This article originally published via Modest Truth Mag on May 31, 2017.
The days of tapes, CDs, and records may be long gone, but as music moves into the cloud, you’re never far from your favorite tunes. There are a plethora of music apps out there that can provide hours of listening pleasure. But what are the best of the bunch? We’ve done the digging for you, and below are the music apps that are the guaranteed to keep you grooving.
1. Google Play Music
Far and away one of the best music apps to have on your phone. Don’t be fooled by the name, this app works for both Android and Apple devices. Bring your personal music library into the future by uploading it from your computer to the cloud. Listen endlessly to your own tunes, either by choosing an album, an artist, or a genre. It can store up to 50,000 of your own songs. But even better, Google Play Music comes with its own radio stations. Choose an activity or a mood, and listen to music that’s perfect for any occasion. Cooking dinner with friends? How about Farm To Table Indie. Getting down and dirty? Try LuvStep. It can even create awesome radio stations based around things you listen to frequently. A guaranteed crowd pleaser, Google Play Music is free, but the radio is available without ads for $10 a month.
2. Apple Music
This one is only for the iPhone users out there. This app is a bit of a newcomer to the streaming music arena, but as always, Apple dives in headfirst. Full to the brim with great music and thoughtfully generated stations, Apple Music delivers great listening integrated into all updated iPhones. Listen to your own iTunes library anytime, anywhere, and get the latest and greatest with the simple push of a button. While it’s the same price as many others on this list, at $10 a month, there are not as many available stations as Google’s own service. In addition, only music in your iTunes library can be stored on the cloud, and that can be limiting for people with a very large collection of songs.
Looking to discover new music? Interested in music from around the world? Look no further than Radiooooo (yes, with 5 o’s). This app is tried and true for music explorers that are interested in finding new content and never listening to the same things twice. Use this app to choose a decade and a country, and listen to great music from your selections. This app also features radio switches for when you’re looking for something fast, something slow, or something…weird. Go crazy! This app is completely free, and it runs based off of music uploaded by fans.
A true original, Spotify was one of the pioneers of streaming music. Listen to tons of curated radio stations as well as your favorite artists, all without having to download a single song. You can listen to any artist under the sun, whether they’re in your own music library or not. Spotify is also known for having some of the best playlist options available. Want to listen to the music that your favorite celebrity listens to on set? You can do that. Want to listen to what your crush likes? You can do that, too. Favorite and share as many playlists as you want based on your preferences. The downside? All of these options only come with Spotify Premium, which costs $10 a month. Otherwise, all you can do is shuffle random songs based on genre. A big negative for anyone not wanting to shell out money to listen to their favorite artists.
Do you like hearing what’s on the bleeding edge of music? Check out SoundCloud! This app has all of the experimental sound you can handle. New, unsigned bands publish their tracks on SoundCloud to be heard, and harder to find songs are plentiful here. Listen to great tracks from up and coming artists of all genres, or listen to playlists created by the fans, for the fans. This isn’t the app for radio hits, this is for listening to the future. The app is perfectly functional as its free version, but they also have varying subscription levels depending on how you want to listen. The price for the subscription ranges from $6 a month to $13 a month, and you choose your price level.
If you listen to the radio on your commute, you need to have the iHeartRadio app. Get all the best radio stations crystal clear, no car needed. Listen to the top hits of today, complete with all the radio commentary you love. Not interested in all the talking? Listen to your favorite songs from the radio without all of the jibber jabber. And never again wonder what song just played on the radio. It keeps track of those for you! The free version of this app works perfectly well, but if you want to have unlimited skips, create unlimited playlists, and listen when you’re not on the grid, you’ll need to pay up to $13 a month for the All Access version of the app.
The original radio app, Pandora is a fan favorite for a reason. Pick some artists and the algorithms will do their best to find other music you might like. This is like roulette of the highest order. Create multiple stations with multiple genres and be exposed to new music you might not have heard before. The only problem is sometimes the algorithms get confused. Like one Lindsey Stirling song, and next thing you know your whole playlist is EDM and violins. This app also isn’t free. You can listen all you want online with the basic app, but for unlimited skips, no ads, and the ability to create playlists, you’ll need to pay either $5 a month or $13 a month.
8. Youtube Red
Normally, you don’t think of music and YouTube together. But with its new YouTube Red service, listening to music on your favorite video streaming service is easier than ever. Listen (and watch) with no ads, and listen while the app is running in the background or while your device is locked. And with the new YouTube Playlists feature, listen to all the songs by your favorite artist or songs that are related to stay with the familiar or experience something new. This app is upwards of $13 a month depending on your subscription level, but it doesn’t just come with the music. You can also experience a new lineup of episodes and shows produced by YouTube favorites like Buzzfeed, all without ads. The best part? A YouTube Red subscription comes with a subscription to Google Play Music, the number one on our list.
This app is all about the mixtape. The digital mixtape that is! Build infinite playlists with all your favorite songs and artists, stored digitally. Listen to playlists that others have built with limitless sharing potential. The holdup? This app only allows one hour of play per day before you need a subscription to listen further. It’s cheap, at only $5 a month. But for the true audiophile, one hour isn’t nearly enough. Still, this makes our list for the nostalgia factor of making mixtapes to share with your friends.
Writer, Photographer, Dream-Seeker