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The best music streaming apps for Android
Apps Google Play Music Spotify Music 7 min read 58 comments

The best music streaming apps for Android

Update: YouTube Music added!

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 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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spotify vs youtube music
Which Android music streaming service is the best? / © AndroidPIT

Music streaming services at a glance

  Apple Music Spotify Google Play Music Soundcloud Tidal YouTube Music
Free trial period Three months  30 days 30 days Free unlimited / 30 days 30 days 30 days
Price $9.99 per month / $14.99 for family membership (up to six people) $9.99 per month / $14.99 for family membership (up to six people)  $9.99 per month / $14.99 for family membership (up to six people) free / ad-free with Soundcloud Go for $4.99 per month, Soundcloud Go+ for $9.99. $9.00 per month / $19.99 for Hi-Fi $9.99 per month / $11.99 for YouTube Premium
Chromecast Support No Yes Yes Yes  Yes Yes
Number of songs More than 35 million More than 35 million More than 35 million Around 125 million 30 million Unknown
Offline mode for Android Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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, its streaming service offers a little less, at around 30 million.

Apple Music isn’t just for Apple users, with a Play Store App now available. 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

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, but that might change. Spotify might restrict new album releases to paying users. 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

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

Soundcloud and Soundcloud Go

Soundcloud is a different breed of app which has a well-deserved place on the list of top music streaming apps for Android. Its aim is to bring independent artists to the forefront.

While the app is free, there is a paid version (Soundcloud Go) with no ads. Artists pay to put their music online, a practice that comes from music producers needing a platform to exchange and collaborate on songs from a distance. Users can listen and comment on tracks, share them with others, and sometimes download them if the artists allow it. Soundcloud is ideal for those who like to discover new artists before anyone else.

meilleures application streaming audio android soundcloud
Soundcloud is ideal for those who support independent artists. © AndroidPIT

Tidal

You can register on Tidal with a credit card or a PayPal account. The service offers a basic subscription for $9.99 per month, and a Hi-Fi (high fidelity) version which costs $19.99.

The 30-day free trial is the same as the others, except that you can play videos. The Hi-Fi mode is also available for testing, although it is mandatory give them your credit card details. The interface of the application is intuitive and full of interesting features, like TIDAL Rising, a music discovery guide.

tidal screenshots google play
The dark interface of Tidal is very appealing. / © Tidal

YouTube Music

Even though YouTube Music does not announce hard figures for the total size of its library, it has all the music you could ever want. The big advantage of YouTube music over some of the competition is the amount of exclusive content it has. Sure, every streaming platform on the planet has the new Arctic Monkeys record on there, but how many have that live performance from Lollapalooza Argentina 2019? Only YouTube can deliver that.

youtube music neu
YouTube Music on Android. / © AndroidPIT

The app and system UI is not as neat and tidy as the competition, and the subscription mess between YouTube Premium and YouTube Music (YouTube Premium includes all of the YouTube Music Premium features, plus more for just $2 more a month) is confusing, but often this is the only platform to find the tracks that you want to listen to, and that's a huge advantage.

Conclusion

So which music streaming service is best? Let's quickly wrap them up.

  • 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.  
  • Soundcloud is very hip, and free. If you're into independent music, this is what you'll want to try.
  • Tidal is for audiophiles who are willing to pay a price for high fidelity. Or just casual fans of Beyonce's Lemonade album.
  • 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 with Prime membership: no other service offers access to movies, books and free shipping from an online store. Deezer is similarly uninspiring.
  • YouTube Music is great for exclusive content, especially live performances and one-off gigs and shows.

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

58 comments

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  • I bounce between Spotify and Pandora, Pandora I don't pay for, Spotify I used to pay for (commercial breaks don't bother me, having more choices of my music selection does).

    It takes a lot for me to want to pay for a service, you have to deliver what I want, or I will not pay (and even go as far as deleting the App).


  • I prefer high quality offline music files, to which I listen using Neutron Music player, or Poweramp Pro or Stellio Music Player, depending on the mood.


  • why should i stream music? Low quality, ads or paid service.
    I can carry my own curated high quality rips and not worry about bandwidth, coverage, and more.

    perhaps occasionally to find new music but thats the extent of its usefulness really.


  • Regarding these apps only in Chinese, wouldn't Google Translator solve that problem?


  •   2
    Deactivated Account Mar 22, 2017 Link to comment

    Sad thing is Google play music doesn't work in India. Spotify and Tidal haven't launch their service too.


  • mostto Mar 18, 2017 Link to comment

    Is it the best music streaming app? I am using Google Play Music.


  • Steve Jul 2, 2016 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


  • 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


  • "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 May 25, 2016 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


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


  • 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 May 24, 2016 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?


    • 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


    • 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 May 28, 2016 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 May 24, 2016 Link to comment

    Damn I miss MixRadio :|


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


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


  • 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


  • Considering the length of time is more or less the same. Downloading these songs from chrome would be more beneficial .
    Paying apple,Spotify is pointless when the number of legitimate sites to do this is endless.


