You may associate Roku only with streaming video - movies, TV shows, podcasts, YouTube, and so on. But Roku is actually in a category called streaming media players, and music is a very popular type of media streamed on Roku. Roku currently has over 800 channels and apps in the music category of the Roku channel store. With that many to choose from, you're bound to find at least one that will become your go-to music source. But having that many choices can also be a bit overwhelming, and makes it difficult to know where to start. So, to help you sort through all those choices, here are our recommendations for the best free music channels on Roku.
Free Roku music channels
Pandora selects music tracks based on your selection of a genre, song, or artist, or you can browse through recommendations. Although you can listen without providing feedback, selecting thumbs-up for songs you like will help Pandora refine the selections based on your tastes. Thumbs-down will prevent that song from being played again. Listen for free with occasional advertisements, or listen ad-free with Pandora Plus ($4.99/month) and Pandora Premium ($9.99/month) subscriptions, which also allow unlimited skips. Only Pandora Premium will allow you to search and play specific tracks or create playlists.
iHeartRadio offers a huge selection of local radio station broadcasts, music playlists, and podcasts. Browse local radio by city or more then 20 genres, find playlists by mood and activity, and listen to podcasts in more than 20 categories. If you're looking for something specific, the Search function helps you find live stations, artists, songs, and podcasts. iHeartRadio is free and logging in to a free iHeartRadio account is optional. To listen to specific songs and albums, though, you will need to upgrade to a paid subscription for $4.99 or $9.99 per month.
TuneIn provides free ad-supported streaming of live sports, up-to-the-minute news, curated music, millions of podcasts, and over 120,000 streaming radio stations. Upgrading to TuneIn Premium allows you to listen to commercial-free news from sources like CNBC, CNN, FOX News Radio and MSNBC, and you can also stream commercial-free music.
Soma FM is a listener-supported, commercial-free, Internet-only radio station with over 40 channels of music, all "hand-picked by SomaFM's award-winning DJs and music directors." Just a few of many great music streams include: Boot Liquor - Americana roots music with a bit of attitude, Groove Salad - A nicely chilled plate of ambient beats and grooves; Drone Zone - Served best chilled, safe with most medications. Atmospheric textures with minimal beats; and Indie Pop Rocks! - New and classic favorite indie pop tracks.
Other notable free Roku music channels include Radio.com, with a collection of more than 230 radio stations from around the US and over 1,000 podcasts, but does not provide any programmed music playlists; Radio by myTuner, which has a heavy emphasis on radio stations from nearly 150 countries; and AccuRadio, which has a very basic and very outdated Roku app but offers programmed playlists that include somewhat-obscure genres such as Cabaret, French Pop Classics, and Nordic Folk Songs.
If you're looking for a particular genre of music, or just something out of the ordinary, spend some time browsing through the Roku Music category. You'll find single-stream channels like Oldies Radio 104.3, which plays thousands of oldies from the 40s to the 90s, including many rare tracks not available on CD, and Hank's Old Time Radio, with vintage radio programs that include comedies, adventures, Westerns, and the macabre. SHOUTcast Internet Radio claims over 49,000 professional and community programmed radio stations from around the globe. Or how about Sorcerer Radio Network, with Disney park music and audio 24/7? You can also watch a live stream of country music videos and shows on The Country Network LLC, or dance along to music on the Big Joe Polka Show, playing "happy music for happy people" on Polka Music Network.