A few weeks ago I shared with you 30 Awesome Apps for Movies & TV Lovers but my passion for entertainment doesn’t stop at the audiovisual content, instead spanning to music and audio. That’s why I thought it would be a good idea to create a similar roundup for music fans.
Between music players, streaming apps, online radios, social apps for sharing and discovering music, concert finders, ID3 tag editors, ringtone makers, and more, there’s no shortage of Android apps for the music fan. Here are the best 30 ones I would recommend to any fellow avid music listener.
This roundup will focus on apps geared towards the music listener — those that allow you to edit music, produce it, play instruments and such, have been left out because they would deserve a roundup of their own. Also, the apps mentioned below are internationally available, and hence you won’t see some popular services that aren’t available worldwide like Slacker, Rdio, Pandora, Spotify, Songza, MOG, Rhapsody, iHeartRadio, turntable.fm and VEVO.
Local Music Players
There are many music players for Android, but PlayerPro has managed to grab my heart for several years now. The main reason is that, along with iSyncr (which I’ll talk about later), it’s the only way to truly synchronize your Android music with iTunes, including playlists, play counts, ratings and lyrics.
And that isn’t even the only ace up PlayerPro’s sleeve. The app and widgets can be themed and personalized, almost every aspect of the app can be tweaked in the settings, there’s an equalizer, lockscreen widgets, expandable notification drop-down controls, and simple gestures for in-car use. That’s not to mention that PlayerPro can automatically download album art and lyrics, and lets you build smart playlists just like iTunes. It might not be the best looking music player out there, but PlayerPro’s extensive featureset more than makes up for its average design.
UberMusic was first made to emulate the gorgeously clean music player found on Windows Phone. It has since evolved to support skins that can make it look like anything from the signature Metro design, to Holo Android, and even MIUI ROMs.
Putting the looks aside for a second, UberMusic also packs a lot of functionality, including a rather fullscreen view that still offers access to your notifications, a live wallpaper that automatically updates with your currently playing music, different widget sizes, scrobbling options to Last.fm, and an ability to automatically download artist pictures to show as the app’s background.
MediaMonkey is an incredibly powerful and popular music player amongst the Windows crowd and this Android application, although still in beta, should be the go-to music player for any MediaMonkey user. It can wirelessly synchronize with the PC app, and carries over playlists, ratings, lyrics, play history and any other file attribute you can think of.
MediaMonkey also divides audio by music, podcasts, and audiobooks. It offers widgets, lockscreen controls, can automatically download lyrics, lets you manually edit ID3 tags, and is being frequently updated to add more functions and fix bugs.
Now Playing is one of several Android music players based on CyanogenMod’s Apollo app — a clean, Holo-designed replacement for the Android music player that comes bundled with CyanogenMod’s ROM builds. Now Playing builds on Apollo by providing a gorgeous cards UI approach to music, automatically fetching lyrics, scrobbling to Last.fm, and supporting DashClock’s widgets.
However, Now Playing’s signature feature is its gesture support: simply swipe right on the now playing screen to get to the song queue and edit it, or swipe left to fetch and view the lyrics of the song.
Other excellent Android music players include: Poweramp Music Player, N7 Music Player, Winamp, doubleTwist, PLAY by AOL Music, 99M, jetAudio, GoneMAD Music Player, XenoAmp Music Player Beta, LimesTone Music Beta, Shuttle+ Music Player, and Nexmusic.
Music Players With a Twist
CloudAround is a fantastic solution for those of you who don’t like to keep music stored locally on your device — and that number is increasing every day thanks to the lack of microSD slots in many modern Android devices. Aside from being a full-featured music player for local files, CloudAround can also sync and cache music files from several online accounts, including Amazon S3, Google Drive, Dropbox, Box, SugarSync, Microsoft SkyDrive, and more.
Subsonic works in conjunction with a server app that can be installed on any Windows, Mac or Linux computer, to stream your music to your Android device. Several file formats are supported, and the app includes an equalizer, visualizer, and a handy offline mode that caches songs to play them whenever you don’t have access to an internet connection.
If you like listening to music while exercising — and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? — then DjRun should be a mainstay in your music app arsenal. It uses the phone’s accelerometer to detect your stride (steps/minute) and analyzes your music files for their beats/minute rate. DjRun then puts these two together to play music that matches your speed. It even supports preset profiles so you can use the music’s tempo to adjust your running speed over a long workout — a brilliant idea.
I know I’m not the only person who likes singing along to their favorite songs so if you’re like me, you’ll love Karaoke Anywhere. The app can stream from a library of 10000 songs or let you buy from 40000 songs. It plays high quality background tracks along with big, beautiful lyrics so you can practice singing your preferred songs.
Music Streaming and Online Radio
Very few music streaming services are free with no ads, available worldwide and offer a huge catalog of tracks, but 8tracks defies the norm. The app takes the concept of mix tapes to the next level, by allowing anyone to create and listen to playlists based on activity — working out, studying, partying… — or mood or music genre. You can search for artists, follow other users, browse by tag, and like a track or a playlist. 8tracks even offers a tablet-friendly UI and is constantly updated to match Android’s design guidelines.