  • I used Apple music when it was still Beats. It was not an intuitive user interface for me. I then tried spotify for a while, which was pretty decent but them not having a family plan drove me away. My favorite feature with Spotify was the ability to fade into the next song so you have virtually no gaps between songs....great for parties.
    I went back to Google Play Music when they started offering the family plan. I had used them since the beginning and even uploaded my entire CD library (about 250 CDs) years ago, but stopped using them because of the lack of a family plan. If they could add a feature to mix or fade songs like Spotify, they would be perfect for me.


    • Hey Richard!

      Spotify does have a family plan. And also a student plan! Check it out on their website. 50% off each family member. Same for students.


  • what about Musica :
    play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tyolar.inc.musica

    use Musica to listen to music for free.

    Millions of tracks and albums are waiting. Your favourite artists too . create your own playlist of your favorite songs. Listen to music without limits.

    Interface and Navigation
    Musica interface, like Spotify's, resembles a music player—Windows Media Player, specifically. It features an interface with dark tinges, a main content area, a playback area, and a sidebar that lists your playlists, and favorits albums. It isn't as attractive as Slacker (Free, 4.5 stars) or Spotify (Free, 4 stars)'s (in fact, it looks a hair amateurish), but it's easy to navigate. When you first install Musica.

    The Musica Experience

    Naturally, you can search for songs, musicians, or album by keying a query into the search field.
    Selecting the band sent me to a page that featured dozens of the band's songs pulled from several albums. Unfortunately, due to Musica's peer-to-peer nature, duplicate song entries appear in the search results—a problem Slacker, Spotify, and other services do not suffer. Highlighting a track revealed additional options to Favorite it, add it to a playlist.

    Audio Quality and Music Recommendations

    Musica's audio is on a par with Slacker's, as it features crisp, hiccup-free audio with a solid bottom end. Musica contains a very solid recommendation based on the songs in your playlists. Unlike Slacker, Musica music analyzer is turned off by default, and it's not easily spotted. The implementation isn't as seamless as Slacker's, but it did serve up songs by The Gories when I loaded my The Dirtbombs playlist (rocker Mick Collins fronted both bands), so I was happy. As with other recommendation-based streaming music service.

    Should You Tune Into Musica?
    Musica is a solid streaming music service that those looking for a different music listening experience.


  • Google Play Music is what I use. It's the best out there. You get YouTube Red plus you get the new YouTube Music app which is nice too. You get 50,000 uploads of your own music and they have a family plan and podcasts coming soon!


  • I use Google Play Music since so long. It is the best music steaming service so far even through all the bugs on windows.


  • You should also mention that if Google Play doesn't have the music you want, you can upload it from your personal collection. I know Amazon has a clunky version of this, don't know about Apple but do know you're screwed with Spotify.


    • You can add downloaded files to Spotify, so you're not screwed. It's actually really easy and comfortable on Spotify.


      • Just for the record, I used Spotify for over a year before I switched to Google Play Music a few months ago, and I can confirm that Spotify's "local files" feature is EXTREMELY limited. The ability of Spotify (on the desktop app ONLY) to access local music only functions as a mere music player (like Windows Media Player), and doesn't not affect any music on your Spotify account. Google Play Music has the ability to upload your music directly into your music library, and that music is then accessible on any device, not just a local desktop app/site. After uploading, it finds relevant album info from the Play Store and merges it with your uploaded music, creating an environment in which your uploaded music is in the same place and works seamlessly with your subscription/streaming music.


  • I am a prime subscriber. Amazon's pc app for music is FANTASTIC. Easy to search and download what you want. I know the library is a lot smaller but it is still plenty of music for me.

    Their android app however is horrific. And I think I feel that way mostly because I have to actually open it to play/pause. I still use google play app because I can do it all from my lock screen. Hopefully one day Amazon updates it's app and makes it more user friendly.


  • Obviously this site is just another silent cell backdoor funded Applewellian Prole, Troll and Shill based website. Isn't Apple Music just another name change for FAILED iTunes Radio? What makes this writer think it'll survive any better than $3 Billion Dollar.... Beats Radio and iFailed iTunes Radio? That have all had disastrous beginnings. Barely out the door and already seen as just another iCloud, iTunes Radio, iPhone 5c Failure!!! .....but we all know it's just because it's got the one and only rotting bitten apple.... Fruit Fly attractant laden.... iJihadist's Religious Cult Logo. It's all about the logo and nothing about them being a bunch of overly greedy iDiot Wall Street Loving Tax Dodging Suits!

    Will they ever break the 100 Million Subscribers at this rate they were projected to break in their 1st Year. You all know we're over half there and they haven't even broken 10 Million Paying Subscriber retention rates!

    I pay for both Google Play Music and Spotify Streaming Service and am extremely happy with what I actually get!

    I'm still paying just $7.99 for Play Music and I'm hooked on it's largest selection of music ever available. I'm actually liking YouTube Red now too. Which I was one of those saying I never would. I just can't see why any intelligent Android user ever switching loyalties or choosing to get stuck in Apple's CLOSED iBOX MINDED ECOSYSTEM...... voluntarily and paying for it!!! ........it's like hanging a Kick Me Sign on a Dog, who just shat on your carpet for the umpteenth time in a day. You must assume that forever after even getting constantly through the day, wearing that sign would bring him to his senses. But it never does learn from it's failures!!!

