Some music streaming apps are free to use, while others come with a monthly subscription but offer a free music trial. Here we round up the best options so you never skip a beat.
There is a music streaming service fit for any occasion. Whether you’re looking for fitness jams, podcasts, happy songs or a relaxing instrumental, you’re spoilt for choice.
From Taylor Swift to Radiohead or even BBC Radio 4, you can listen to everything in a few clicks. And there are several platforms you can choose from, be it Apple Music, Spotify or Tidal.
How do you decide which one is the right fit for you? Where can you get a free music trial to test your options?
We’ve rounded up some of the top music streaming services available in the UK in this guide to help you find the right fit.
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Best music streaming apps with a free music trial
Most of the big music streaming services will offer you a free music trial as long as you’re signing up for the first time.
However, there are also music streaming services that allow you to use the free service for an ongoing period, like Spotify. Keep in mind that free subscriptions often come with ads.
To give you an idea, here is a list of music streaming services that are free to use and groove.
|Music streaming service||Free option||Free music trial||How many tracks you can listen to||Offline listening||Podcasts|
|Amazon Music||Yes||Yes, for 30-days||100 million||Yes, with Unlimited||Yes|
|Apple Music||No||Yes, for 30-days||100 million||Yes||Yes|
|Deezer||Yes||Yes, for 30-days||90 million||Yes, with Premium||Yes|
|Soundcloud||No||Yes, for 30-days||135 million||Yes||Yes|
|Spotify||Yes||Yes, for 30-days||100 million||Yes, with Premium||Yes|
|Tidal||No||Yes, for 30-days||100 million||Yes||Yes|
|YouTube Music||Yes||Yes, for 30-days||100 million||Yes, with Premium||Yes|
Amazon Music | 30-day free music trial
Amazon Music has a free version called Amazon Music Free which comes with ads and doesn’t allow you offline listening. It gives you access to playlists and thousands of stations with good-quality audio. You also don’t need to enter your card details for the free subscription.
Amazon Music Unlimited lets you listen to over 100 million songs in HD and Ultra HD. You can also enjoy your favourite songs and podcasts without ads, and check out personalised stations and playlists. Plus, you get to listen offline and do unlimited skips.
No, you don’t need Amazon Prime to listen to Amazon Music Free.
If you have Amazon Prime, you will be taken to the Amazon Music Prime selection, which comes with your Prime subscription.
If you want to upgrade your plan to Amazon Music Unlimited, you can listen ad-free, do unlimited skips, shuffle and download tracks to listen offline.
There is a 30-day free music trial of Amazon Music Unlimited, which you can cancel anytime.
With the free trial, you can listen to on-demand ad-free music, popular podcasts, offline downloads and unlimited skips. Plus you get to experience HD and spatial audio.
Don’t forget to cancel after 30 days or you’ll be charged £10.99 per month or £9.99 if you’re a Prime member.
This deal is for new subscribers only.
Instead of paying £10.99 per month, you can opt for these plans instead. Note that it also comes with a free music trial.
- Family plan: By paying £17.99 per month, you can have up to six accounts across multiple devices. You get a free music trial if you’re a new subscriber. This would cost you just under £3 per month, saving you £96 a year.
- Student plan: By paying £5.99 per month, you can have a student account. You need to be enrolled at an accredited college or university to be eligible for this discount. This would save you £5 per month and £60 over a year.
- Amazon Prime: If you’re an Amazon Prime member, you pay £9.99 per month, which is £1 less and saves you £12 annually.
Apple Music | 30-day free music trial
Although Apple Music does not have a free ad-supported version of its music streaming service, you can sign up for a free one-month trial. This is for a student, family, Apple One or regular subscription.
Get more details on how much you can save with these subscription plans below.
Here are other ways you can get a free trial:
- There is a six-month free trial if you buy Apple Beats, HomePod or AirPods.
- Apple One is a combined Apple subscription where you can bundle up to six Apple subscriptions for £16.95 per month. With its free one-month trial, you can get Apple Music for free. Along with that, you can get other Apple subscriptions for free, like Apple TV Plus. Learn how to get the best Apple TV Plus deals – you could get it free for 24 months.
You can access all the features included in a paid membership for the one-month period. This includes access to its music library of over 100 million songs and over 30,000 playlists.
Don’t forget to cancel your free trial on time or else you will be charged £10.99 per month.
Apple Music lets you curate playlists and access an extensive music library 24/7. You get access to ad-free music streaming and an on-demand radio station Apple Music 1.
