Music streaming has grown up tremendously since its inception and is now among the best ways to listen to music. Many streaming services let you listen for free, which has helped curb the need for piracy while artists still get at least a little bit for their work. It’s also easily accessible with a ton of options. If you’re in the hunt to stream some music, here are the best music streaming apps and music streaming services for Android!
Apple Music exploded onto the scene in late 2015 to mixed reviews. However, it has quickly become one of the best music streaming apps out there. It features 30 million songs along with playlists, a 24/7 live radio, and you can upload your music and stream it to your device. There is also a social component where you can follow artists and see what they’re up to. It has a variety of monthly plans, including individual plans, a cheaper student plan, and a family plan that supports up to six family members. It’s even fixed up many of its early bugs and issues. What it lacks in features, it makes up for in availability in many countries where many of these other services aren’t available. Students get a 50% discount ($4.99 per month) while family plans max out at $14.99 per month. That’s extremely competitive pricing.
Deezer has its ups and downs. However, it’s one of the more respectable streaming services. It offers the usual array of features, including playlists, stations, recommendations, and Flow, a personal soundtrack feature. It also boasts 43 million songs in more countries than many competitors. Perhaps the best feature is a Hi-Fi streaming option with 16-bit FLAC quality for $19.99 per month. That gives Tidal some competition in the Hi-Fi streaming space. Those not looking for a Hi-Fi experience have better options for casual listening, though. Thus, go for the high quality stuff or go elsewhere.
Google Play Music is definitely one of the best music streaming apps. It boasts a huge collection of songs. Additionally, you can upload 50,000 of your own tracks to the service to customize your selections. Some other features include playlists, music stations, an excellent genre playlist selection, and YouTube Premium (no ads and background listening on YouTube). That makes it one of the best values in music streaming. The app needs work. However, it’s otherwise an outstanding value for the money. Google is doing YouTube Music as separate service as well. It’s only just okay. There is a great selection but the audio quality is a bit lackluster. Google Play Music, YouTube Music, and YouTube itself are all decent music streaming options.
iHeartRadio is a long time favorite. It is among the best when it comes to curated playlists and radio stations. The service also boasts a premium on-demand music service with millions of tracks. That gives it a potent one-two punch. Its radio selections are far better than most competitors. The $4.99 version adds on-demand music playback while $9.99 adds a bunch of extra features. It’s honestly not a bad way to go, although many competitors have a better on-demand selection. iHeartRadio will always be a champion of the free radio station market, though.
Pandora is one of the most popular and recognizable music streaming apps ever. It’s available on a ton of platforms and that includes some cars. There are two main Pandora experiences. The first is a radio station-only service that lets you skip tracks and give thumbs up or down to show if you like something in particular. The second is a full on-demand streaming service similar to Spotify, Apple Music, etc. Of course, the full on-demand service (at $9.99 per month) includes all of the features of free Pandora as well. This is an excellent choice if you already use Pandora or you want something with above average radio station playlists.
SoundCloud is another extremely popular music streaming service. It’s useful for indie creators all over the world. Tons of people upload their stuff to SoundCloud for the pleasure of others. SoundCloud Go, SoundCloud’s on-demand service, adds tens of millions of popular tracks to the mix. The total is over 150 million available tracks for $9.99 per month. That’s the second largest collection of music (Google Play Music and YouTube Red together technically have more). This is a great spot for discovering indie stuff that no one else knows about. Additionally, the service includes the usual stuff like playlists, stations, and other discovery features.
Spotify is one of the world’s most recognizable music streaming apps. It features a rock solid experience complete with tens of millions of songs, playlists, podcasts, curated radio stations, and even some video content. Only the potent combo of YouTube Red and Google Play Music has a better overall selection of both video and audio content. Spotify is available on tons of platforms, is rock solid, and it’s available in many places all over the world. Plus, the free version is much better than most competitors. There are other music streaming apps that do better in some areas, but worse in others. However, Spotify does everything well and that’s why it’s popular.
TIDAL bills itself as a music streaming service by musicians. It boasts over 48.5 million tracks, support in dozens of countries, and an ownership group of over a dozen musicians and entertainers. Some other features include 16-bit, CD quality audio (for $19.99 per month), Android TV support, curated playlists, an actual music blog, and over 130,000 music videos. Competitors generally have more features and gimmicks. However, TIDAL definitely caters more to serious fans of music rather than casual listeners. It and Deezer are the only two good options for audiophiles as well.
TuneIn is a bit of a wild card in the music streaming space. It doesn’t have the popular features like on-demand music content. However, it makes up for it by having a metric tons of radio stations, podcasts, and even live sports (in the premium version, anyway). That includes AM and FM stations, 600 commercial free stations (premium version only), and 100,000 other stations. If you can’t find a good radio station here then it probably doesn’t actually exist. However, we would only recommend this one to people who also like live sports, podcasts, and talk radio. Otherwise, you may be better served with a different app on the list.
Those with large local music collections can still stream music. Apple Music and Google Play Music let you upload music to their servers. However, you can also make your own server. There are a variety of apps that do this, including Subsonic (including DSub), Plex (linked), and a few others. You basically set up a server on your computer. It sends the files to your device and your devices plays the music back to you. It’s a neat and old method of streaming music, but it’s still highly effective and great for those with high quality, large music collections and those who don’t want to pay monthly fees. The home server apps usually cost a few bucks, but that’s usually it.
If we missed any of the best music streaming apps or services, tell us about them in the comments! We know about some, such as Microsoft’s Groove Music, but their app offerings will have to improve to make this list! You can also click here to check out our latest Android app and game lists.
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