The 13 Best Mobile Music Apps You Need in Your Life

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Mark Dabbs

14 Sep 2018 - 5 min read

While music consumption continues to evolve, fans have embraced a wide array of formats, from the classic LP’s to the surprisingly retro (cassettes, anyone?). But when it comes down to the real deal numbers, music streaming and mobile technology continue to dominate the market across a wide swath of genres, from hip-hop to indie rock, EDM crowd-pleasers to the latest pop single. Here are 10, 12, no… 13, thirteen mobile music apps that are pushing the music industry and how we consume it as fans.

1. Spotify

One of the most instantly recognizable brands when it comes to streaming, this titan of the industry allows you to play millions of cuts from an ear-popping assortment of artists. Create playlists for on the go, or simply grab one of their pre-crafted medleys if you are in a hurry. Go ad-free for around just $10 per month.

2. Soundcloud

Heavy on promoting new artists, Soundcloud has quickly become one of the hottest places to connect with fresh talent. The natural home of the Soundcloud Rapper movement, this app is an excellent way to check out clips of everything from stand-up comedy to electronic scores. Over 150 million tracks are available for free! The app’s future is a bit rocky, as many content creators have eyes on other platforms with better payouts. But as of right now, we have no qualms recommending Soundcloud to any lover of new, fresh music.


Spawned from the huge response to forward-thinking creator Brad Serling’s personal (and vast!) collection of Grateful Dead tapes, (with a small “n”) offers a unique wellspring of live and rare recordings of fan-favorite artists.  Live stream concerts are practically unique to nugs, and quite cool, too. From Springsteen to Phish and Metallica, diehard music collectors will undoubtedly want to dive deep into the app’s impressive catalog of captivating ‘you-are-there’ content. Disclaimer, is one of our clients. You can read more about our work with them here. In early 2018, they added MQA playback for iOS devices. A premium service with exclusive content, subscriptions are $12.99 per month or $129.99 yearly, with a free 30-day trial.

4. Shazam

No, it’s not wizardry, although it might feel that way. The perfectly-monikered Shazam once and for all aims to pacify the age-old ‘what’s that song called again?’ question, offering artist and album details with the tap of a screen. Lyrics, artist biographies and more can be found with ease thanks to this free and popular app.

5. Amazon Music Unlimited

For those audiophiles that are quick to embrace the future, Amazon Music Unlimited might just be an ideal match made in heaven. Easily compatible with Amazon Echo speakers and the at-your-service voice commanded Alexa, AMU prices out at around just $100 per year for Amazon Prime members, offering millions of downloadable tracks that make it perfect for conditions where streaming is not an option.

6. Apple Music

Create playlists, jump to your favorite track with a quick shout to Siri, or rip your CD collection directly, tailoring playlists to whatever mood you happen to be in thanks to this popular service.   Apple also provides live streaming Radio with its Beats 1, its only free music service.  Android users take note – this is APPLE Music, and thus incompatible with non-brand devices. Sorry, Charlie.

7. YouTube Music

Personalize your music tastes like never before, with the flick of a simple ‘star’ rating system alongside a seemingly endless array of videos covering every conceivable genre. The commercials can prove a bit distracting. Those who truly want uninterrupted favorites can subscribe to YouTube Premium for about $10 per month. As Guy Lodge elaborates, YouTube Premium gives you YT Music, YT Red and a lot more, completely ad-free.


The Musical Time Machine! Emulate a radio station by choosing a country; a year going back to 1900; and mood (slow, fast or weird). Each song comes with details and an option to purchase. It’s a free web app that’s super easy to use. It presently offers music from about 30 different countries – something from every continent. If you really like Radiooooo, you can support them on Patreon.

9. Google Play Music

The world’s most famous search engine naturally has its finger in the music streaming pie as well, with their app coming pre-installed on all new Androids. Unlike Apple Music, however, Google Play can be downloaded on competing devices as well, and music fans will enjoy suggestions as the app ‘learns’ from their tastes over time.

10. Discovr

Now integrated with Spotify’s music player, Discovr is a great way to find new artists. Start with an artist you like and you’ll get a tree showing related artists. Select one of them and the tree expands allowing you to drill deeper and deeper to find bands and titles that “sound like x” but are not.

11. Genius

“The world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and musical knowledge.” Genius is also integrated with Spotify on select songs but offers its own app. It provides a running commentary throughout a song, detailing trivia, meanings, etc.  Genius has a very popular website with an app that has a steadily growing user base.

12. Napster

Wait, that Napster? Yes, indeed. Formerly Rhapsody, this industry envelope-pusher offers a swipe-right approach to help you tailor a pitch-perfect playlist, while consistently suggesting new and exciting artists you might be thus-far unaware of. What Napster does, Spotify does a whole lot better. On, Stuart Dredge notes that Napster generated $36.2 million compared to Spotify’s $1.49 billion for the 2nd Quarter of 2018. But, he also points out that Napster isn’t trying to go head-to-head with Spotify, or other music services – it just wants a slice of the $20 billion streaming music market.

13. Tidal

This multifaceted media source is the brainchild of hip-hop royalty Jay-Z, so it’s included only for his fans. Despite a rocky launch due to some confusing aspects of service… is it actually free? Turns out no, but it does offer a variety of subscription options. Boasting high-fidelity sound quality for discerning audiophiles, Tidal combines close to 50 million songs with over 200,000 music videos and other insider content.

Who’s Number 14?

So, what do you think? Know of a better app than one that’s on this list? Let us know! We’ll check it out and if we like it, too – we’ll update our list.

Interested in developing a music platform of your own? As we explain in Monetizing Digital Music, a music distribution platform can employ any and all monetization models:  advertising, subscriptions, paid downloads, hard copy catalog, pay-per-view, sales of services, licensing and others.

We’re pretty good at designing and developing music apps – and even integrating them with other services.  So, if you’d like to discuss your app, we’d love to hear from you – send us a note via our contact page!

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