    Apple needs to wear a Shock Collar to bring it back to REALITY...... since Saint Steve Jobs Died.... the fascist fuhrer Tim 'Hitler' Crook has not launched a single new successful product. Even after paying Billions for it..... they've all been shafted..... by his Royal Boring iDiotic ignorance of actual technology, that Saint Steve Jobs could at least understand. This fool probably can't even Cook his own toast and must have his boyfriend do it for him, like everything else technically challenging!

    Now what we really want to know.... is where's all those 100 Million Apple Music Subscribers we all heard was it's Ultimate Year End Target? I mean yeah..... the potential is there.... but only if they had successfully raided all their competitor's customers..... claiming "All Your Base are belongs to us". Hasn't happened and most likely never will. Why would anyone but fellow brainwashed Fruit Flies and iCult of iDiots drop their Google PLay Music Subscription or Spotify for Apple Music????

    Just so they could all contribute more of their dollars to Apple's filthy rich share holder elitists... forever more. I mean really there are luckily just so many fools in the world believing by joining ISIS they'll get their 72 Virgin Little Boys.... as long as they don't kill any Kurdish Women Soldiers. Who are right now Shaming all those fools into being beaten into submission by women. Now the world will only see them all heading iHell with Apple's FAILING Streaming Music Service! ........minus their 72 Virgin Little Boys Reward from Allah in Heaven. According Apple Legend..... they'll all get kicked out of Eden and never set foot in iHeaven with their virgin little boys either! .........so why is Apple Music even included as a choice?


  • Apple music for Android too buggy!


  • I went with Google Music All Access which is now Google Music/YouTube Red. It's matured really well over the years and it works great with my Android Wear device and Chromecast. There's very little I can't find on Google Music and I've found even more awesome tracks, live performances and covers on YouTube Red. This combination is my daily driver.

    SoundCloud should be mentioned because not only does the service have a good interface and great options, it also features tracks that you'd never hear anywhere else. Everything from the rough idea that a band just put together to a rare track that an artist wanted to share. SoundCloud is a permanent addition to my streaming life.

    I've never used Spotify and have no intention of trying it anytime soon.

    I used Amazon for a year or so and it was okay. The biggest benefit for me was the ability to either download tracks or order the CD depending on the artist and age of the album. But I've always hated Amazon's UI. Too cluttered. Amazon Prime also became a burden that was more expensive than I'm willing to pay for so once I canceled that subscription, I slowly stopped using Amazon for music.

    I avoided Apple like the plague after owning an iPod for a year or so. The need to sync my device with my home computer each time I wanted to add a track or an album was asinine. The hatred for drag and drop support was ridiculous. So when Apple announced their purchase of Beats (which I've never been a fan of) in combination with the horrid experience I'd had with iTunes, I decided to not bother with Apple Music at all even though it released for Android. I simply don't like the way Apple designs software. If Apple designed the hardware but Google provided the OS, you'd have a killer device beyond anything we've seen to date. But I will give credit where credit is due, Apple's music selection is massive including some really hard to find (outside of Apple's catalog) tracks that even Google Music doesn't have.

    Pandora was awesome for a long time and I listened to that even through the PS3's horrid browser. But as the adverts increased and users lost control over playback, I gave up on it.


  • In android application development, orientation is the deciding factors for presenting the layout in a row wise or a column wise fashion. Set orientations are used for setting the values and values can either is horizontal or vertical.


  • In android application development, orientation is the deciding factors for presenting the layout in a row wise or a column wise fashion. Set orientations are used for setting the values and values can either is horizontal or vertical.


  • Wow. No one mentioned MusicAll by Nivelapp. It's completely free. Stream or download ANY song or whole album. Google them. The site is in Spanish, but google translates to English and the download link is in red. Enjoy. And yes, it's completely free on Android.


  • Where is Deezer?


  • Natasa Dec 14, 2015 Link to comment

    Surprised me that Deezer isn't on the list


  • Soundcloud all the way....


  • I have been using Apple Music in India for quite sometime (beat tested it). I have faced few annoying issues e.g. app is little bit slow but the pricing is very good in India and pricing makes it for all the annoying issues. It's is very affordable also. Catalog is huge and quality is also food.


  • I have a huge problem with Apple Music. While they have what I believe is the best engine that caters to my tastes, the user experiencing is amazingly poor. The problem: it doesn't remember the last song/station/playlist one was playing if the app stops for whatever reason. When I stream music on my way to work, I have my personalized station playing. When I get back in my car to go home and open the Apple music app, I have to find my station again. I can't just push play to continue where I left off. It may seem small, but it is a super annoyance.


  • Completely agree with this list..
    After years of using proxies like Hola etc for Spotify and Google Play Music, I finally went for a paid subscription on Apple Music which is surprisingly cheap in India(Rs120/month or $1.79/month) with a lot of songs.
    English, Hindi, Malayalam, Tamil and the list goes on.. :) And there is no limit to the no. of songs you can have off line so that is an added bonus.