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Free Android apps for music fans everywhere

by Ian Black

Misplaced your iPod? No worries. The Android Market features plenty of cool music apps, whether it’s Internet radio, streaming music services, watching music videos or playing your own tunes.

Streaming Tunes

Pandora Radio (Free)

By now you probably know the power of Pandora. A clever twist on Internet radio where you pick a tune you like and the service creates a “station” of similar music. People rave that this makes a great way to discover new music and artists. By “bookmarking” a song in the app, you build up your profile and educate Pandora on what type of music you like best.

On Android, you can make Pandora a widget on the screen and play your music in the background while you do other stuff on your phone. You can also share songs you like with friends on social networks or go shopping on Amazon for the music you hear. Listen free for 40 hours a month or pay 99 cents to listen without limits for 30 days.

Slacker Radio (Free)

Slacker offers customizable stations like Pandora but also features specially programmed stations run by staff members. These pre-programmed stations cover a wide range of music genres and are generally a huge hit with Slacker listeners. You can vote for a favorite song or block one you don’t like.

Like Pandora, you can see album art and artist bio info and you can share music you like over email or text. Slacker offers a paid “Radio Plus” subscription that adds features like unlimited skipping of songs, lyrics, and no ads.

Last.fm (Free)

Another popular personalized streaming music service that’s a hit in Europe and the US. Like Slacker and Pandora, you can create your own programs starting with just one song you like. Or, you can choose to follow the music others are listening to. You’ll find a breakdown of top tracks, artists, albums, and recently played items.

Last.fm is a social network unto itself and you can make and share with Last.fm or even synchronize your friends in the app with your phone’s contacts. The service uses the term “scrobbling” to mean creating and publishing a list of artists and tunes you listened to and like. You can edit the scrobble list to be more precise. Then, Last.fm will use the data to improve tune choices and alert your friends.

KCRW Radio (Free)

Public Radio rocks! California station KCRW delivers their own streaming app that features live broadcasts and show archives. Like the Southern California region it broadcasts from, the channel emphasizes music and arts.

For music, scan the archives by artist and listen to concerts recorded on-air. You’ll find a wide variety of music genres from jazz, hip-hop, rock, and pop. The app receives rave reviews from those who live in the area to those across the country the world.

Related: More Android apps for music lovers

Music Video

VEVO (Free)

VEVO brings the latest and greatest music videos straight to your phone for free. Created by some the biggest music publishers, it aims to wrest the control of music video delivery from companies like MTV. Currently, the service sports over 25,000 videos from over 7,000 artists.

Browse through the latest video or search by artist or song. On Android, you can also search by voice. You can pass the short time while a video loads by reading artist trivia, and can share the videos you like over email or social networks. The app also offers the ability to buy the music you want to own.

Music Player

Winamp (Free)

No, there’s no iTunes-like store for music yet (though Amazon MP3 comes close), but if you can purchase or gather music from other sources, Winamp for Android will allow you to play it on your phone. With ease, you can organize your tunes and create playlists of tracks. You’ll find traditional VCR-style controls to start, stop, fast-forward and rewind your songs.

Winamp kicks out to social networks and the web for browsing for additional info on a particular artist. You can also transfer music from your PC to your Android through the app.

Miscellaneous Music

MusicMapper (Free)

Do places remind you of songs or vice versa? MusicMapper lets you tag songs to locations. MusicMapper lets you leave memories in place for others to see, or map out a complete musical journey. Search a massive music database to find the songs you want, and the tracks don’t need to be resident on your phone.

You can alert other about your music maps over Facebook and Twitter. Friends can see your songs overlaid on Google maps and follow your tune trip.

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