Although Anghami rose as an Arabic music streaming service, it is hard to ignore the app’s international catalog of music labels and its extensive featureset. Anghami uses several approaches to bring music to you: you can either view playlists curated by your friends, pick a playlist based on your mood or activity, or search for a specific artist, album or track. A paid subscription even allows you to cache music for offline listening.
TuneIn Radio is the first app that comes to mind when you think of online radios, and that’s for a valid reason. The app is really gorgeous, with a tablet-friendly UI, and packed with features. Over 70000 live worldwide radio stations are available for anyone and can be searched by title, or browsed by country or genre. TuneIn lets you favorite stations, suggests similar ones you might like, and as an added bonus, it also offers over 2 million podcasts, concerts and shows.
Jango Radio sits somewhere between TuneIn Radio and 8Tracks, offering curated radio stations based on genre and artists. However, these stations aren’t static, and you can fine-tune any of them by adding or banning artists, or by teaching Jango what you like. You can also create your own stations, and share them across social networks. Jango’s promise is unlimited and free music listening with only one ad per day, and so far, it has lived up to it.
SoundCloud is quite popular in the music scene, with several artists, musicians, and even podcasters and DJs using the service to share their audio recordings with the world. The Android app, which follows the Holo design but adds a twist of SoundCloud’s signature orange look, lets you access all of the service’s content — follow musicians and audio producers, listen to tracks, like and comment, or even record and upload your own content.
The Play Store is full of other online radio and streaming apps, amongst which: Song Seeker, UTuneMe, MPme Radio, rara.com, Soundtracker Radio, AccuRadio, Online Radio, exfm music, UberHype for Hype Machine, Earbits Radio, Stereomood and Indie Shuffle.
Music Videos and Concerts
With a collection of high quality concerts spanning from the 60s until today, over 1000 artists and bands, and a catalog that offers music documentaries and Q&As with the artists as well as concerts, Qello is one of the go-to sources for avid concert fans. The app also gives you access to curated content and setlists, lets you share the videos you run across and looks good doing so on phones and tablets alike.
MusicGeek is more of a video-oriented music player. It mines the treasures of YouTube to give you access to music videos from your favorite artists and lets you create playlists and bookmark songs and albums. Although video oriented, MusicGeek works similarly to any music player by supporting repeat and shuffle functionality, but it also resembles music discovery and chart apps in that it showcases the top music based on genres. Add to that a simple and clean UI and you’ve got one of the hidden treasures of the Play Store for music fans.
Speaking of hidden treasures, have you heard of Mono? Judging by the app’s download numbers, the answer is probably “no” and you’re really really missing out. Beyond Mono’s odd icon and traditional Holo layout lies a powerful app that merges a local music player, an artist browser, a concert finder, a music discovery engine, a playlist engine with friend sharing, and a YouTube music video player. If you like music one tiny bit, then you should give Mono a try.
Songkick reins among the many services that aim to make it easier for you to discover concerts and live gigs for your favorite bands. The app, which is also optimized for tablets, can scan your local music library, your Play Music account, or your Last.fm account to automatically add your favorite artists. It then tracks their live appearances, neatly disposes them on a calendar, notifies you of new gigs, and provides detailed information of every event: line-up, venue, map, and all ticket options.
Social Music Listening and Discovery
#nwplyng is one of the emerging music experiences on Android that mixes social and gaming elements. You can think of it as GetGlue meets Twitter Music. As a social music app, it can identify music playing on your device, or nearby, and share it to Twitter, Facebook or Foursquare, along with a comment, picture, location or even YouTube video. It even lets you see what your friends are listening to and comment on it. As for the gaming features, the more you use #nwplyng, the more you unlock “records” — ie badges — and level up.
SoundTracking is similar to the social element of #nwplyng but it pushes it even further. The service builds on what they call “music moments”: a track can be shared with a photo, audio snippet and location to Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare and even Instagram. You can also tag friends or dedicate a song to them. But SoundTracking doesn’t stop there, offering a nearby discovery feature, and the option to play any track shared by your friends in YouTube, Rdio or Spotify.
Artists and Charts
Among the hundreds of music chart apps in the Play Store, very few come close to Chartix. Designed with a Google Now-inspired Cards UI, Chartix offers access to all iTunes Charts and Billboard Charts, with the ability to preview songs in the iTunes charts, and even download the preview and set it as a ringtone. There’s also a nifty option to edit iTunes charts, which can come in handy if you’re previewing songs and you only want to keep those you’re interested in buying or streaming later on.
Artist Finder is almost like Last.fm on steroids. The app actually uses Last.fm’s data — and MusicBrainz— to display artist biographies, discographies, hottest tracks, events, and recommend similar artists. But it also lets you find song lyrics, and search for tracks on Spotify or videos on YouTube.
