Google Play Music
Being the go-to choice of multitudes of Android users, Google Play Music has been downloaded over a staggering 1 billion times worldwide. Google Play Music offers a pair of feature packages: a package consisting of a bouquet of free-of-charge features, and another one made up of subscription-only, advanced options. With the former, you can indulge in some good old-fashioned channel surfing thanks to heaps of curated radio stations covering a wide range of moods, activities, artists, songs, albums, genres, decades, times of day, and much more. You can import your personal music collection, with the limit set at an astronomical 50,000 songs. If you can exceed that, we tip our hat to you out of sheer respect, but let’s get back to Google Play Music’s free features. You can search for, discover, and subscribe to your favorite podcasts, and get a plethora of recommendations based on your previous searches and listening history. As for subscription-only features: on-demand access to a ginormous music database containing more than 35 million songs, an always-welcome YouTube Red membership (which eliminates ads and allows background and offline listening), ad-free listening, and the option to download your favorite songs to your device and listen to them offline. Regarding prices, you have to shell out $9.99 per month for a single-user all-access subscription, and $14.99 per month for an all-access subscription for up to 6 family members.
We’ve all been there. You search for a specific song on YouTube, listen to it (often several times in a row), then you notice another song you like – not necessarily courtesy of the same performer -, listen to it, and you’re already caught in the all-too-familiar YouTube-cycle. Not that it’s a bad thing, listening to music never is, but you can easily detour from your original plans by tapping on the wrong (and completely unrelated) related videos, meaning the road leading to zit-popping monstrosities from Sam Cooke’s undeservedly underrated and oh-so-romantic “That’s Where It’s At” is shorter than you think. To help you in filtering out unwanted YouTube content, Google has come up with YouTube Music, a music-only version of the original video player. By installing YouTube Music, an almost endless catalog of songs will be at your disposal, guaranteeing multiple-hour-long eargasms with playlists, better-than-the-original covers, official music videos, live recordings, timeless classics, and all the artists from lesser-known singer-songwriters to global pop superstars. When you start a video in YouTube Music, it unleashes a non-stop stream of similar songs. The more you use YouTube music, the more thoroughly the app will learn your musical preferences, ensuring that your personalized stations will reflect your taste in music with nearly immaculate accuracy – especially by making use of the option of fine-tuning the song variety of your personalized stations. YouTube Music’s free version contains ads, but you can eliminate those pestering little bastards by subscribing to YouTube Red for $9.99 per month. Besides an uninterrupted, ad-free listening experience, YouTube Red gives you background listening powers, and the enviable ability to put together mobile data plan-friendly, offline mixtapes.
As it is evidenced by hundreds of millions of installs on Android devices, there’s no denying that Pandora Radio is at least as popular as Madonna was in the late 80s and early 90s. Pandora Radio’s listening experience-enhancing superpowers are rooted in the fancy-named Music Genome Project, which is said to be the most comprehensive music analysis ever undertaken. The gist of these MGP-boosted superpowers lie in personalization, as Pandora allows you to create personalized radio stations based on your favorite artists, songs, genres, and even comedians. Pandora gradually learns your taste patterns, and evolves into your very own pocket DJ with a peerless music library and a tireless willingness to expand your lists of favorite songs and artists. Moreover, you can explore multitudes of curated Pandora stations to find the one that is the best fit for your current state of mind. If you’re on the hunt for more advanced features, switch to Pandora Plus for $4.99 per month and get ad-free listening, endless song skipping and replays, and of course offline listening.
Spotify is an ageless classic in the music app genre that feels like it’s been around forever. If free-of-charge on-demand listening is what you’re looking for, Spotify will definitely not be your cup of tea, as access to this sought-after feature requires a Spotify Premium subscription clocking in at a monthly fee of $4.99. To make things absolutely clear and thus avoid potential misunderstandings, the aforementioned fact does not render Spotify’s free version useless, because you can still browse and listen to playlists, share your own best-of compilations, and listen to any artist, album, or playlist in Shuffle Mode. Spotify Premium enhances your music-listening experience not only with on-demand listening, but also with offline listening and better sound quality, and, to put the cherry on top, it sends ads – in the unforgettable words of the great Max Romeo – to outer space to find another place (i.e. gets rid of them).
Shazam is one of those apps that when you first see it, it blows your mind. After using it for a while you forget how you were ever able to survive without it. Grab Shazam, then prepare to go on a musical journey. (I knew all that “Rattle & Hum” viewing would pay off someday. Thanks, Bono and crew!) When you hear a song you can’t identify during your favorite TV shows, webcasts or radio, click the Shazam logo and feed it 30 seconds of the track. The sample is uploaded to their servers, and a few seconds later a positive ID is presented. You’ve just tagged yourself a new song, and the name of the artists and the track are saved in your My Tags folder. Every tagged track offers you the chance to buy an MP3 via Amazon, watch a YouTube video of the song, get tour information, view similar recommendations, and read the lyrics. Plus, links to Facebook and Twitter are included, along with biographical data, album reviews, the ability to share the track via SMS or email and ringtones.
