Downloading music seems to be going the way of the dodo, with streaming services like Spotify and Deezer taking over the helm. Still, you might be interested in some ways to download some tunes for free to have on you when you're offline. So, here we've listed some of the best apps to help you do that (legally).
These apps allow you to download songs (if they carry those tunes) for free. However, you should remember that just because something's available as a free music download, this does not equate to it being legal as the owner of the song might not have given permission to the site to do so.
There are tons of free downloadable music content on pirate sites that are guaranteed to be illegal, so ensure that you have Creative Commons or Copyleft permission before downloading any MP3s.
- Jamendo Music: Ad-free downloads and offline playback
- Audials Play: Perfect for radio recording
- SoundCloud: Best for quality and quantity
- SoundLoader: Fast and easy downloads
- SONGily: Simplicity personified
- RockMyRun: Best for workouts
- Palco: A very niche app
- Advanced Download Manager: Best for quick downloads
- Anghami: Best for Arabic audio
- Hungama: For Bollywood fans
- Loffee: Lo-Fi Music
Jamendo Music allows you to listen to and, more importantly, download over 600,000 tracks without having to fork out a cent. What's remarkable about this app is the fact that there are no nasty advertisements that get in your way. Whoever said that there is no such thing as a free lunch? A gem pops up once in a blue moon.
In order to use this app, you will first need to sign up for an account. Once you have done that, you can play any song at any time of your convenience without any interruptions. The interface is simple and easy to use, with Jamendo has attracted a community of more than 3,500,000 users already - and the number continues to grow daily! They also offer royalty-free music for commercial use, now how about that for content creators?
Audials Play is one of the best ways for anyone to download music for free on an Android device, but it takes an unconventional approach. While you can download tons of music with the app, all of the music will be sourced from the radio itself. Clearly an out-of-the-box solution, don't you think so?
Audials Play offers a total of 100,000 radio stations in MP3 and AAC format, in addition to 260,000 podcasts that are sorted by country and genre. Audials Play can record whole broadcasts on-demand or save the stream with automatic song separation. You will be able to play the music or broadcast again at a later time, even when offline. There are no ads and in-app purchases to suffer from, and it also does not display any banner ads in the app. While it does not play commercials, there are some broadcasters who earn some money by playing radio advertising, so that is something to take note of.
The user interface is simple enough that a couple of taps on the menu, and you can begin recording. This comprehensive, well-designed app boasts discovery features, EQ controls, and Chromecast support to boot. What's more, Audials Play allows you to schedule recordings ahead of time, letting you nab those tunes in advance.
SoundCloud is one of the best free music apps if you are more than happy to settle for lesser-known hits, as the app is popular with independent or more obscure artists who upload their tracks here so that anyone can play them for free. In addition, many tracks here are also available for download.
Touted as the world's largest music and audio streaming platform, it has more than 200 million songs while offering a wide range of genres that cannot be found elsewhere, such as DJ sets, hand-curated playlists, remixes, and freestyles – apart from chart-topping albums and mainstream releases.
The free version mainly offers independent artists, and is perfect for music enthusiasts to discover new tunes or a new artist, or perhaps be part of an emerging genre. Popular artists will most probably put their songs up here behind a paywall, so don't be disappointed if your favorite artist does that!
SoundLoader is an interesting addition to this list because doing so is easy. In fact, it takes just three steps to store your favorite tune on your handset. Just copy the song's URL, launch SoundLoader, paste the link in the dialog box and tap 'Download'. That's it!
There are no irritating pop-up ads to contend with, either. This app allows you to make a backup of your favorite songs in a jiffy. Do take note that it is your responsibility as the user to gain permission from the content creator before republishing, redistributing, or reusing downloaded audio.
SONGily is a free app that offers a simple interface that lets you search and play or download the music that you want. This is assuming they carry the track, of course. Your mileage may vary depending on what you're looking for, and a famous song search might sometimes lead you to a bunch of covers, live versions, and remixes that are legal to download, as opposed to the official album version.
