Music is ingrained so deep into the Apple ecosystem that it's natural for iPhone and iPod users to be major audiophiles. In fact, the journey began with the iPod and the iTunes after all. With so many streaming apps including those of iTunes Radio, Spotify, Pandora and more, you can access (stream) music (almost free) from anywhere.
But what if you want to download free music (legally) and have it on your iPhone/iPad/iPod touch? How to get free music on the iPhone is something a lot of people actively look for. Understandably, there's no simple way to do this but there are plenty of options. Here's what I'm talking about:
#1. iTunes Single of the Week
One of the safest and the easiest ways to download free music on your iPhone is to rely on Apple's iTunes Single of the Week. Every week, curators at Apple release one free single track (either out of an album or just as a single). All you need to do is open the iTunes app and pick the free download. (If you forget, there's Free Song Notifier)
Free Music Archive is popular for its curated collection of free music (that keeps growing). You won't find a Nicki Minaj or Nirvana here but the music you'll discover here can be as addictive. In some cases, better. What is special about FMA is that it has a standalone iPhone app that can get you direct access to all the tracks from the archive. You can directly download or just stream to your iPhone.
Also Read: Best Radio Apps for iPhone & iPad
#3. Downloader for SoundCloud
SoundCloud began as a place to share your tiny random recordings but has grown, over the years, into a huge catalog of indie music. There are some awesome artists establishing a strong footing in the music industry's landscape through SoundCloud. There is an official app but it doesn't let you download tracks. For that, there's Downloader for SoundCloud which works like a charm. The downloader doesn't stop at that. You can create playlists too (which kind of sounds redundant given that you can create playlists everywhere). The app is free but there are some limitations that can be unlocked by upgrading to the Pro version (in-app purchase: $1.99).
#4. FinalTube Free
You cannot download videos from video-serving websites like YouTube but it is okay to cache the video locally (cache is what a browser does too). FinalTube makes use of this capability to help you stream songs even when you're actually offline. So in many ways, this is not exactly a “free music download” solution but it works somewhat close to that theme. FinalTube is especially useful when most of your music-listening is done over YouTube.
We haven't had a chance to test MyMP3 and the reviews are both good and bad. But the description says that MyMP3 converts videos to mp3 files. Most users have pointed out that this feature works pretty good. MyMP3 can convert any video (including the ones streaming or the ones in your camera roll) to mp3. It also features a built-in music player. You might have to resort to the developer's MyVid to get those videos in the first place.
Other Ways to Download Free Music on Your iPhone/iPod Touch
If we're talking about free music on the iPhone, that has a very limited scope. But the web has a plethora of sources where you can get free music, legally. Most of it is by indie artists and bands that are just coming up. You don't get to see a lot of popular music in the free circuit. But, in cases like iMesh with its 15-million strong audio library or Last.fm's free music collection that runs to about 25 pages (as on last count), you do find – occasionally – popular tracks. There are also other websites like Noisetrade where you get high-quality free music.
In these cases, what you can do to get these tracks onto your iPhone is to use a suitable download manager like MyMedia Download Manager (which is free, by the way). The app comes with a built-in browser so you can browse through the downloadable tracks of iMesh or Last.fm or Noisetrade through MyMedia Download Manager. The app lets you easily, quickly and seamlessly download mp3 files directly to your iPhone.
Alternatively, if you have downloaded the mp3 tracks to your computer, put them in your Dropbox folder, open the Dropbox app on your iPhone and enjoy the music playback. I hear that Dropbox even lets you play music in the background.