Best streaming music apps for iPhone: Songza, Spotify, Rdio, and more!

Best streaming music apps for iPhone: Songza, Spotify, Rdio, and more!

The best streaming music apps for iPhone, whether you need huge collections, offline access, or international reach. Can't stop the signal!

The iPhone was born of the iPod and as Apple is fond of saying, there's music in its DNA. While Apple will be introducing iTunes Radio as part of iOS 7 this fall in the U.S., there are many other services that stream music to iPhones in all sorts of different ways, in all sorts of different regions. So which one is best for you? We'll help you find out. Here are our favorites!

Note: Availability and sometimes catalog size and feature sets vary greatly by location. The U.S. has most services, other countries only a few or none.


If you aren't the "mixed bucket of tracks" kind of girl or boy and know exactly what you like, Spotify lets you create just exactly the type of experience you want from their library of around 20 million songs. It's one of the largest, if not the largest of any streaming music service currently available. You need to pay the $9.99 a month subscription fee to have access to Spotify's mobile apps and the ability to create offline playlists, but you can try before you buy.

If having access to the largest collection of music available for streaming is the most important feature for you, get Spotify.


Rdio's big attraction is that you aren't limited on how many songs you can save for offline use. If your device can hold them, they're yours to use offline use as long as you're a subscriber - which will run you $9.99 a month. Rdio also has a great interface and design aesthetic, if that sort of thing matters to you more than collection size.

If you don't want to be limited to how many tracks you can save for offline use, get Rdio.


Songza acts like a concierge or assistant. Select the type of music you want to listen to or tell Songza what you're doing and it will give you music suited for just that occasion. The playlists inside Songza are curated by industry experts and DJs. You can even match Songza to the exact headphones you're wearing for optimal song quality. The free version of Songza is ad supported. If you'd like to remove ads and get premium content, you can join Club Songza for $0.99 a week via in-app purchase.

If you care more about mixes and quality playlists than anything else, Songza is a great choice.


Pandora is free if you're okay with ads and listening limits on iOS. If you're not, you can subscribe to Pandora One for $3.99 a month or $36 a year in order to remove ads, access the desktop app, have unlimited listening privileges, and have more skips (6 per hour). Pandora only offers around 1 million songs, which is on the small side.

If you're looking for a free option that doesn't require a subscription in order to access the service through mobile and you're okay with limitations, a smaller selection, and ads, get Pandora.


Slacker recently redid all of its mobile and web offerings and brings to the table a library of 13 million songs, many of them from indie artists. If you're a sports fan, Slacker also offers many sports stations and covers many events that other streaming services don't even touch. Their Fine Tune system lets you better tailor your experience as well. Subscriptions start at $3.99 a month

If you're a sports fan and want ESPN Radio, Slacker is the only streaming service that can give it to you .

Your pick for best streaming music apps for iPhone?

These are our current favorites when it comes to best streaming music services for iPhone. If you know of a better service in your country or region, let us know in the comments!

Allyson Kazmucha

Editor for iMore, Potter pundit, and the ninja in your iOS

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There are 30 comments. Add yours.

WreakingHavoc says:

I use TuneIn Radio Pro, no complaints.

michaelpat87 says:

I like Rdio the best. Used Spotify for a long time, but the thing I hated about Spotify is that everything had to be a playlist. I just wanted to add artists to a collection, I don't want 100 playlist of albums, drove me crazy. Rdio allows me to have a collection of artists, playlists for mixes, and saved radio stations. Plus I can actually search for playlists on my mobile and not just on the desktop like Spotify. Plus, Spotify's mobile UI looksl ancient.

But it just comes down to preference and Rdio works best for me.

Allyson Kazmucha says:

I use Songza when I want a mix and always used Spotify for everything else. Until I tried rdio. The interface is amazing. Think I'll be ditching Spotify for it myself.

ZeroLeonheart says:

I tried Rdio and it was pretty cool, but I've been a Spotify user since day one in the US. I might give it a whirl since everyone seems to love it.

