Music junkie? Here are the 25 best music apps for consuming and creating tunes

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best music apps apple on android

If you lump them all together, there are probably no fewer than a zillion different music apps between Google Play and the App Store. Those aren’t exact figures, but based on our independent research, we estimate that the number is somewhere between a zillion and a jillion. So as a smartphone user, 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. Unfortunately, your smartphone has a limited amount of space. You can’t download the entire zillion apps — not yet, anyway — so we’ve dug up the best music apps available for Android and iOS.

Most are available free of charge, but many also feature in-app purchases and monthly subscription fees. Nonetheless, below are our picks for the best music apps, whether you’re looking to simply listen to music, learn musical skills, or create your own tunes. And before we start, don’t forget that music is best listened to with a good pair of cans, so check out our picks for the best headphones you can buy and the best noise-canceling headphones.

The best apps for listening to music

Google Play Music (free/subscription)

Google Play Music App Screen

Google Play Music grants you full access to your cloud-based music collection on the go. As expected for a Google app, the design is clean, lined with handpicked playlists and custom radio stations. And if you’re not out and about, you can still access your music from the Play Music website. 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. If you choose the free version, you can still upload up to 100,000 of your own songs to Google’s cloud, and you won’t get any ads while listening to your collection.

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Android iOS

Apple Music (subscription)

Apple Music App Screen

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 45 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.

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Android iOS

YouTube Music (free/subscription)

YouTube Music App Screen

YouTube Music is a bit of an odd choice, since it just allows you to listen to music from YouTube, but with the screen off. Like normal YouTube, you’ll be interrupted by ads, but you can pay for a YouTube Red subscription for $10 a month if you want to listen ad-free. However, if you have a YouTube Red account, you already have access to Google Play Music’s entire catalogue, making YouTube Music only really any good for those extremely obscure releases you can usually only find on YouTube. Still, as a trifecta, it’s hard to beat Play Music, YouTube Music, and YouTube Red.

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Android iOS

Shazam (free)

Shazam Screen App

Definitely best known for its music-detection skills, Shazam recognizes songs and television shows in a matter of seconds, providing purchasing options and lyrics . It’s also a convenient means of streaming the tracks once they are recognized. Not really a stand-alone music app, Shazam works best alongside another streaming app, and gives you the option to open or purchase the song in Amazon Music, Spotify, Apple Music, and more. The real-time chart is just a plus.

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Android iOS

Spotify (free/subscription)

Spotify App Screen

One of the oldest and best-known players in the game, Spotify remains a massive force, with more than 70 million subscribers and 30 million tracks to play. 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. However, a free account only takes you so far, and if you want to be able to play any song, download for offline listening, and listen ad-free, 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, and a Family option too.

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Android iOS

Amazon Music (free/subscription)

Amazon App Screen

Amazon might have been late to the game, but its streaming app is pretty good. It allows access to a bunch of free songs, and your entire Cloud Player library, including uploaded songs and those you purchased on the site. Access to the full library is only included in Amazon Music Unlimited for $10 a month. It’s $8 for Amazon Prime subscribers, who can get a pared-down version of full membership, with access to 2 million songs, for free.

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Android iOS

Vevo (free)

Vevo Screen App

While it’s not really a full-fledged music streaming service, Vevo still offers a remarkable selection of music videos within its app. You can create genre-spanning playlists and stream live musical performances, or simply browse Vevo’s handpicked selection of HD videos and recommendations. When you sign up, you’ll be asked to select your favorite music genres and artists, and the app will notify you when there’s a new music video available from those artists. It’s unlikely to be one you use as your go-to streaming service, but if you love music videos, there’s no better app.

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Android iOS

TuneIn Radio (free/subscription)

TuneIn App Screen

The days of internet pirate radio has mostly passed, but there’s still some great stuff out there. TuneIn Radio grants you access to more than 120,000 live radio stations from around the globe. The app offers a bevy of local content as well, providing on-demand streams encompassing sports, news, talk shows, music, and current events among other stellar offerings. There’s good news if you’re a sports fan — TuneIn’s premium service offers radio access to live NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL games, and ad-free listening for $10 a month. But if you’re not interested in that, you can still access the live radio stations for free.

