Based on our independent research, we estimate that there are probably between a zillion and a jillion different music apps on Google Play and the iOS App Store. Those aren’t exact figures, but we reckon we’re not far off. With all these choices, you have access to just about any type of music program imaginable, from internet radio and streaming apps to guitar tuners and portable DJ stations. But even if you wanted to, using them all would take more time than you likely have — and would waste all your phone’s memory too. Since you can’t download all zillion apps available — not yet, anyway — we’ve dug up the best music apps available for Android and iOS.
Google Play Music
With the announcement that Google Play Music will slowly transition into the YouTube Music app, you might think that getting into Google Play Music at this late stage is somewhat pointless. That couldn’t be further from the truth. Google has promised a “soft landing” for all Play Music users, and all playlists will be transferred over when the transition is complete in about 2019. Regardless of the change, Play Music still grants you full access to your cloud-based music collection on the go, and from the Play Music website, as well as podcasts. As expected for a Google app, the design is clean, lined with hand-picked playlists and custom radio stations. A subscription costs $10 a month and gives you access to Google’s massive song database, personalized radio stations with unlimited skips, smart recommendations, and YouTube Red. That subscription will eventually transition into a YouTube Music Premium subscription that’s good for background listening, downloads, and ad-free music. The free version of Play Music still allows you can still upload up to 50,000 of your own songs to Google’s cloud, and you won’t get any ads while listening to your collection. While Google’s musical offerings are a little confused right now, Play Music itself is still a great choice.
Apple Music is Apple’s first music streaming service, and it offers you complete access to any song in the Apple Music library — no matter where you are. The well-designed app is available for both Android and iOS, and though the service’s catalog of 50 million songs is clearly its biggest draw, it also includes a host of custom playlists, radio shows, and the like. A subscription starts at $10 a month for individuals; it’s $5 for a Student sub and a $15 Family option is also available. You can also upload 100,000 songs to Apple’s servers, but unlike Play Music, there’s no free option.
YouTube Music used to be something of a black sheep, but it’s preparing for its time in the sun with the imminent shutdown of Google Play Music. But it’s no lesser option; YouTube is one of the largest repositories of music in the world, and YouTube Music gives you access to all of it. It’s free to use with ads, but if you want ad-free listening, background listening, and offline downloads, then you’ll need a YouTube Music Premium subscription, which costs $10 a month. Otherwise, if you’re already paying $12 a month for the YouTube Premium subscription (that comes with ad-free videos), then YouTube Music Premium is rolled into that subscription too.