We may be well into the streaming generation of media consumption, with downloads starting to feel a bit like DVDs in the age of Netflix, if you follow me. With that said, there’s just something reassuring about having your music right there on your device, without having to worry about the vagaries of bad Internet connections or what to do if you’re on a long-haul flight.
There are plenty of great paid services that let you download music to your Android device, but lucky for you, there are also some fantastic free ones. Here are six of my favorite apps for downloading music to your Android device that won’t cost you a penny.
The Play Store blurb for this is somewhat confusing, suggesting that you need to be some kind of member to enjoy this app. Just ignore that. The free version of SONGily is ad-supported, and has access to a healthy stockpile of music new and old, from artists both mainstream and obscure – from chart music to sea shanties (it’s true – I found shanties from Assassin’s Creed IV here). With each song you find, you’ll see options to both play and download the songs you listen to, and they recently added a feature that lets you download videos as well.
This is exactly the kind of app that I can imagine Google not liking too much, so don’t be too surprised if it disappears from the Play Store and you find yourself having to download it manually.
Sometimes the best apps for your free music downloads are those which aren’t even designed specifically for that purpose. TubeMate is an app that lets you download YouTube videos in a number of formats – including audio only. As you’re probably aware, YouTube is one of the best places to listen to your favorite music, and thanks to TubeMate it’s one of the best places to download that music, too.
You can download TubeMate here (Google doesn’t allow this in the Play Store, presumably because it encroaches on YouTube), and when you try to download videos as audio (M4A or MP3), you’ll also get prompted to download MP3 Video Converter, which syncs up with TubeMate to convert video to audio.
The famous file-sharing repository 4Shared has been making the rounds on PC for years, and it’s proven to be a huge hit on Android as well. Again, this isn’t designed just for music, as users can upload whatever files they want to it, but it’s as good for finding music as anything else. (There’s even an option to search specifically for music files.)
4. KeepVid (Perfect for SoundCloud)
A worthy alternative to TubeMate, with the added advantages of a prettier interface and the ability to download music from the ultimate source for electronic sets and independent artists, is SoundCloud.
KeepVid is easily the most user-friendly free music downloader out there, although it doesn’t let you download music in the M4A format, which TubeMate does. That aside, it’s a great option. Note that in order to download Soundcloud tracks you’ll need to go to Soundcloud after installing KeepVid, select the track you want, tap the “Share” icon, then select KeepVid in the options.
If you want to know that the music you’re downloading isn’t going to be infringing on any copyright and are open to checking out emerging talent in the Hip-Hop, Electronic and Reggae arenas, then give Audiomack a try.
This app gives a platform to artists without official distribution outlets while still having a content-filtering system in place to make sure that the stuff on there is of good quality. This good-willed project has already propelled hip-hop stars like T-Wayne, Fetty Wap and Migos to record label deals and gives you a chance to help find the next big star.
Now this one’s a little bit different. Designed with joggers and fitness addicts in mind, RockMyRun has some of the biggest names in the electronic music world onboard to create sets designed to get your blood pumping (y’know, like that montage scene from Rocky… which I’m not sure is included).
The whole spiel about it being “PROVEN” to increase motivation by 35% should probably be taken with a pinch of salt, but with names like David Guetta and Afrojack delivering the mixes and the option to adjust the BPM to your pace, it’s a solid acoustic option for your workouts.
It’s always good to know that there are a vast array of apps out there that can fix you up when you want to have music physically on your device. Streaming is all well and good, but unless you’re prepared to pay, it usually comes with quite a lot of limitations. With music downloaded to your device, you’re in control.