There's a lot of choice for playing your music on Android.  For every option that plays music from your local storage, there's one that pulls music from the cloud and streams it.  Both have their advantages, as well as disadvantages.  Streaming can play havoc on your battery and your data allotment, but the almost limitless catalog of tunes is pretty handy.  Conversely, it takes less juice and no data connection to play from your device itself, but you're working with limited space.

Personally, I do both.  I keep four or five of my favorite albums on my phone, and I use Google Music to stream the rest of my collection.  What about you?  Let us know in the poll!


Reader comments

Late night poll: Do you stream music?


Does Pandora count as streaming? I don't keep any of the music I own in any cloud service. But sometimes I like to listen to Internet radio like Pandora.

Of course it does! I am not too fond of Pandora. I like spotify and I use Google Music for my own music on my phone. I don't have any mp3's on my phone.

I use Pandora and Slacker a lot more than I do locally-stored music. If I owned music, I wouldn't need to stream. Music is free on the radio (and certain streaming services), so why would I pay for something that's free? Pandora is awesome!

I do carry around a subset of my favorite albums (Queens of the Stone Age, The Darkness, BeeGees, etc.) from device to device on SD as MP3s I ripped/burned/whatever from CDs I have bought, but I haven't bought a song in years and don't plan to start now. LOL

Oh, and Google Music sucks. Tried it, hated it, and went back to Pandora. I bet it's only good if you buy music. The free music they had largely stunk, and it skipped around all over the place in the song list and was pretty harsh. When I want mellow music, I don't expect it to jump into metal as the next song.

I have google music for my own tunes. I also have tune in pro, slacker, and pandora although i dont really use any of them anymore since iheartradio reformatted their service. With local stations and created stations its become my 1 stop shop.

I use G music for all my music listening since pandora is terrible....but 90% of the time G music doesn't work correctly; loads songs incomplete or not at all, or it skips around for whatever reason. Music app needs work badly

I have never experienced those bugs with G Music. I have been using it since it first launched and have almost zero hiccups. Fantastic service.

that surprises me because I too have been using it from day one and on multiple devices and experience a lot of issues. I hate it because it has such great potential.

Streaming is all I do now. Google Music is great because I don't need to use my laptop to listen to 90% of my music library anymore (I use my desktop all the time). Plus streaming on my Nexus and my Xoom.

I only stream on my phone and 95% of my streaming is from Amazon MP3 cloud storage via their MP3 cloud player.

I really want to stream everything and am going to give it a go this week, since I stream about 80% of my music from rhapsody, i figured I might as well give google music streaming a try. My problem is that although I live in a 4g area, I am just on the edge of having an amazing connection. I usually have no problems with my streaming, but since I am on the edge things can be a little iffy. If verizon would just put one more tower south of me I would have full bars all day, now i am about 2.

I only stream music on my phone, nothing on my SD card. I listen to Pandora occasionally, but for the majority of the time I use Audiogalaxy. Can't praise that application enough. I have access to my entire music collection (a VERY large collection) anytime and anyplace. Its by far my favorite app in the Android market.

I use Google Music to stream, but I have playlists pinned on my phone. I uploaded my library when Google Music came out and I'm very happy with the service. I typically download music from Amazon to my phone and upload the files after I put them on my computer. Sounds convoluted but it works for me. And I'm finding myself buying music from the Market more and more and just downloading the files to my computer later.

I pretty much swear by Slacker Radio. I have the full paid subscription with on demand service. Never got into any cloud services. I used to have a lot of music saved on my sd card, but ever since it failed on me, and I had to reformat it, I really never bothered replacing all of the lost songs I had.

I have a dedicated music player for my stuff a 64 gig zune HD. 9654 student songs to much to carry on my phone and I don't like the idea of adducing more power out my phone by pulling extra data to listen to music, just see it as wasting useful phone energy

I use Audiogalaxy and google music as a backup if I forget to leave my AG client online...

