Over the years music fans have gradually changed how they listen to their music, and what they listen to it on. With the rise of the smartphone, it's only natural that now the one device we carry with us everywhere is also our primary media player. On Android, we're also fortunate that there's a huge community of developers that create apps that can better the experience we're provided by the folks who made our phones.
The Google Play Store has many music-related apps to choose from, but some do stand out from the crowd. It'd be impossible to look at all of them, so here we've chosen some that we think are some of the best there is. Let's take a look.
We've talked about DoubleTwist a lot around these parts and with good reason. DoubleTwist became a favorite of Android users that had deep roots in the iTunes ecosystem and still is. The base app has been replaced on this list by Cloudplayer, a newer offering that looks great and has hooks into some of the most popular cloud storage services to deliver your music.
We're not talking about hooking into streaming services, either. Create your own cloud streaming library with your own music, a Dropbox, OneDrive or Google Drive account, and DoubleTwist Cloudplayer. Access to these is unlockable via an in-app purchase, but the basic app is free. And the basic app will also play your lossless FLAC files.
That in-app purchase also unlocks AirPlay support and the equalizer tools to help you get the most from your music. And like the older app, you can still use it to listen to radio and podcasts, too, as well as now having support for both Android Wear and Android Auto. A pretty well stocked one stop shop for all your audio needs.
Google Play Music
Not just a music player, but we have to include Google Play Music. While it doesn't have the deep customization or power features of something like Poweramp, it offers what many others do not; that huge cloud library for your own music. After all, without the music to listen too, what good is a killer music player?
That's not to say Google Play Music isn't a good music player, because it is. Being a Google product it integrates perfectly with your device – including the sweet lock screen artwork. But the real value is in that cloud storage. It means you can take your music collection with you on whichever Android and iOS device you own. Sure, you need to offline some of that from time-to-time, but it's always with you.
Google also has its own store and streaming service built into the same app making it a superb one stop shop for all your musical needs. What it lacks in features compared to others it makes up for the inconvenience.
Shuttle Music Player
Shuttle is perhaps one you've not heard of before, but one that's definitely worth your attention. Unlike a heavy duty app with has tons of settings and customizations, Shuffle offers a portion of that with a much more lightweight look and feel.
It comes with a sleep timer, gapless playback, a choice of a few different themes, built-in equalizer and much more. And for the Materiyolo kids out there, it's pretty much perfect in how it looks. It comes in free and paid versions, but with the paid version just $0.99, it also represents fantastic value for money.
Google isn't the only provider on Android offering an all-in-one store, cloud and player solution. Amazon has its own thing going on and combines its Prime Music streaming service with its music store and a decent looking music player all in one. If you're a Prime subscriber in selected markets you'll have Prime Music and so you'll need this on your phone. Amazon also offers you a cloud locker, much like Google, to access music you already own on any of your devices, and the app will play anything you have stored locally.
It doesn't offer some of the techy stuff that audio nerds will find in some other apps on this list but it does give you lyrics. Sing along while you're on the bus to work!
GoneMAD Music Player
GoneMAD boasts over 250 customizations, so needless to say we're not going to talk about them all, here. Add to this over 1000 themes and what you've got is a music app that really can be tailored to suit your own personal tastes. On the techy front it boasts gapless playback, support for a whole bunch of formats including lossless audio, smart playlists, an equalizer, multi-window and much, much more. You can even go back to the old UI if you don't like how it looks right now.
The app is free to download for 14-days and after that, if you like it and want to keep using it, you'll need to buy the full version. And you might just want to do that.
Rocket Music Player
Rocket is another hugely popular music player for Android with a bunch of good reasons to choose it. You've got a stylish minimalism mixed with a 5-band equalizer, folders support, Chromecast, video and podcasts and much much more.
That's just in the free app. If you upgrade to Premium you also get a bunch of different themes, support for lossless audio, a 10-band equalizer and a whole bundle of other features to perfect your audio experience.
Not everyone has the budget to pay for a monthly subscription to get access to a decent music player, which is why Pulsar makes our list. Absolutely free, this pared down, Material Design app aims to get you to your music without any hassle involved.
Pulsar is absolutely free and even better, free of all advertisements. It doesn't offer many in-depth features but does include a pretty solid equalizer. It automatically syncs missing album artwork, has a home screen widget, Chromecast and Android Auto support, and access to Last.fm for playing the radio if that's your gig.
An entire generation grew up depending on Apple for their Music needs thanks to iTunes. While you may not have a lime green iPod anymore, you can still access your library from your Android phone with Aplle Music.
Your subscription will give you access to streaming music services, but your Library will still hold all the music you already know and love. You can purchase and download music right to your phone, edit which items show up in your library when you open it, and you can add music to your Library if you listen to them while music is streaming.
For anyone who has already bought into the iTunes ecosystem, this is a great option to keep everything nice and streamlined. And for $9.99/month after the free trial, the streaming features are highly competitive.
There are plenty of great music players available for Android, but these are our picks for the best of the best. Do you have a suggestion that should have made this list? Is your favorite player here? Let us know about it in the comments below!
Updated December 2017: We've updated this post with new music player apps that are awesome on Android.