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The best music streaming apps for Android

Having a personal MP3 collection on your smartphone is convenient, but there is a limit to how much music you can fit onto your device's internal storage or microSD card, and music streaming services are the way forward. Spotify currently dominates this market and it now includes a much more competitive family sharing package, but is it the top dog? Here we compare the best music streaming apps for Android.

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Which Android music streaming service is the best? / © ANDROIDPIT

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Spotify, Google, Amazon and Apple at a glance

  Apple Music Amazon Prime Music Spotify Google Play Music
Free trial period Three months  30 days 30 days 30 days
Price US$9.99 per month / US$14.99 for family membership (up to six people) $US99 per year for up to two adults US$9.99 per month / US$14.99 for family membership (up to six people)  US$9.99 per month / US$14.99 for family membership (up to six people)
Chromecast Support No No Yes Yes
Number of songs More than 30 million More than one million  At least 20 million More than 35 million
Offline mode for Android Yes Yes Yes Yes
Website Apple Music Amazon Prime Music Spotify Google Play Music

Apple Music

Apple Music is a recent competitor in the music streaming sphere, released on June 30, 2015. But Apple already had a great pedigree with regards to music services, with the iTunes store having been successful for more than a decade. Though the iTunes store offers in excess of 43 million songs (everything but The Beatles, apparently), its streaming service offers a little less, at around 30 million.

Apple Music isn’t just for Apple users, with a Play Store App currently in beta. It allows Android users to stream its immense catalog and comes with some unique extras such as Connect, a blogging feature that seeks to bring artists closer to their fans, allowing them to share music, videos and photos with followers. Apple Music also includes the Beats 1 internet radio station, which plays continuously in more than 100 countries. 

It might be too early to tell if Apple Music will be a big hit, but with a huge catalog, three-month trial period and all of the major features nailed, there's no reason why it wouldn't be.

androidpit apple music android app 3
Apple Music is now available for Android smartphones. / © ANDROIDPIT
Apple Music Install on Google Play

Amazon Prime Music

Amazon’s Prime Music streaming service provides ad-free listening for more than a million songs, including hundreds of playlists and a number of radio stations. Amazon Prime Music’s catalog is smaller than most of its competitors', but then Prime Music is only a small part of the overall Amazon Prime service, which the US$99 yearly subscription also covers. 

This means that you also get access to more than 800,000 eBooks, free two-day shipping, thousands of movies and TV shows, and early access to its lightning deals. Amazon Prime Music songs can also be downloaded for offline listening and it has a dedicated Android app, which can be found at the link below. 

Though the Amazon Prime service can be shared between two adults and up to four children in the same household, Amazon Prime Music does not apply to "invited household members on a shared Prime account." Thus, Prime Music can only be shared between the two adults sharing the Amazon Prime account. 

prime music playback de
Amazon Prime Music offers more a million songs, but that's less than the competition. / © ANDROIDPIT
Amazon Music Install on Google Play

Spotify

Spotify offers a free, ad-supported streaming service in addition to its paid subscription. A great aspect of this is that you (currently) get access to the same content whether you pay a subscription fee or not. The main downside to the free service in comparison to the paid is the audio quality, the ads, and the ability to use it offline. 

The Spotify Android app is perfect for mobile because it allows you to download any song in the catalog for offline listening on your device. There is also a web-player and desktop app, and all your content and playlists are synced between them.

Spotify's radio and discovery algorithms are also extremely clever and are what makes Spotify's personalized playlists (Discover Weekly), delivered every Monday, worth checking out. 

Furthermore, Spotify was recently updated with a better family-sharing subscription model so that, like Google Play Music and Apple Music, it now provides family sharing for six accounts at a cost of $15 per month.

androidpit spotify offline use
Spotify has more than 20 million paid subscribers. / © ANDROIDPIT
Spotify Music Install on Google Play

Google Play Music

What began as a simple music player app is now a full, commercial streaming package with more than 35 million songs available. 

Unlimited access to Google Music costs the same as a monthly Spotify subscription, but the key benefit is that it also includes access to YouTube Red, so you also get access to Google's YouTube video content ad-free, as well as offline and background playback, and original films and TV series.

androidpit google play music screen 10
Google Play Music is available for both iOS and Android. / © ANDROIDPIT
Google Play Music Install on Google Play

Conclusion

So which music streaming service is best? Let's quickly wrap them up. Amazon is possibly the worst as a pure music streaming service because its catalog and family-sharing features are limited, but it arguably has the best extras: no other service offers access to movies, books and free shipping from an online store. 

Google Play Music also offers valuable extras. Everybody makes use of YouTube, and the opportunity to get even greater access to it, in addition to a 35 million-song library, is mighty tempting. 

Apple Music is all about the music. You won't get any TV or video streaming benefits here, but you will get one of the biggest music databases and an intuitive interface to discover new music.

Then there's Spotify. Spotify just works. It provides high-quality audio playback, it seamlessly syncs between devices, and it's perfect for parties and sharing because most people are familiar with it already.  

What do you think is the best music streaming service for Android, and why? Let us know in the comments. 

49 comments

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  • Steve 6 months ago Link to comment

    Usually I am not one to bother commenting on posts like this, Im more of a lurker. I set up a 3 month trial with Google Play music as I bought a Nexus 5x device and, well, frankly, it's balls. I live outside the US and guess what.. for whatever dumb licensing restrictions that escape me, Google don't let me use YouTube Red outside the US. Yet another instance of a high tech company completely ignoring the 95% of the population outside the 5% of idiots that are almost going to let Trump become president.. I don't really like the GPM interface that much either, and it crashes frequently on my Nexus which is pretty retarded. I wanted to make it work, I really did - but I think I'll have a better chance with Spotify..

