details in the How to get cheap broadband guide.

    If you're streaming on a smartphone or tablet, use Wi-Fi whenever possible or switch to a deal that offers you more data if you want to listen on the go to avoid extra charges – see Best Sim-only deals for more info.

  • Is online music streaming legal?

    There are plenty of online music-streaming services that are legal, though thousands more aren't. The Government and internet providers are cracking down on the illegal ones, while some services only work in certain countries due to music licensing restrictions.

    All those included below are legal, and will work in the UK.

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Top free online music services

Here are a few music streaming providers with free versions worth considering. These all offer a completely free service you can use on an ongoing basis, though some such as Spotify also offer limited free trials of their paid-for service.

Over 100 million tracks, but can only listen on shuffle


Spotify logo.

Probably the biggest name in online music, the Spotify streaming service has over 500 million users around the world and over 100 million available tracks. While 200 million worldwide use the paid version (see below), it also offers free streaming with ads.

You can listen for free on smartphones and tablets via the Spotify app, but you can only listen on shuffle (you can skip six times per hour) and you must be online.

  • More info & features

    Spotify offers an array of extra features to both free and Premium users, such as being able to follow what friends are listening to and find music already on your computer, phone or tablet and add it to your Spotify library, so you can listen to it on other devices just by logging in to your account.

    Spotify automatically generates daily and weekly personalised mixes and playlists based on the artists you follow and tracks you listen to most. This feature is available to free users as well as subscribers.

  • Need-to-knows

    • There's a free one-month trial available for Premium newbies – you'll be charged £10.99/month automatically at the end unless you cancel.
    • Alternatively, you can get a free three-month trial if you go via PayPal, but you'll need a PayPal account to do this.
    • The Family plan for sharing with up to six others (each with their own profile) costs £17.99/month (first month free for new subscribers).
    • The Student plan costs £5.99/month (first month free for new subscribers).
    • Works on PCs, Macs, iOS and Android devices, some smart TVs and TV streaming devices, some game systems, smart speakers, and some car dashboard systems. See Spotify for more information.

Listen to selected songs on curated playlists totally free



Amazon Music Free* provides free access to top playlists and thousands of stations, but includes ads. On Android and iOS, you can listen to selected songs from pre-made playlists on demand, but unlike Spotify Free you can't make your own.

If you have Amazon Prime*, you'll be redirected to its Amazon Music Prime selection, which is included with your Prime subscription and has more features.

Over 90 million songs, save with annual plan



On the scene since 2006, Deezer is one of the older music-streaming sites, with around 16 million active monthly users. It's a fully-fledged free service supported by ads.

As with Spotify, free users can only listen in shuffle mode and have to be online, but unlike with Spotify you can't skip tracks at all unless you're willing to fork out for the privilege.

  • More info & features

    Upgrading to Deezer Premium will let you listen without ads and shuffle-only, plus gives you unlimited skips and lets you download tracks for listening offline.

    The 'Flow' feature mixes your favourite tracks with new recommendations and old favourites based on your listening habits, creating an "infinite stream" of personalised music.

  • Need-to-knows

    • There's also a free one-month trial available for Premium newbies – you'll be charged £11.99/month automatically at the end unless you cancel. You can also sign up for a year for £107.91 (equivalent to £8.99/month). 
    • Deezer Family (£17.99/month) lets up to six people access an account at once.
    • Deezer Student provides those enrolled at a college or university Premium access for £5.99/month.
    • There is an app for both PC and Mac as well as iOS, or Android devices. It can also be used with various web browsers, selected smart TVs and smart speakers, smart watches and more. See Deezer for a list of supported devices.

Over 150 million songs, great for new & smaller artists



There are over 200 million tracks on SoundCloud, and this continues to grow because of its scale and easy uploading – it was launched as a platform for sharing music between artists.

Its popularity with consumers quickly led it to develop into a full publishing tool for musicians to distribute their tracks to the public, and it now boasts 175 million listeners a month.

  • More info & features

    Because of its focus on artists and getting new material published, SoundCloud is ideal for discovering new or smaller artists that you may not find elsewhere, and exploring trending music.

    Since it introduced a paid option back in 2016, the free version has ads and you must pay to listen offline. SoundCloud Go costs £5.99/month and removes the ads and lets you listen offline, while SoundCloud Go+ (£9.99/month) gives you that plus access to every track and better quality sound.

  • Need-to-knows

    • Free 30-day trial available for SoundCloud Go newbies – you'll be charged £5.99/month automatically at the end unless you cancel.
    • Free 30-day trial for SoundCloud Go+ newbies - you'll be charged £9.99/month automatically at the end unless you cancel.
    • Students can get Soundcloud Go+ for £4.99/month (after a free 30-day trial).
    • SoundCloud Next Pro, more for musicians/uploaders, costs £6.25/month or £75/year and gives you unlimited track uploads and advanced stats on your tracks.
    • There are apps for iOS and Android devices, Windows computers and tablets and Xbox One. You can also use it via your web browser.

Over 800 curated playlists, no registration required



Jango is an online radio service rather than an on-demand streaming service. You can't listen to particular artists or songs as and when, but you can listen to radio 'stations' by artist or genre.

You don't have to register. Just type in an artist or genre, select a result and the station will start playing right away. For example, type in 'Adele', select 'Adele Radio' and it will play similar artists to Adele, such as Carly Rae Jepsen and Tove Lo, as well as Adele herself.

  • More info & features

    If you just want instant access to music, Jango is a good starting point. It enables you to 'like' or 'ban' songs so they are played more often or not all, and to customise stations, even without registering (although you'll have to if you want to save your stations and preferences). You can also skip an unlimited number of songs, which is rare for a free platform.

    The site also provides emerging artists with the opportunity to showcase their music by playing their songs alongside those of similar popular artists.

    Jango is free because it's funded by ads, so if you use the service without creating an account, you'll hear an audio ad every so often, though it says it tries to keep these to a minimum. To hear fewer ads, create a Jango account and connect it with  your Facebook account and you'll only get one audio ad per day. At present the mobile apps are ad-free.

  • Need-to-knows

    • No paid-for version – it's always free.
    • It'll work through most browsers, and there are apps for both iOS and Android – they have good reviews and are ad-free. 

How to complain about a provider

If you're not happy about the service you receive from an online music service, you should contact the company first. And if you're still not satisfied after doing that, escalate your complaint to the relevant ombudsman or trade body – for full help, see our Consumer Rights guide.

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