JonnyG24 says:

Spotify, XM Mobile, and ooTunes. All I need.

Galley says:

I use Rhapsody. Here's an example why:

Download an album not already in your library for offline listening on an iPad:
Rhapsody – 1 tap
Spotify – 8 taps

snookasnoo says:

iTunes radio is about to blow all of them away for Mac or iOS users.

stephen007 says:

iTunes radio will likely be a "mainstream" alternative that is well done but might lack some advanced features.

It does seem odd, though, to see a review of streaming music apps *right before* Apple launches their own.

wamadden4 says:

Spotify... pure genius.. it basically pays for itself!!!

stuhFAN says:

Rdio & Songza for me. Rdio is $10 well spent every month for unlimited access to a huge collection of music. Plus the app design is beautiful, it'll feel right at home in ios7. When I don't know what I want to listen to and the Rdio stations aren't doing it for me, Songza is a great backup. Streaming FTW!!

linsiris says:

Agreed! these two apps are also my favorites and I use TuneIn when I need to listen to a specific radio station. Something that wasn't mentioned in the review about Rdio besides its very nice, smooth UI is the "remote" feature that NON of the others have. Being able to pick up on my iPhone exactly where I left on my computer or iPad, or even control with any of them what sounds in the other if maybe it's plugged charging or connected to a stereo system, is priceless. Here in Latin America only Rdio (and Deezer) are available that's also a 10

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James Enloe says:

I use Pandora when I'm not in the mood to really get specific with an Artist or Album. Otherwise I stream my own music collection using Subsonic. Might be a good topic for another post. ;-)

BrownCornelius000 says:

Just to throw this out there, I've been using the Cloud Play app to pull music from my Google All Access subscription instead of Google's web app. I've tried a couple of different apps, but Cloud Play's been working nicely. I think it's missing things like playlist support and a couple of other things, but for using it to plug into All Access is pretty clean.

jjd_87 says:

You can get ESPN Radio from the SiriusXM App.

Strings78 says:

8tracks has become my go to! Something about knowing that person selected all of the playlists just makes the music that much better in my opinion

pictor says:

Rdio gives me millions of tracks in Canada. Spotify gives me 0 tracks in Canada.

Therefore, Rdio utterly leaves Spotify in the dust.

canon1100 says:

I recently discovered Raditaz. Its free and it works great on my ipod touch (4th gen). Commercial-free, user-friendly interface & no rerun songs. There are options to log in to facebook or other social media to set up custom radio stations, but for the most part the app works just fine right out of the box without any kind of log-in info.

takiv says:

Never really cared for Pandora, love Songza ! It's my go to when I'm too lazy to pick my own music.

Earpods says:

Basically, I am using Spotify & Deezer (which you didn't included it ) .

khobia2 says:

Top pick for me is Rhapsody. A little pricier but I've been using for years way before it went mobile and no complaints. New artist and old. Love me some Earth,Wind and Fire. Do I get a witness.

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22Robby says:

Thank you Canon1100! Raditaz is awesome! Bye, bye Pandora.

Dee K says:

this is a great list! my fav one is Hothits app, it is like instagram of top music videos.

Samantha Christy says:

I am happy with Rdio..Its pretty cool. Additionally I use edijing....

Katy Miles says:

I loved Raditaz, but they just went down for upgrades and they are not saying when they will be back. I'm pretty bummed - I use that app daily.

smunaco says:

"Ourtunez" for the iPhone and iPad is a new one that just came out. I had a Pandora account before and just got sick of it being to repetitive. "Ourtunez" is a way better option

Mohiyuddeen ahmad says:

All those apps are really cool. But I think Hype Machine is really the best music app. Check out this. Here they say its one of the best music app of 2013 for iPhone :P

mats88 says:

I'm biased but Spotify wins hands down. We built an app powered by Spotify's music that plays what you like on launch and connects your friends to listen and chat together. Watch the video at

Jocelyn Clark says:

As a fan of cover music.. I personally prefer over any of these