Best Websites to Listen to Music Online Free (2022)

Online Music Streaming Review: Free & Paid

Article Updated: 2022-07-27

In this article, I made a list of the best music streaming services to listen to music online without downloading. For each one, a description is provided with some extra notes and tips based on my personal experience; as well as a list of pros and cons.

I wrote this article to help you make a choice between the most popular ones. Each one has its own features, some being a huge Quality of Life improvement, and some just being awful.

All pros listed apply to the streaming services paid & free versions. Some cons listed only apply to the free versions, for example: getting a paid subscription would, of course, remove some cons like ads and restrictions. I marked those as "free limitation".

Note: if you are a free mobile user, you get an extra con to everything listed: forced shuffle.

Summary

Spotify: The most subscribed to and the best overall user experience.

YouTube Music: Carried by the giant's name. The one that will overthrow Spotify.

Deezer: One of the biggest platforms that nobody knows about.

Apple Music: Loved in the United States and widely used worldwide.

Amazon Music: Comes with Amazon Prime, a strong marketing strategy.

Best Music Streaming Services 2022

1. Spotify

Spotify logo

Spotify is available in 3 formats: you can listen to it on a website, you can download the desktop app or you can download the mobile app.

The UI is clean with everything you need on a left side bar (home, search, your library, create playlist, liked songs and all your playlists), you can even create playlist folders to organise them.

After you type something into the search bar, the search results are organized into categories: most relevant, songs, artists, albums, playlists, podcasts, episodes, profiles.

A huge music library with over 70 million songs. After using it for a while the algorithm will recommend you more relevant songs, you can like songs, follow artists and make your own playlist or find one you like to help with the recommendations. Spotify has the best playlists and playlist system.

Free Spotify: Free online streaming usually comes with ads, you will get a bunch of 30 seconds ads from time to time. The volume of those audio ads are also way above what you were currently listening to, which can be quite frustrating.

Paid Spotify: Removes ads and you can download music for offline listening.

Note: Some more niche music like old game soundtracks, is either not on the platform or got deleted (you will see grey songs in playlists) for whatever reason.


TIP: If you're still wondering if Spotify is any good then the answer is yes, go for it.

Pros:

  • Desktop website, desktop app and mobile app

  • Clean user interface, user friendly

  • Can create playlist folders

  • Search results by categories

  • Huge song library (70m+)

  • Relevant recommended songs

  • Best playlists and playlist system

Cons:

  • 30 seconds ads from time to time (free limitation)

  • niche music missing or randomly deleted

2. YouTube Music

YouTube Music logo

YouTube Music is available in 2 formats: the desktop website and the mobile app that you can download.

The UI is tab organized, giving a similar feel to internet browsers. The search results are also in tabs (songs, videos, community playlists, albums, artists).

A huge music library with over 50 million songs. Same as before, the algorithm will get better at suggesting you relevant songs the more you listen, like and subscribe. There are community playlists but you see a lot of irrelevant ones with just a handful songs.

Free YouTube Music: You will have to deal with YouTube ads. An over-sized video will be next to the songs you listen to, this is either a static art track or a custom video if this video was uploaded on an official artist channel.

Paid YouTube Music: No ads, you can remove the video by switching to audio only mode and you can also offline download.

Note: On YouTube if you make a music playlist you will also see it in YouTube Music (and vice versa), but for some reason some of those videos will randomly turn grey in YouTube Music. Niche music is also missing but can partially be countered by adding a third party video of the song (you need to find it and add it on YTM directly or it might turn grey).


TIP: When you make a playlist do it on YouTube Music directly, not on YouTube. Strong Spotify rival being developed in the right direction, 100% worth a try.

Pros:

  • Desktop website and mobile app

  • Tab organized interface

  • Search results in tabs

  • Huge song library (50m+)

  • Relevant recommended songs

  • Community playlists

Cons:

  • YouTube ads (free limitation)

  • video next to the tracks playing (free limitation)

  • niche music missing (partially countered by using videos)

  • weird interaction with normal YouTube

3. Deezer

Deezer logo

Deezer is available in 3 formats: you can listen to it on a website, you can download the desktop app or you can download the mobile app.

The UI is clean with everything you need on a left side bar (music, podcasts, radio, explore and favorites with subcategories that are basically your library navigation), it looks very similar to Spotify's UI.

After you type something into the search bar, the search results are organized into categories: all, tracks, artists, albums, playlists, podcasts, episodes. A QoL improvement over Spotify is that you can click on the categories instead of having to scroll down. (June 2022 - Spotify added this QoL feature).

A huge music library with over 90 million songs, the biggest so far. Like the above ones, after using it for a while the algorithm will recommend you more relevant songs.

