The best music apps for iOS and Android
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.
One of the best-known players in the game, Spotify is a massive force in the streaming industry, boasting more than 80 million subscribers and access to 40 million tracks. The mobile app boasts the same functionality as its desktop counterpart, allowing you to stream single tracks or entire albums with the option to create custom playlists. A free account only allows for Shuffle Play, so if you want to be able to play any song, listen offline, and ditch those ads, then you’ll have to cough up $10 a month to do so. There’s also the option for a cut-price Student sub that comes with Hulu access, and a Family option that cuts price for multiple accounts too.