10 Best Free Music Apps for iOS and Android (2023) #5
2 -BBC Sounds :
SoundCloud has strived to create a better music experience for its users, with more and more popular artists, as well as indie and unknown artists, joining the fold. While it is free to use in general, there are many tracks and albums that can be free downloaded, making curated content easier to access and enjoy. In addition, discovering new music is easier when exploring Radio Stations or by listening to playlist made by SoundCloud’s curators who have personally sources the right song list and genre so that users can find the exact style they are looking for. With over 200 million songs available at no cost, SoundCloud truly reigns supreme in the world of music apps for both known and lesser-known tracks.
The incredible application SoundCloud is a goldmine for true independent music fans. It was created as a platform for artists to showcase their music and have it discovered by record labels, entertainment companies and the like. However, anyone can come across great music no matter their tastes. SoundCloud’s capabilities are explained in its innovative use of ‘wave forms’ which allow the user to view the song from the moment they hit play until the very end and comment on specific areas if they choose. Alternatively, users who prefer traditional streaming activities such as liking and following artists can do so with ease. With availability on both Android and iOS platforms, independent music fans everywhere can take advantage of this groundbreaking technology.
SOUNDCLOUD – WHAT DOES IT OFFER FOR FREE?
The free version features mostly independent artists and is perfect for music lovers who want to discover new tracks or new artists or perhaps be part of an emerging genre. Also, unlike Spotify, the free version of SoundCloud offers unlimited skips (read our SoundCloud vs Spotify comparison here).
Popular artists put their work on the platform but you have to pay to access the full catalogue, so don’t be disappointed if your favorite artist does that! To listen to music offline, you will also have to invest in SoundCloud Go premium subscription.
In the US? Lucky you. US customers can now gain access to the service’s first-ever free plan, called (unsurprisingly) ‘Tidal Free’, which offers streams of the complete library of 80 million tracks at 160kbps with “limited interruptions”. It launched in November 2021 and, at the time of writing, we have not yet reviewed the dedicated Free plan.
For anyone not domiciled in the States, a fee is still involved. The ‘Tidal Premium’ tier (£9.99, $9.99, AU$11.99 per month) that offered 320kbps quality has now been rebranded as ‘Tidal HiFi’ and gets you audio at up to 1411 kbps (i.e. CD quality), as well as offline capabilities and access to features such as Tidal Connect, for that same monthly price. Tidal’s basic Family Tier has also seen the same increase in standard bit rate streams.
The top tier, formerly ‘Tidal HiFi’, is now known as ‘Tidal HiFi Plus’ and remains £19.99 ($19.99, AU$23.99) per month. It brings audio quality up to 9216 kbps (i.e. hi-res) by supporting Tidal Masters via Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) technology. It is also the tier you have to subscribe to in order to listen to immersive music in Dolby Atmos Music and Sony 360 Audio.
This new subscription model puts Tidal’s CD-quality offering more in line with the competition from Amazon and Apple, although its hi-res streaming remains at a premium that might put some people off. That said, Tidal has ensured its HiFi Plus tier has extra appeal for audiophiles and, besides, will no doubt still appeal to those with MQA-supporting hardware.
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