It’s always nice to have a lot of storage space on your phone for music, but the truth is, these days, it’s also not really necessary. If 10 years ago was the age of iTunes and track-by-track digital downloads, then today is the age of streaming services. And if you want to turn your phone into a super-powered jukebox for all of the new releases or old classics, then any of these top five streaming music apps will do the trick.
An unsurprising number one pick, Spotify is virtually synonymous with the concept of music streaming, for how it lets you search specific artists or albums, push play, and hear exactly what you want to hear. The app is free, and while you’ll have to have an account to actually use it, you can sign up for one of those for free as well. While you can stream an unlimited amount of content with a free account, you’ll get the best out of Spotify mobile by paying for a premium account. $4.99 for students and $9.99 for everyone else (annually), Spotify Premium gets rid of the ads and even allows you to cache songs for offline listening—good if you want to keep the music going on a flight or in a poor service location.
Spotify may be the most popular music streaming service, but Rdio may just be the best, featuring a superior interface that makes searching artists, discovering new releases, and playing music a breeze. The app also has a fun social media aspect, allowing you to connect with friends, see what people are listening to, and share playlists.
3. Google Play Music
The Google Play Music app doesn’t have the reputation that Spotify does, and is obviously useless to iOS users. However, if you are an Android person, then the app is definitely worth a look. In addition to an extensive streaming library, the application allows you to upload up to 50,000 of your own songs to the cloud for easy access. It’s the perfect compromise for someone who has gotten used to having all of their own music on their device, but who doesn’t want to clog up their phone storage space with music. Plus, the Google Play store often offers great discounts on digital albums—convenient if you are already using the Google Play Music app!
4 and 5. iTunes Radio/Beats Music
Currently, these two apps are two different programs. Both of them are decent standalone streaming services. Beats Music specializes in curated playlists from industry figures, while iTunes Radio follows the old Pandora model of letting you build radio stations around selected songs.
More exciting, though, is what could be on the horizon for these services. Apple purchased Beats Music last fall, and is currently working with noted experts like Dr. Dre, Jimmy Iovine, and Zane Lowe on the next evolution of the music streaming game. Needless to say, whatever they come up with will be a must-download music app. After all, if there’s anyone that can break Spotify’s dominance, it’s the company that built iTunes and moved commercial music into the digital sphere in the first place.
Do you have a favorite streaming music app? If so, share below.