It allows you to download songs offline, listen to high-quality audio and use it to stream on other devices.
For karaoke fans, its latest feature Apple Music Sing allows you to play songs and see the lyrics in real-time.
Classical music lovers can enjoy Apple Music Classical, which is an entire library of classical numbers by Apple Music. It comes at no extra cost for Apple Music subscribers but it is a separate app. You can download it on the App Store.
Any music that you’ve paid for on iTunes will be available on Apple Music to stream on all devices.
If you don’t want to pay £10.99 for Apple Music, you can opt for cheaper subscriptions. These include the following:
- Family subscription: Up to six people can listen for £16.99 per month, bringing your monthly down to under £3 per person.
- Student subscription: This costs £5.99 per month.
- Apple One subscription: With its family sharing plan, you will have to pay £22.95 per month. If you split it between five people, your cost will go down to around £4.60 a month per person.
Deezer | 30-day free music trial
Deezer has more than 90 million songs, podcasts and radio channels for all audiences. It has a free version called Deezer Free.
With Deezer Free, you can stream music for free and discover millions of podcasts, exclusives and smart playlists. You also get personalised recommendations.
Although you can’t stream music offline, you can download some free podcasts. You are also limited to six skips an hour on mobile. However, you can do unlimited skips on your laptop or desktop.
Deezer Free allows you to pick any tracks you want to listen to and create your own playlists. You can shuffle and access features like SongCatcher and Lyrics.
If you like listening to music uninterrupted, you should consider the Deezer Premium free one-month trial available for newbies. After one month, it costs £11.99 per month.
For students, there is a free Deezer Student one-month trial, after which it costs £5.99 per month.
The main difference beyond being ad-free is that Deezer Premium allows you to listen offline. But you can test the free trial to see if you want to upgrade your subscription.
With the free music trial of Deezer Premium, you can experience lossless audio, high-quality sound and unlimited skips. Some of its features include Flow, which uses AI to create personalised mood mixes for you.
You can also choose to play music quizzes and sing along with lyrics on your screen.
There are a couple of ways you can budget or use premium features for less. Some include the following:
- Deezer Family: You pay £17.99 per month and can split it between six people. This would bring your monthly cost down to under £3 each, saving you £9 per month. Plus, you get all the Premium benefits under this plan while listening simultaneously on multiple devices.
- Deezer Student: Get 50% off Premium rates by paying £5.99 per month, saving you £6 every month. This is if you are enrolled at a college or university.
- Pay annually: It’s only £8.99 per month if you choose to pay annually, saving you £36 a year.
SoundCloud | 30-day free music trial
SoundCloud has over 135 million tracks because of how easy it is to upload and share music on the streaming service.
There’s no free option anymore but you can get a 30-day free music trial for its subscriptions. This is only for new subscribers and not existing ones.
Here are your options if you opt for a free music trial:
- SoundCloud Go: Free 30-day music trial for those who want an offline and ad-free listening experience. You will be charged £5.99 per month after your free trial ends.
- SoundCloud Go+: Free 30-day music trial for those who want everything in Go but get additional access to the full SoundCloud music catalogue. You also get high-quality audio and DJ integration tools. If you don’t cancel after this period, you will be charged £9.99 per month.
- SoundCloud DJ: Free 30-day trial where you get everything in SoundCloud Go+. On top of that, you can save unlimited tracks for offline listening within select DJ apps. After the free trial, you will be charged £19.99 per month.
If you’re a student, you can get SoundCloud Go+ for £4.99 per month after your 30-day free music trial.
Spotify | 30-day free music trial
Spotify has over 100 million songs and five million podcast titles. It also offers exclusive live tracks through Spotify sessions.
Spotify offers a free subscription where you can stream with ads on your mobile phone or via the Spotify app. You can only listen on shuffle, skip six times per hour and you must be online to stream music.
You can get Spotify Free here or opt for a free music trial for its premium service below.
More than 220 million people subscribe to Spotify Premium. But you don’t have to be a paid subscriber to enjoy the same perks. You can also make use of its 30-day free music trial to stream ad-free music offline whenever you want.
Plus, Spotify is offering free Premium for two months to new subscribers, which ends on 26 October 2023.
These are the perks you get with Premium on its free music trial:
- Ad-free music
- Download songs offline
- Shuffle and listen on repeat
- High audio quality
- Listen with friends in real-time
- Personalised recommendations for playlists
- Add songs to queues
- Spotify Wrapped rounds up your most played songs, artists and playlists in a year
After your free music trial ends, you will automatically be charged £10.99 per month unless you cancel.