Love AG's hi-fi stream, and their UI. Just seems more usable than gMusic.

I have uploaded my entire music collection to Google Music but i don't care for the player and I constantly have buffering problems. Even if i queue some songs and hit pause for 5-10 minutes I can still only get through 4-5 songs before it starts cutting out. Very frustrating when I'm out for a run and have to stop to load some music from local storage.

Not sure if its the app, Google servers or Sprint service that can't handle it. Thought it was probably Sprint but it does the same thing occasionally while connected to wifi and i have no issues streaming The Ticket on TuneIn Radio.

So until G Music stream improves I'll listen strictly to local music.

i don't like to "collect" music and buy/manage/listen to the same old songs over and over again. i get sick of them quickly. music is like a bag of potato chips - it goes stale quickly. you don't want to be that douche that's stuck in the 70s/80s/90s/00s whatever. i like today's new music streamed to me fresh and randomly and for free - just like the radio - but with little/no commercials. it keeps me current and fresh. hence - i prefer Pandora.

With almost 32GB of space on my Galaxy Nexus, I mostly listen to my locally stored music. Although, I do occasionally stream from pandora.

You forgot an option Jerry! .... I use Rdio but cache ALL my music locally. Streaming is unnecessary with this feature. What if I dont have goof service? And strramijg mirders battery life.

Subsonic! If you have a large music collection (more than the 20K songs that Google lets you have), check it out.

I use Subsonic, too. I love it. I tried all the others, but I found each had issues. I absolutely love browsing my music in the way I organized it, too.

I have been using Subsonic for the past year. Nothing beats it! I have a 2.83GHz quad core XEON CPU, 8GB ram, RAID 50 Storage array, on WHS 20011 running with my collection currently just over 41,828 songs. It also streams video as well while transcoding on the fly. Awesome system.

Spotify all the way, superb service. Yeh its £10 a month (or whatever your local equivalent is) for mobile access or £5 for home use but if you like music and you appreciate that artists do deserve to make a bit of money for their work then you'd spend more than that a month anyway. It may not have a complete list due to some short sighted music bods, though that will be resolved as long as the service continues to gain popularity and what you can't find you can just supplement with your own collection also the Facebook playlist sharing is superb quite frankly.

Stream Google Music a lot, but have the Slacker Plus subscription too. However, I'm having issues with Slacker going to sleep when the screen shuts off (even with my Wifi policy set to never sleep when screen shuts off).

I'm thinking its more of a bug with my cdma Gnex than the slacker app.

I'd put more music on Gmusic, except I've never been able to download it again... don't like Google taking over my music and not giving it back.

I listen almost exclusively to Pandora (bought the paid subscription about 4 months ago). I love the fact that I don't have to decide what I'm listening too, it just matches my current mood. Spotify and google music are great, but you need to pick what you want to listen too. Typically I'm too busy running around to decide for myself

Thanks to Google Music, I don't store any music on my phone any more. I use GM and Pandora all the time.

I do occasionally with either Tune In or Pocket Casts. I don't have any MP3s on my phone, although I'm thinking about putting some on there just for kicks and grins.

I use Batanga, great for spanish music.
Pandora i dont like because Its never on what i want to listen to.
Google music when i want to listen to my own thing.

I do the same as Jerry. I have a couple of albums on my phone and use Google Music for streaming. Just seems better that way.

curious what the damage data-wise is for say an hour of streamed music? If it's a meg per minute as most .mp3's are these days then it doesn't seem worth it to stream. tia

Grooveshark allows you to mix both streamed and "offlined" (not mp3s but it does save on your device). So I have my offlined tracks that I play when I'm in a tunnel or need to save battery, but in the same queue I can add tracks to stream or have it pick stuff for you based on whats in your queue.

Streaming slows down everything. and it takes a bit of time to switch to other songs. It really sucks. I don't like pop shit anyhow. (and yes, alternative, and heavy metal are usually pop. No punk, rave, bluegrass, industrial, etc. on nearly ANY streamers.)