User generated playlists are for the most part a little bit on the weak side. This platform needs a bigger community mostly.

Free Deezer: Like on Spotify you will get a bunch of ads from time to time. The free Deezer plan is no longer available in some countries. If you play a song and you see 30 seconds then you are limited to previews.

Paid Deezer: No ads, offline listening and high fidelity audio (1411 kbps).

Note: Niche music is missing and some more common one also.


TIP: Spotify look-a-like. Definitely worth a try if the free plan is still available in your country.

Pros:

  • Desktop website, desktop app and mobile app

  • Clean UI, very close to Spotify

  • Search results by categories and quick access

  • Biggest song library (90m+)

  • Relevant recommended songs

  • Community playlists

  • HiFi Audio (1411 kbps) (paid)

Cons:

  • ads (free limitation)

  • previews only in some countries (free limitation)

  • niche music missing

  • needs a bigger community

4. Apple Music

Apple Music logo

Apple Music is available in 3 formats: a website, a desktop app (iTunes) and a mobile app.

The UI has a side search bar and menu: listen now, browse, radio. After you search something the results are organized by categories like this: top result, artists, albums, songs, playlists.

A huge library with over 75 millions songs. Like other platforms the algorithm will suggest you better songs based on your listening history. I couldn't find proper playlists for my different search terms.

Free Apple Music: You can only listen to 1min30 of each song, you can see the word "preview" next to each song you play.

To active your Apple ID account you will have to go through iTunes (download on desktop or mobile) before you can login on the website, you will have to link your credit card to it.

I don't consider a registration requiring you to link your card "Free", even if they don't charge you. So, Apple Music Free is listening without creating an account, which means that you can't save anything.

Paid Apple Music: No ads and offline listening.

Note: Niche music missing.


TIP: If you are a free user it's limited to previews, not worth it. As a paid user you get a 30-day free trial first, so give it a shot.

Pros:

  • Desktop website, desktop app (iTunes) and mobile app

  • Clean user interface, straight to the point

  • Search results organized by categories

  • Huge song library (75m+)

  • Relevant recommended songs

Cons:

  • limited to 1 minute 30 seconds previews (free limitation)

  • credit card information to active your account (free limitation)

  • no save or playlist add without an account (free limitation)

  • niche music missing

  • lack of playlists

5. Amazon Music

Amazon Music logo

Amazon Music is available in 3 formats: a website, a desktop player and a mobile app.

It has a clean interface (even without a side navigation bar) and a huge song library.

Not many playlists available for the different search terms I used.

Free Amazon Music: While Amazon technically gives you a free version, it is extremely limited in what you can do.

You can't listen to the songs you want to, it will redirect you to random ones asking you to get a subscription, and you get ads on top of it.

You can't make playlists, after naming a playlist a pop-up will tell to get a subscription.

Paid Amazon Music: It really only comes as a paid service, you can use it normally if you get a subscription.

Note: Niche music also missing.


TIP: Free users, if you plan to stay free then you cannot use this one. You can still get a 30-day free trial with Amazon Prime (credit card linking required).

Pros:

  • Desktop website, desktop app and mobile app

  • Clean user interface (but no sidebar)

  • Search results by categories

  • Huge song library (75m+)

  • Relevant recommended songs

Cons:

  • extremely limited (free limitation)

  • random songs (free limitation)

  • ads (free limitation)

  • can't make playlists (free limitation)

  • lack of playlists

  • niche music missing or randomly deleted

6. Honorable Mentions: YouTube & SoundCloud

Since I listed in the cons of every streaming service "missing niche music", you probably wonder where I find it. Well, on YouTube and SoundCloud if you don't mind it also getting randomly deleted from time to time. The deletion is copyright infringement (illegal uploads) related on those, while on every streaming service listed above it seems to be a rights holder issue.


TIP: Both are free and great alternatives if you can't find the music you like on the other music streaming services.

Conclusion

The best and safest choices for free music streaming platforms appear to be Spotify, YouTube Music and Deezer (if there's still the Deezer free plan in your country). Either one of those 3 will provide you with a great free experience without much limitations. I would recommend you to give all 3 a try and to stick with your favorite one afterwards. YouTube Music let's you add videos which partially counters the non-available songs.

When it comes to the paid versions, they are all pretty similar. Most of the songs are available in each ones libraries and they all provide very similar perks. Deezer is the only one to give you a HiFi quality streaming at 1411 kbps, this is the equivalent of CD quality. Other platforms will give you 256 or 320 kbps, which is mp3 quality.

I personally use Spotify and YT Music the most. If you choose them, take a look at the playlists I'm curating on them (also on Deezer).

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