  • Google Play Music is my choice. I like the design a lot better than other music streaming apps and that YouTube Red combination is hard to pass up. Everytime I see myself trying to switch to a different app to try it out YouTube Red always brings me back

  • Fire Tail 7 months ago Link to comment

    Recently switched from Spotify to GM. Reason being, the selection of music is faaaar better, youtube red, radio algorithm is very good and the ability to upload music is awesome. I have found lots of obscure hard to find music on GM 9/10

  • S Wolfe 7 months ago Link to comment

    "Prime Music can only be shared between the two adults sharing the Amazon Prime account."

    This seems to be incorrect as there doesn't appear to an actual way to share this. Unless you can describe how I am wrong you probably should correct the article.

  • Alex R. 7 months ago Link to comment

    I don't agree with The best title because one should test it for themselves and see what's their own best app or things are and the best title seems not to be fair and it seems to spread false news because by seeing it people opinions change.

  • I miss Songza, which provided free and unlimited streaming with no commercials (maybe had popup ads? I can't remember). But Google bought it and included it in Google Play Music. blah

  • S Wolfe 7 months ago Link to comment

    I'm confused. My wife has amazon prime. How can I use her membership through my app with my login?

  • Systempit 7 months ago Link to comment

    BEST TIP EVER: ( SOME MUSIC APPS WITH TRILLION OF USERS)IF YOU WANT A NON FREE TRIAL AND FOREVER FREE MUSIC STREAMING APP,YOU GOT THE RIGHT PLACE. YOU KNOW ALIBABA,THE CHINA E-COMMERCE GIANT, RIGHT? THEY OFFERED SOME MUSIC STREAMING APPS THAT IS COMPLETELY FREE AND PACKED WITH TON OF FEATURES SUCH AS KUWO MUSIC, KUGOU MUSIC ALIBABA PLANET & MORE. THEY ARE FAR MORE USEFUL THAN SPOTIFY OR WHEREVER APPS. IT CAN LET YOU LISTEN TO STORY RADIOS, COMMUNITY RADIOS, HUMOR RADIOS AND MORE. FREE. WITH THESE MUSIC RADIOS OFFERED COMBINED THEY ALMOST HAVE 3 TRILLION USERS. WAIT... YOU CAN ONLY DOWNLOAD IT IF YOU KNOW HOW TO READ IN CHINESE. IT'S WORTH TO STUDY CHINESE, SINCE THEY ARE REALLY COMPLETELY FREE AND ALL MUSICS ARE AUTHORIZATION PASSED. WELL, THEY HAVE VIP PACKAGES DUE TO THE FACT THAT SOME MUSICIANS NEED TO EARN MONEY. THEY RELY ON ADS TO SUPPORT THEM, ON PCs. THE MOBILE VERSION OF THESE APPS ONLY HAVE 2 TO 3 ONLY-BANNER ADS ON THE ENTIRE APP.

  • Steve 7 months ago Link to comment

    Having used Spotify and Google Music on both paid for individual plans I found Spotify restricted as as soon as I had added 100 albums in my account it said I had reached my limit for downloads to play offline. So I had to undownload albums and delete some. So I went to Google Music which I had used before and not found it so restricted yet. I have also got audio plays and other audio stuff on memory card which Google Music plays for me too. Does anyone know if such a limit of downloads exists for Google Music?

    • Julie M. 7 months ago Link to comment

      I do like Google Play Music for their own music and it allows me to "upload" the music I have from my own computer (I went back to the free version temporarily). Most of my music is "uploaded" and I have also "downloaded" a lot of music from their site as well (purchased or free). The only restrictions I've found are that you can only "upload" from your computer about 50,000 songs, but I have over 200 albums downloaded from them and haven't seen anything about a restriction for downloads. After I read your note, I reviewed the Google Play Music info and can only find "unlimited downloads" if you pay for their service. Now, I've just glanced over everything but I didn't notice any album/song download restriction, but as I said I glanced over it.

  • why to stream? just download all songs you like from yt and enjoy them in a musicplayer like poweramp

    • Systempit 7 months ago Link to comment

      There are apps like Kuwo Music, Kugou Music or Alibaba Planet offered by Alibaba, the China e-Commerce giant that is COMPLETELY FREE with ALMOST NO ADS. Those music are authorization passed. Some music still needs to pay for downloaded, Bacchus some musicians need money. THE APPS EVEN CACHE THE MUSICS, SO YOU DIDN'T EVEN NEED TO DOWNLOAD TO LISTEN FOR FREE. BUT MAKE SURE NOT TO DELETE THE CACHE IF YOU WANT TO LISTEN WITHOUT DOWNLOADING. ( Bad news: Only available in Chinese language)

    • Aswin 7 months ago Link to comment

      I used to do that until it took me too much effort doing so. Since then I pay Google music every month and in a few clicks I get the songs I want to listen to on my player. I only rarely upload music myself for foreign music.

  • Hrishi 7 months ago Link to comment

    Damn I miss MixRadio :|

  • I use Gaana ( gaana.com ) as neither GPM nor Spotify is available in my country.

    • Surfine 6 months ago Link to comment

      You can get the services by using a proxy. Once the services are activated, you can use them without using proxies.

  • Pwillco 10 months ago Link to comment

    Spotify is great, switched to it after Rdio folded. It does "just work" and works very well.
    Google Pay music I use to upload my own collection, the free version works great. Both have great sound quality on my equipment.

  • google also comes with you tube red no extra charge thats the main reason i got it over the others i do like how on pc spotify has a program google music has a website so there is a offline mode on pc for spotify but not on google music

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