Spotify remains the reigning king of streaming music. Its library is absolutely massive, spanning everything from mainstream goodies to some of the most obscure artists you’ve never heard of.
In terms of popularizing the notion of streaming, Spotify is very much the Netflix of music, and there’s a reason for its excellent reputation: the service is high quality and has only improved since its launch in 2008.
Overall, there’s a lot to love about Spotify’s Android interface. Whether you’re on a tight-screened smartphone or a big-screened tablet, everything is cleanly laid out and intuitive to follow and there’s absolutely no clutter.
What’s particularly nice is that you can play Spotify on multiple devices, and they’ll stay synced up: if you move onto the next song with your smartphone, so will your tablet.
Another catch is that everything is on the cloud so the app’s free version only lets you listen to music while online.
In late 2015, Google launched a new mobile app called YouTube Music, designed for users who love using YouTube as their main source of music. In fact, this is the most common content type of all YouTube traffic.
It’s not too surprising then that the app replaced Google Play Music and became Google’s only music streaming service, whether you prefer video or straightforward audio.
What is surprising is just how useful YouTube Music actually is, especially if you fully integrate it with the platform’s video version.
One downside is that it requires you to log into a YouTube account before you can start using the app.
The best feature of YouTube Music is that it lets you listen in audio-only form, although in the free version this is limited to only your own uploaded music library.
The interface is pretty straightforward. nothing fancy about it, but it rarely gets in the way either, except for ad interruptions.
One thing you might appreciate is Your Likes playlist, which is based on all the liked tracks on your YouTube Music account.
SoundCloud is a bit different from the rest of the apps here, but this difference is what makes it worthy of mention.
It’s less about listening to your own music library or mainstream radio and more about the in-betweens: budding musicians and indie artists.
If you aren’t already, you really should start using SoundCloud today. There’s an entire world of undiscovered music out there that you may not find on Spotify, Pandora, or YouTube.
The reason why SoundCloud is so great for indie artists is that it makes it incredibly easy to share your own music with others and create a following.
You can upload audio files, share songs on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more, and even mix tracks by combining SoundCloud and select DJ apps. No other music service is as an artist-centric as this one.
The interface is tidy and user-friendly. You’ll be able to get around just fine, while also engaging with other users by following them, but also by leaving comments on individual tracks. Overall, SoundCloud is smooth, fast, and uniquely social.
If you like music streaming apps with rich libraries and smooth interfaces, Deezer is another candidate to check out. It feels like a simpler version of Spotify or YouTube Music, but has an equally large music library to explore.
You’ll find a range of music and podcasts, as well as neatly laid out suggestions and categories, including new releases, charts, and themed playlists for chilling, working out, and so on.
Another cool feature is Deezer’s ability to identify songs from sounds, whether you’re capturing a movie’s soundtrack or humming a tune.
Pandora pioneered the Internet radio trend and consistently lands among the best of the best when it comes to Internet radio apps for Android. You probably know all about it by now, but in case you don’t, explore its key features below, as well as our Spotify vs. Pandora comparison.
The thing to understand about Pandora is that it isn’t a source of on-demand music. If there’s a specific song you want, there’s no guarantee that Pandora will play it. However, as a way to expand your music exposure, Pandora is perfect.
Because this app is all about dynamically-generated stations, you can search for any song, artist, or genre, and Pandora will start spitting out songs that are similar to your search query. Get dozens of stations and you’ll find many amazing songs.
There are plenty of ways to stream free music online, but if you could only choose one music streaming app to use, you should probably go with Spotify for its massive library of music and beautiful-yet-practical interface. But you’d be missing out if you didn’t try the other apps, too.
Do pay special attention to YouTube Music. The concept is wonderful as it enhances the basic YouTube app and offers a far richer music experience.
Whatever you choose, make sure your audio is at its best when you’re playing music on your phone. Sometimes you just need a bit more volume to enjoy great tracks.