I don’t think SoundHound needs any more introduction at this point. It is one of the first apps I install on any of my devices, because it allows me to identify any music track I hear, sing or hum. SoundHound is worth getting only for its recognition engine, but it also sweetens the deal by offering live lyrics, and handy links to buy the song on Amazon, search for it on YouTube or find tour dates for the artist. Tagged music can be shared to social networks, and the data is collated to create charts for the most or newest tagged tracks on the service.
One of my biggest gripes with many music players on Android is the lack of a clean and simple homescreen widget to control them. Phantom fills that void by controlling many popular music playing apps, and providing 9 different style skins, ranging from Metro to Sense, Aero, MIUI and more. The widget can be set to automatically hide when there’s no music playing, customized to hide and show various elements, and even comes with a text-only mode akin to Minimalistic Text widgets.
Several years ago, an app was released on the Nokia N95 to control music playback via gestures performed to the front camera and I had hours of fun demonstrating it to friends and family, and using it in various settings. Thankfully, a similar app was developed for Android so I could carry on with my geeky showoff behavior.
Wave Control uses the proximity sensor on modern devices to detect hovering or waving and, depending on the motion, can control playback on several music players, but also video players and even for phone calls. The app is fully customizable, but also comes in a free flavor that offers some non-customizable preset gestures.
Although several feature-rich Android music player apps offer the option to customize headset buttons to perform specific actions, they remain limited in the number of actions you can perform or their resulting effects. Headset Button Controller aims to fill that void by providing exhaustive options for anyone whose music headset comes with one or several buttons.
You can set which app to control by default, the different music and call actions to perform on various click macros, the minimum and maximum volume limits to allow, and what the app should do when a headset is plugged in or out. Everything can even be assigned to a profile, so you can easily switch between different configurations for your various headsets and their buttons.
Despite being limited to rooted devices, GMusicFS deserves to be on this list for the simple reason that it’s rather amazing. The app works as a bridge between your Play Music data and any third-party music player app you have installed, by exposing all of your Play Music tracks and playlists — even All Access tracks! — as a filesystem, which makes them readable through apps like PlayerPro, PowerAmp, Now Playing, and so on. When you click to play those files, GMusicFS springs in the background to stream them, cache your pinned ones for offline use, and synchronize any metadata changes back to Play Music.
Basically, if you use the Play Music service but prefer other third-party Android music players, then this app is the little miracle you’ve been waiting for.
Every time I mention listening to my iTunes music on my Android phones, I’m amazed at the amount of people who stare at me baffled because they haven’t heard of iSyncr. Whether for PC or Mac, iSyncr is excellent — and that barely describes it. It can synchronize your iTunes playlists via a wired or wireless connection to your Android device, and can be scheduled to launch so you don’t have to worry about manually syncing your new tracks.
iSyncr differentiates itself from similar apps like DoubleTwist by being lightweight on the computer and the phone, not requiring you to use its own music player — although the developer offers one that works flawlessly with iSyncr. Another point in its favor is that it can sync ratings and playcounts both ways — with some settings adjustment — so you’re in luck if you use those attributes to manage your iTunes music.
Retune is by far the best iTunes remote controller for Android, and I love using it to control my music on my iMac while I move around — or to prank anyone sitting next to the iMac by starting music playback without even coming near it.
Retune is gorgeous on phones and tablets, with a light and dark theme and the new Android sliding side menu. After a dead simple setup, the app gives you access to all of your iTunes data from your device — playlists, radio, movies, audiobooks, podcasts, and so on. You can switch tracks, search for specific keywords, view a Now Playing screen, shuffle tracks, activate the repeat mode, control music volume and change the rating. Retune is also perfectly coded for Android, with widgets, lockscreen and expanded notification controls.
If you’re looking to convert your favorite songs into ringtones for your device, then look no further. Ringcut allows you to convert any MP3 file into a ringtone for calls, specific contacts, alarms or notifications. The app displays the audio spectrum of the song, and lets you pinpoint with amazing precision the beginning and the end of the clip you want to keep.
Pimp My Music is the perfect app for the OCD music listener and collector. Whether you want to edit the ID3 tags of one song, or you want to whip your whole music collection into shape, Pimp My Music offers a lot of options that you’d be hard pressed to look elsewhere.
The app can edit ID3 tags in different music file formats, automatically grab missing album art and lyrics, edit several ID3 tag fields — artist, title, album, genre, to name a few — rename the music files based on their ID3 tag, and more. There’s even a music player baked in for good measure.
More, So Much More
This roundup is simply scratching the surface of the available music apps on Android and I had to cut some awesome apps out. For example, did you know that you could set how and which audio is sent to your speakers, wired or bluetooth headphones with SoundAbout, or that you can control music playback by tapping on the back of your phone with tipSkip?
Did I miss any of your favorite music apps? Do you know of any cool utilities that help you discover, share, edit, or learn more about artists, bands, and tracks? Let us know in the comments.