Nonetheless, there's still a ton of great tracks available for free, so it's well worth checking out. Do take note that this is an ad-supported app.
- You can download the SONGily app from Google Play Store.
Claiming to be "the best running and fitness music app", RockMyRun allows you to download music for offline playback (you can also cache it). RockMyRun delivers DJ-mixed playlists for workout soundtracks and more.
You can match your BPM to your heart rate, filter the playlist length to match your workout time, or make use of the myBeat feature to automatically change the tunes so that it suits your current state. What's better than specially curated DJ mixes for your workout style?
Palco MP3 is a free platform for independent Brazilian artists who want to share their talent with the rest of the world. Currently, there are more than 1.4 million songs from over 126,000 artists spread across 60 genres to get your booty moving. I understand that this is a very niche market, but anyone who wants to try something that is different from your everyday tunes would do well to give this a go.
This app allows you to stream radio stations, curate playlists of your favorite tunes and download songs to your smartphone for offline listening. Whether you're looking to rock to some samba, bossa nova, hip-hop or electronica, Palco has it covered. So dive in and discover what Brazil has to offer.
Advanced Download Manager lets you download up to five files simultaneously, including MP3s and MP4s. There is a wide array of settings that let you customize how you would want to download these files, including limiting the download speed (so that you need not chew through your monthly data quota quickly before you find a Wi-Fi hotspot), as well as the number of simultaneous downloads. Interestingly enough, the download speeds using Advanced Download Manager are commendable.
Searching for free musical tracks via the in-app browser can be a very convoluted experience, but once you have zoomed in on your target, downloading said track is a breeze. For those who are still running on Lollipop and Marshmallow, you can download songs directly to your SD card - assuming your smartphone supports expandable storage. This app has ads.
- You can download the Advanced Download Manager app from Google Play Store.
Fancy some Arabic or African music? Anghami targets users from the MENA region (Middle East & North Africa), and offers a very similar service to Google Play Music. For those of us who don't live there, it's an excellent source of free Arabic and North African tunes.
The free service isn't unlimited, and you will experience some ads, but that's worth the entry price if you want to be more cultured and discover new music from a different continent.
If you're a fan of Indian music of different genres, Hungama's got you covered. This app has a huge database of songs (15 million and counting) including Bollywood numbers, songs in Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati, Tamil, and Telugu, among others.
Not only that, but it also has videos that can be downloaded and viewed using the integrated player. When you use the app for the first time, you'll get a certain amount of free downloads for free, so select your favorites carefully before considering whether you want to pay for anything more.
Loffee is a simple but wonderful little app for fans of lo-fi beats and laid-back music. This is the kind of stuff I'd listen to on a long train journey, or while lazing around the house on a Sunday afternoon. The different playlists are coffee-themed - such as Dark Roast, Fresh Grinds, and Roasted Beans.
The UI and artwork are slick. Everything about Loffee just seems effortlessly cool. You can pull up information on the art or music at any time during the shuffle and there are links to Facebook, SoundCloud, Instagram, and Twitter that let you explore further. Loffee works even when offline, and all music has been used with permissions from the artists.
- You can download the Loffee app from Google Play Store.
Since you won't need an internet connection to stream music, this is perfect to enjoy while you are in the woods, spending time in your weekend cabin and away from civilization. It is also ideal for long flights or car journeys when cellular signal can be patchy and non-existent.
While paid apps like Spotify do offer the option for offline listening, why pay when you can get something for free? After all, long gone are the days when we were proud of our MP3 collection, having amassed gigabytes upon gigabytes of them in carefully named folders. It is time to get on with the program.
Note from the editor: In a previous version of this list, Google Play Music was nominated as the best option for Android fans. However, as the service has been discontinued by Google, which now uses YouTube Music, we have removed that option from the list.
What’s your favorite app for free music downloads on Android? Let us know in the comments.
This article was updated in April 2021 and comments from the previous publication have been retained.