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Android iOS

Soundcloud (free)

Soundcloud App Screen

Soundcloud is a wide-ranging community of musicians, bands, podcasters, and more. The app retains all the hallmarks of the full site, allowing you to search for new artists to follow, listen to songs in your feed, and even record and post your own audio. Listening is completely free, and SoundCloud Pro is only really useful for music creators. However, if you are a creator, you can check out the Pro packages, starting from $8, which offer additional storage space and stats for uploaded tracks.

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Android iOS

Pandora (free/subscription)

Pandora App Screen

Pandora is a mainstay of the streaming realm, despite its dwindling user base. The service curates custom radio stations using advanced algorithms based on a specific track or artist, delivering song suggestions catered for you that get better with feedback. Simply boot up the app and let it go. If you want an ad-free radio experience with unlimited skips and offline radio, then that’s available with a $5 monthly subscription. The Premium experience costs $10, and gives you the ability to choose single tracks to listen to.

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Android iOS

Tidal (free/subscription)

Tidal Gall App

Designed for the audio aficionado, Tidal boasts more than 25 million lossless-quality tracks, an offline mode, quick access to music videos, tailor-made suggestions, and in-depth interviews covering everyone from Jack White to Jay-Z. Tidal has a massive amount of subscription options, split into Premium ($10 a month) for the standard service and HiFi ($20 a month) for completely lossless tracks. There are discounts available for Family accounts, students, and members of the U.S. military.

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Android iOS

iHeartRadio (free/subscription)

iHeart App Screen

Covering everything from country and hip-hop to pop and news, iHeartRadio makes streaming live AM/FM stations simple. It lets you select music fit for your mood and build your own custom station from a catalog pushing more than 450,000 different artists. If you want more control over your music, you can get iHeartRadio Plus for $5 a month ($6 on iOS, for some reason), which allows you to save and replay tracks, use unlimited skips, and create personalized playlists.

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Android iOS

Qello Concerts (free/subscription)

Quello Concerts App Screen

Sometimes hearing isn’t enough. Qello Concerts lets you see it in action, granting you on-demand access to full-length concerts and riveting documentaries from the likes of Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Lady Gaga, and countless others. It might seem like a limited amount of content, but trust us, 1,500 performances is plenty. For access to the database, you’re looking at $8 a month, or you can save money by paying $70 upfront for the entire year.

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Android iOS

Musixmatch (free)

Musicmatch App Screen

Musixmatch boasts the world’s largest catalog of lyrics, and its dedicated app lets you listen to songs in your library with synced lyrics, including English-translated lyrics for songs in a foreign language. It also lets you search for song lyrics, whether by title or lyric, and helps you identify music playing around you with a simple tap. There’s a Pro service that gives you offline access to lyrics and no ads, and the app also syncs up with other streaming services to provide lyrics for songs playing on them.

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Android iOS

Slacker Radio (free)

Slacker

Slacker Radio brings you curated music that you can customize to suit your own tastes. You can create and share your music stations, and the app also gives you access to news and sports. Some features are only accessible through a subscription. A Plus subscription costs $4 per month, and includes maximum audio quality at 320kbps, offline listening, and no ads. A Premium subscription at $10 per month gives you the ability to create playlists, download those playlists, and jump to favorite parts of a song.

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Android iOS

Deezer (free)

Deezer

Deezer offers a truly massive library of tracks. The app’s Flow feature learns about your favorite types of music and then creates a mix of music and artists just for you. Deezer Premium starts at $10 per month, and gives unlimited access to all songs, offline playback, and no ads. If you want to rock on with the free version, then you’re restricted to the Flow feature and mixes on mobile.

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Android iOS

Jango Radio (free)

Jango

A lot of music streaming apps are free for a while, and then charge a fee, but Jango is completely free with no hidden costs. You can browse music, explore by category, or create your own station by searching for an artist. There are ads, but they are small ads that appear just under the album art and are not intrusive at all. You can also share stations with your friends on Facebook and Twitter.

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Android iOS

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