iTunes Store Alternatives For Downloading Music to The iPad

Music services that allow you to stream or download to your iOS device

The iTunes Store can be convenient to use with your iPad. It's super-easy to purchase digital music right from your device using the built-in app. This tight integration between iOS and the iTunes Store might be the best thing for Apple, but is it the right choice for you?

You may for example want to move away from a pay-to-download service to an all-you-can-eat one. Many streaming music services also allow you to download songs to your iDevice so you don't have to stick to the iTunes Store to get songs on your iPad. So, if you want more flexibility in how you connect with digital music then you'll want to look for alternative music sources.

However, what exactly are your options that work well with the iPad?

In this guide you'll find a list of top music services that not only give you the option to download songs to your iPad, but also allow you to stream without the need to store anything on your device.

1
Spotify

Spotify
Spotify. Image © Spotify Ltd.

Spotify offers a flexible way of listening to music on your iPad. If you've got a free Spotify account then you'll be able to stream music using the service's iOS app. Any song in Spotify's library can be streamed to your iPad for free, but you'll have to listen to advertisements.

Subscribing to Spotify's Premium tier eliminates ads and gets you other useful features such as Spotify Connect, 320 Kbps streaming and offline mode. This last feature enables you to download songs to your iPad so that you can listen to your music even if there's no Internet connection.

Read our Spotify review for a detailed view on this service.

2
Amazon MP3

Amazon Cloud Player
Amazon Cloud Player Logo. Image © Amazon.com, Inc.

You might think that the Amazon MP3 Store can only be used to download MP3 files to your computer. However, this music service also provides an iOS app that can be installed on your iPad. The app not only allows you to download purchases to your Apple device (like the iTunes Store), but also gives you a way to stream the contents of your online Amazon music library too.

If you've ever purchased any AutoRip music CDs in the past (as far back as 1998), then these will also be in your personal cloud music library to either download or stream. The app also allows you to create and edit playlists, and play the music already on your iPad.

Currently, there's no free option to stream music from Amazon's MP3 library (like Spotify), but you can stream an unlimited amount of music from your personal library.

For more on this service, check out our full review of Amazon MP3.

3
Rdio

rdio-logo.png
Image © Rdio

Rdio is another music service similar to Spotify that gives you the facility to either stream or download music to your iPad. It's a flexible cloud music service that allows you to stream millions of full-length songs to your device using the Rdio app.

Just like Spotify, there's an ad-supported free account that lets you stream stations based on an artist, genre, etc. However, if you want to stream particular songs or albums for instance then you'll need to upgrade to the Rdio Unlimited subscription level. As well as being ad-free you will also get an offline mode so you can download songs to the iPad and listen without having to stream.

As a side note, the Rdio music service can also match your iTunes music library using a desktop app. It's a bit like having iTunes Match where all the songs are made available in the cloud so you don't have to upload or carry around lots of downloaded music files.

Read our Rdio review for the low-down on this iTunes Store alternative.