If you’re looking for ways to get Spotify Premium for cheaper, we’ve got you covered. These are some packages with which you can save up to £96 annually.
- Premium Student: You get 50% off for four years and need to renew every 12 months. This is for students at an accredited higher education institution. You get charged £5.99 per month after the trial period expires.
- Premium Duo: Ideal for two people living together as you get a discounted price. After the free trial ends, you pay £14.99 per month. With this, you can save around £3.50 per month as compared to getting two individual accounts. This is only available to those who haven’t tried Premium before.
- Premium Family: Up to six people living together can get their own Premium accounts for a single discounted price. It also comes with Spotify Kids and an explicit content filter for parents. After the free trial, you pay £17.99 per month, saving you £8 monthly. You must be living at the same address to get this.
Tidal | 30-day free music trial
For those who love high-quality sound, Tidal is a popular choice. It has a library of more than 100 million songs and 650K+ videos to choose from. It doesn’t have a free subscription but offers a 30-day free trial of both its premium subscriptions.
These two premium subscriptions are available for a free music trial period:
- HiFi: You get high-quality sound ad-free and can listen offline with unlimited skips. It also allows you to listen live and play your favourite music with others in real time. You can track your listening habits and listen to export curated playlists. Renews at £10.99 per month after the free trial.
- HiFi Plus: You get all the perks of HiFi. On top of that, you get maximum sound quality and can make or receive calls without interruptions. It allows you to stream FLAC and Dolby Atmos through Tidal Connect. Renews at £19.99 per month after the free trial.
Another perk is Tidal Credits, which gives credits to everyone involved in the song, from songwriters to engineers and backing singers. Tidal also has time-synced lyrics with which you can have your own karaoke nights.
To get Tidal for cheaper, you can make use of these packages, both of which include a 30-day free trial:
- Tidal Student: Students get up to 50% off with Tidal Student plans. The HiFi plan costs £4.99 per month, while the HiFi Plus plan is £9.99 per month. This will save you around £72 a year.
- Tidal Family: You can add up to six accounts on one plan with personalised recommendations for everyone. It also has exclusive playlists suitable for children. With the HiFi subscription, you pay £16.99 per month, while HiFi Plus costs £29.99 per month. If you live with housemates, you can split the HiFi or HiFi Plus subscription and it will cost you just under £5 per person. This will save you around £180 annually.
YouTube Music | 30-day free music trial
With more than 100 million songs, YouTube Music offers free music to listen to, from songs, music videos, albums, remixes, covers and concerts online.
YouTube Music also lets you store up to 100,000 tracks in the cloud, which you can listen to anywhere. The only drawback is that you must keep your screen unlocked with YouTube Music open and that it comes with ads.
With YouTube Music Premium, you can listen to ad-free music on-demand. Just by searching lyrics or describing songs, you can find what you are looking for.
You can discover what is trending around you and get personalised recommendations based on what you like. Plus, you get to listen to songs in the background, lock your screen and stream offline.
After your free trial ends, it costs £10.99 per month so don’t forget to cancel beforehand.
There are two ways to get YouTube Music cheaper, both with a one-month free music trial.
- Family plan: YouTube Music’s family plan lets you add up to five family members over the age of 13. It costs £16.99 per month. If you split this between six people, it costs under £3 per person, saving you around £100 a year.
Student plan: If you’re a student, you can pay half the price at £5.49 per month. This will save you around £66 a year. All you need to do is verify your subscription every year.
Best free music streaming apps
You don’t have to pay extra to listen to music online. There are free options with some of the major services and several online radio players.
However there are restrictions and you might not be able to choose which song you want to listen to. There are also likely to be adverts interrupting your listening experience.
Here are the best free music streaming options:
Amazon Prime Music gives you access to the full song library of 100 million songs. It has good audio quality and you can access stations and top playlists. However, you can’t pick and play, listen offline or create your own playlists.
Deezer gives you free access to over 100 million songs, podcasts and radio channels. You can stream music, get personalised recommendations and download some free podcasts. Although you can’t skip more than six songs on mobile, you get unlimited skips on the web. Plus, you can listen to any track, create your own playlists, shuffle and access features like SongCatcher and Lyrics.
Spotify gives you free access to its library of over 100 million songs, podcasts, playlists and radio. You can stream with ads, listen to songs on shuffle and do six skips per hour. However, you can’t download offline. But you get good-quality audio.
