Best music streaming apps for free trials and free access

Free trials of the best music streaming apps can bag you up to six months of free listening

lady listening to music
(Image credit: getty images)

Some music streaming apps are free to use, others come with a monthly subscription but generous free trial periods. Here we round up the best options.

Whether you’re looking for music to help you keep fit, entertain the kids or enjoy some relaxing ‘me’ time, there's a music streaming service to fit any occasion. In fact, you’re spoilt for choice. Whoever you want to listen to should be available somewhere, from Madonna to Mozart and Billie Eilish to Billie Holiday.

But costs can add up, especially if you need multiple accounts at home. And if you want to stream on multiple devices – a smart speaker or download music to your phone – you’ll likely need to pay even more.

To help you keep costs low, here are the top ways to stream your favourite music for free. 

Free trials of music streaming apps

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Most of the big streaming services will offer you a free trial as long as you’re signing up for the first time. This is usually for one month. But from time to time you might be able to find extended trials of up to three months. These deals come and go so you might need to search around for the latest offers or check a site like becleverwithyourcash.com

If you’re happy to mix and match different services, you could even get up to a year of free trials. Here are our best picks.

Amazon Music Unlimited | £10.99 month | 3 months free trial (4 months for Prime members)

Amazon Music Unlimited | £10.99 month | 3 months free trial (4 months for Prime members)

Amazon Music Unlimited is offering new subscribers 3 months free until 13 July 2023 - 4 months if you're a Prime member. After 3 months are over, you pay £10.99 per month and Amazon Prime members pay £8.99 per month unless you cancel. You can’t sign up if you are already taking advantage of another free trial offer.

Apple Music | £10.99 month | One month free trial

Apple Music | £10.99 month | One month free trial

Apple Music offers lossless streaming and spatial audio support at no extra cost — it has also launched Apple Music sessions with exclusive live performances to take on Spotify Sessions.

And there is an extended free trial: six months if you buy Apple Beats, HomePod or AirPods 

Spotify Premium | £9.99 month | One month free trial

Spotify Premium | £9.99 month | One month free trial

Spotify has a library of more than 70 million songs and around 2.6 million podcast titles. It also offers exclusive live tracks via its Spotify sessions.

And you can get an extended free trial: three months free Spotify via PayPal 

Tidal | £9.99 month | 30 day free trial

Tidal | £9.99 month | 30 day free trial 

Tidal is a popular choice for audiophiles. Offering high-end sound quality with a library of more than 90 million songs. It even has a premium membership costing £19.99 per month that boasts "innovative high-res audio formats".

YouTube Music | £9.99 month | One month free trial  

YouTube Music | £9.99 month | One month free trial   

YouTube music replaces Google Play Music offering more than 70 million songs and exclusive live performances, covers, remixes and other music content. There's also a YouTube Premium 3-month trial promotion only open to participants in the UK who have activated a Google One account by 31 July 2023.

Deezer Premium | £11.99 month | On month free trial

Deezer Premium | £11.99 month | On month free trial  

High Fidelity audio but at a more premium price. Deezer claims its AI-powered 'Flow' feature serves up an infinite mix of all your favourites and new discoveries based on your mood.

It's only £8.99 per month if you choose to pay annually.

Best free music streaming apps

You don’t have to pay extra to listen to music online. There are some free options with some of the major services, along with a number of online radio players. However there are restrictions, and you might not be able to choose which song you want to listen to. There’s also likely to be adverts interrupting your listening experience.

Here are the best free music streaming options:

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Spotify | Free 

You get access to Spotify’s huge library of songs but you can’t download any music to your phone, most playlists are shuffle play only and adverts play every few songs.

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Deezer | Free  

You get access to Deezer’s huge library of songs but you can’t download any music to your phone, and you can only pick playlists, not individual tracks. Adverts play every few songs.

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Soundcloud | Free

You get access to exclusive tracks and mixes from the artists but there is a limited catalogue. You can’t download to your phone and adverts play every few songs.

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Amazon Prime Music | Free with Prime 

Free if you already pay for Amazon Prime (£7.99 a month), you get access to the full library of 100 million songs that you get with a full Amazon Music Unlimited subscription but you can't pick and play them or listen offline.

How to cut the cost of streaming music

Pay for a year Some services allow you to pay upfront for a year, which will normally be something like 12 months for the price of 10. If you know you will absolutely keep listening to a single service then these can be worth it. But once you’re paid up you won’t get a refund.

Pick a family plan for your household Premium plans are great for an individual, but they are difficult to share - especially if more than one person wants to listen to something different at the same time. You can of course buy a membership each, but that gets very expensive.

Instead, all the major services offer a Family plan, giving you access to up to five or six accounts for one price, as long as you share an address with the other users. 

The savings vary, with these plans costing between £15 and £18 a month:

  • Apple (£14.99 a month) 
  • Amazon (£14.99)
  • Deezer (£16.99 a month)
  • Spotify (£16.99 a month) 
  • Tidal (£14.99 a month) 
  • Spotify also has a Duo plan, which as the name suggests is two accounts for a single price of £13.99.

Streaming vs downloading: which is cheaper?

Streaming: with streaming, you are listening live – so if your internet connection drops or you’re in a black spot, the service will stop working. 

Also, you'll need to be careful if you're streaming from your mobile phone and you're not connected to wi-fi. Your data allowance can get eaten up quickly if you’re not careful and extra data is expensive.

Downloading: most apps let you download tracks to your phone. You store a copy of the song on your device which will only be temporary – you’ll need to connect to the internet again to keep listening, usually once every 30 days to ensure you still have an account. 

If you frequently use your mobile phone downloading can prevent you from racking up a huge data bill by downloading tracks to your phone while you’re on wi-fi, and then turning off the app’s access to data within your phone’s settings.

Andy Webb
Journalist and Blogger

Andy Webb is a journalist and blogger. He runs the personal finance blog becleverwithyourcash.com and the AndyCleverCash YouTube channel and Cash Chats podcast.

Andy writes a weekly column for the Metro and monthly for Reader's Digest. He co-presented Channel 5's Shop Smart Save Money series and regularly gives talks about being clever with your cash at events. Previously he ran the blog and acted as a spokesperson for the Money Advice Service. 

When he's not writing or talking about money he's probably playing tennis or listening to BBC 6 Music.