Amazon Music gives Android users instant access to the online retailer’s music store, as well as full Amazon Cloud Player functionality. You can browse best sellers and daily deals or search for specific music and purchase it immediately with an Amazon account. Once you make a purchase, you can choose to download the MP3 or save it to the Amazon Cloud Drive attached to your account. You can listen to songs immediately from the cloud, streaming them over a Wi-Fi or 4G Internet connection wherever you are, on whatever device you’re using. You can also upload your tracks to Amazon’s Cloud Drive and access all your playlists and tracks. Amazon Music is one of those apps that includes all the features you expect.
SoundCloud – Music & Audio
SoundCloud is a powerful and versatile music app capable of catapulting artists – from up-and-coming to established household names – and music enthusiasts straight up to cloud 9 with its assortment of superb features. SoundCloud’s free version lets you discover brand new music you won’t come across on any other platform, listen to your favorite songs and find new ones to fall in love with by making use of SoundCloud’s suggestions (which are based on your liked and most-listened-to tracks), create playlists for a variety of moods, activities, and occasions, and last not least connect with your friends and favorite artists to cherry-pick songs from their playlists and see the content they share. As for SoundCloud Go, it significantly expands your SoundCloudy horizon by adding thousands of new tracks and artists to the music catalog, while also bringing you the joy of offline and ad-free listening.
iHeart Radio – Free Music & Radio
If you’re looking for a music app with which you can listen to local and global AM and FM radio stations, podcasts, news stations, sports shows, talk shows, and comedy shows, and which allows you to create personalized music stations based on your tastes using a song library made up of millions of songs covering all genres from old school soul to dubstep, you’ll heart iHeart Radio in a heartbeat. The features we’ve just listed are at your service for free, though, to keep up with the latest trends of music apps (the most noteworthy and indispensable being on-demand listening), iHeart Radio offers subscription plans – two of them, to be exact. With the cheaper option, iHeart Radio Plus, you can play any song on demand, save songs straight to your playlist, instantly replay songs from any radio you’re listening to, and skip as many songs as many times as your iHeart desires. The more expensive subscription plan, iHeart Radio All Access, takes it up a notch with offline listening, unlimited access to nearly all the songs in the history of music, and with the ability to create as many playlists as you want. iHeart Radio Plus costs $5.99 per month, while iHeart All Access adds $12.99 to your regular monthly expenses.
Pi Music Player
Pi Music Player is the embodiment of the elusive harmony of form and content that is just as rare as a Bruce Springsteen concert shorter than three and a half days hours. Pi Music Player boasts a minimalistic, eye-friendly and eye-pleasing design with very few colors, letting you choose from a selection of three themes, namely Gloss, Light, and Dark. In case you’re dying to give another dash of visual boost to your Pi Music Players interface, you can get ahold of 25 additional backgrounds for the Gloss theme through an in-app purchase costing no more than a couple of bucks. Now that we’re done detailing the form, let’s take a closer look at the content. Most importantly, Pi Music Player comes equipped with professional-grade equalizers to boost that dirty bass or get trippy 3D reverb effects, and also packs 10 presets in case fiddling around with equalizers is not your thing. Pi Music Player employs intuitive, swiping-based, user-friendly controls spruced up with silky smooth animations, and contains a ringtone cutter feature with which you can cut any MP3 any way you like, then instantly set your freshly cut track as the default ringtone on your Android phone. Pi Music Player has a 4.7-star rating based on nearly 150,000 reviews, so it’s safe to say that as it pertains to music players for Android, you won’t find too many better options – if any at all.
Poweramp Music Player
For all the features available in this amped up music player, I was surprised that it was still really easy to use. The standard buttons are all in plain sight (like repeat, shuffle and more), plus you have the equalizer and many more selections. I’m not the smartest cookie when it comes to music, and I’m still able to appreciate the features in this music player. That said, it’s pretty easy to impress me, and I’m going bananas for the quick setting in this app that lets you change your ringtone super easily to the song you’re currently playing. Savvy music lovers will be stoked about the 10 band graphical equalizer and separate bass and treble adjustment. I could care less about that, but I am a huge fan of the four different widgets available for controlling my music selections from the home screen of my droid. The app also downloads missing cover art for stray song selections in your musical Android library.
If you’re looking to upgrade your Android music player, look no further than the PowerAMP Music Player (Trial) app. The trial player is free for 15 days, and gives you access to the full version and comprehensive suite of musical features. After 15 days, it will cost you about the price of a fast-food meal, approximately $5.18, to unlock the full version of the amped-up music player.
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.
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.