With YouTube Music, you can listen to songs, watch music videos and check out remixes, covers and concerts online. There is a huge library of over 100 million songs. You can’t download music and have to sit through multiple ads. But you can store up to 100,00 tracks which you can listen to anywhere. However, you have to keep your screen unlocked and keep the app open when you’re using it.
How to cut the cost of streaming music
Switch between free trials
Rotating your music streaming service can bring your monthly cost down to £0 if done right.
While this may take lots of effort, you can create a schedule to switch between your top music streaming services. This way, you can make use of multiple free trials that usually end in a month’s time.
Exactly how much you save depends on how many free music trials you make use of. Considering how many popular streaming platforms are there in the UK, you could save up to £100 a year.
This is how you can make the most of free music trials:
- Choose the music streaming service you want to switch between.
- Think about when you want to use up the free trials. For example, if your favourite artist is releasing a new album, it might be worth checking out Tidal to get the full listening experience on HD-quality streaming.
- Create a schedule of when each free trial expires. This way you can keep track of when you should cancel or else you’ll be billed for the next month.
It sounds a bit time-consuming but go for it if you think you can make this work.
Pay upfront for a year
Some services allow you to pay upfront for a year. This will normally be something like 12 months for the price of 10.
If you know that you will use only that service, it’s worth getting the annual subscription. For example, Deezer has a Premium Annual Plan.
You can get it for 25% cheaper if you pay upfront. It costs £107.91 for a year, which ends up being £8.99 per month. If you opt for a monthly subscription, it will cost you £11.99 instead. This saves you up to £36 a year.
Pick a sharing plan – save up to £180 a year
A family or sharing plan is great if you’re living in a large household or with your mates. In most cases, this halves the amount you would have to pay individually.
All the major services offer a Family plan, giving you access to up to five or six accounts for one price. This is as long as you share an address with the other users.
The savings vary for each and can go up to £180 a year.
|Music streaming service||Individual plan cost per month||Family or sharing plan cost per month||How many can share||Average individual monthly cost in family or sharing plan||Monthly savings||Annual savings|
|Amazon Music||£10.99 without Prime||£17.99||6||£2.99||£8||£96|
|Spotify||£10.99||£14.99 for Duo, £17.99 for Premium Family||6||£7.50 with Duo, £2.99 with Premium Family||£3.50 with Duo, £8 with Premium Family||£42 with Duo, £96 with Premium Family|
|Tidal||HiFi for £10.99, HiFi Plus for £19.99||HiFi for £16.99, HiFi Plus for 29.99||6||£2.83 with HiFi, £4.99 with HiFi Plus||£8.16 with HiFi, £15 with HiFi Plus||£98 with HiFi, £180 with HiFi Plus|
Get a student discount
|Music streaming service||Student price per month||Monthly saving||Annual saving|
|Soundcloud||£4.99||£1 with SoundCloud Go, £5 with SoundCloud Go+, £15 with SoundCloud DJ||£30 with SoundCloud Go, £60 with SoundCloud Go+, £180 with SoundCloud DJ|
|Tidal||£4.99 for HiFi, £9.99 for HiFi Plus||£6 with HiFi, £10 with HiFi Plus||£72 with HiFi, £120 with HiFi Plus|
Opt for ads
Yes, ads can be annoying and being interrupted in the middle of your favourite song isn’t ideal. But if you don’t mind watching an ad or two, you could save a lot of money in the long run.
For example, Spotify and YouTube Music with ads are free, ultimately saving you up to £132 a year.
Streaming vs downloading: which is cheaper?
With streaming, you are listening live. So if your internet connection drops or you’re in a black spot, the service will stop working.
It’s a lot like listening to the radio or watching TV. You don’t physically have the files, but you can still listen/see it.
Streaming doesn’t take a lot of storage space and lets you access a variety of music at any time. Plus, it’s quick and you can create your own playlists of songs you like listening to the most.
The downsides are that you have to be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data to stream. It can be expensive to buy extra data as streaming eats up a lot of it. Plus, there is often a subscription fee if you want to listen to ad-free music.
Most apps let you download tracks to your phone. You store a copy of the song on your device and can play it whenever you want.
Downloading only takes a few minutes and then it’s readily available to listen to anytime. If you frequently use your mobile phone, downloading can prevent you from racking up a huge data bill.
If you don’t want to pay for extra mobile data, subscription costs or storage space, downloading is cheaper.