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The best music streaming apps for Android

Update: YouTube Music added!
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 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. 

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59 comments

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  • Your comparison table is just enough to understand, which is the best music streaming app worldwide. Thanks for providing such a list!


  • 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.


  • storm 7 months ago Link to comment

    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.

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