Long gone are the days when phones were strictly communication devices, today’s smart phones are possible replacements for your point and shoot cameras, portable music players, E-book Readers or even portable Video Player. And as a result thousands of applications are made which help to take full advantage of these growing capabilities and features of smart phones. Here we have picked up five free applications for Android which will help you stream music directly to your smart phone.
Top Five Free Music Streaming Apps
Somebody could simply ask why stream music when you could easily store about thousands of tracks on your device and listen to them offline without using an internet connection. The answer is fairly straight forward, human mind does get bored quite easily and with the right music streaming application on your device, there can never be a dull moment as long as you have a working internet connection. So let’s quickly dive in and tell you about our top five music streaming apps for Android.
The first application on our list is Jango Radio. It is an application with a fairly basic UI. In fact using Jango Radio takes you back to the days of Gingerbread version of Android. No, there is no lag or anything as the application works great and without any complications. As soon as you open the application for the first time you are greeted with a screen to make a new account or enter your Login ID in case you have already made an account. Once logged in, you are taken to the screen where you can choose either a genre station or an artist of your choice that you wish to listen to.
There are lots of genres included in Jango Radio if you wish to go the former’s route. Some of the genres include, Top Stations, Blues, Holidays, Dance, Hip Hop, Latin, Love Songs or Decade wise etc.
Further these genres are divided into sub categories, for example rock is divided into Hard Rock, Classic Metal, Indie Rock etc. You can also select an artist of your choice if you wish to listen to a particular band. From our experience we could find just about every band we searched for and were fairly impressed with the collection. You could also add on similar artists to the one playing in your list quiet easily. Also the bit-rate seemed pretty good during the playback and we did not feel any distortion even at maximum volume with headphones.
The music player though in itself is fairly basic and you get the basic album art and then the play pause button and volume control. There is little to no customization possible in the application. You cannot change the theme of the application, though the black background of the apps means you do not miss out on a night theme in case you are using the application at night in bed.
Though yes, you can switch the playback quality between high, medium and low with medium being the default setting. You can also choose to change the sleep time of the device from within the application or configure a sleep timer in case you feel you will fall asleep while listening to songs.
All and all, Jango works brilliantly, there is enough music on board to keep you entertained and the fact that it automatically keeps a record of your playlists means you can easily go back to listen to the songs you really like.
Download: Jango Radio
TuneIn Radio is by far away the most comprehensive music streaming service for Android. Options are galore in this application and not just music you can play podcasts, listen to chat shows and have practically unlimited music on board any moment you wish. With over 70,000 streams available for free, you just cannot miss out on having TuneIn Radio for your Android phone. This app is anything but a basic everyday music streaming service.
You can also log in to your existing account over on tunein.com to play your favorite music that you might have saved in a playlist. We really liked the feature of local radio on the application that lets you listen to some of the online streams of local radio. Though in India we did find that some of these streams went offline pretty regularly spoiling what was otherwise a reasonably good experience.
The sports streams were good and it saved us a lot of app hopping when we wanted to listen to our favorite shows either on ESPN or the likes of Talksport. There was little to no delay in streaming the radio streams on a strong 3G or WI-Fi network, but the application really struggled on a 2G network.
The music choice as expected was huge and we had no problem finding artists or songs in the app as most of them were featured. The UI is really neat and clean and you get a feel that lot of time was spent in designing the application. Another feature we did like was that you can control the application as in skip to the next song straight from the notification panel which was fantastic as it saved us from firing the application on every time.
You can share the songs you are currently playing via E-Mail or Facebook, Twitter or Google+ but apart from these four services no other application is supported which was a bit of a bummer. Another little issue we had were the continuously popping up ads, though that can be taken care of by buying the premium version of the application. Though on the plus side, there is a very neat car mode of the application which worked very well hands-free and we really enjoyed using it while driving around the city.
Although the settings are fairly minimum but you can play around with not having icons while you surf around the app which would save you a ton of data in the long run, also work around the streaming duration before playing or shake to find new stations. Having said that, we really liked TuneIn Radio and it definitely finds a permanent place in our personal app drawer as one of the most complete music apps on Android.
Download: TuneIn Radio
For all those who have streamed music on Chrome would know about th prowess of Grooveshark. It is one of the best music streaming services around and the experience definitely translates to the Android device. However, before we spill our thoughts about the application we would like to bring to your notice that the above link would download the Grooveshark web app on your device and from there you would have to download a separate .apk to get the final application running on your Android device. Why Grooveshark decided to go this way is an absolute mystery to us.
So, once you have decided to download the final .apk and fired it up, the experience is pretty much like how it is on desktop version of the application. The UI of the application is again a throwback to the Gingerbread days, very similar to Jango Radio. The music choice is not as comprehensive as that on TuneIn but compared to other applications it is still pretty good.
Strangely though we found the streaming time on Grooveshark was more than any other five applications we had reviewed for music streaming purpose. It definitely was not an issue of Bitrate either as we did play both the high and low rate files both of which took significantly longer time than usual.
You can use your Grooveshark account that you have been using on Chrome and the app easily syncs your tracks to and from your Android device. A feature, we really found handy while working on our desktops as all our music was right here on Google Chrome. You can also build your own station of preferred artists pretty easily and a fairly large collection of Rock and Metal bands meant that the application did not repeat songs in the duration we gave it a shot.
The music player in itself is fairly basic and lacks album art unlike TuneIn and Jango. However, we did not really miss out on the Album art but the default background coulor which is solid grey did impinge our eyes when we used the app in dark, maybe a black or a deep blue could have been a better choice. Apart from that, you can like the song or even share it directly from the player.
Sharing of the currently playing tracks is pretty simple and just about every application on your Android device is supported. Though we did not like the music player in the notification bar as all it did was show the song being played currently without any music controls or the ability to switch the music off.
The setting once again are not too many, but there is a handy feature that allows you to disable the lockscreen while the player is active. We were left impressed with the apps for it’s collection and minimum design features and ability to sync songs across Grooveshark on desktop, if you are not looking for these three features, then you might be better off trying TuneIn or Jango.
Uber Hype is an Android app with a difference. It works both as a streaming service as well as a music recognition app just like Shazam. Although we were not very impressed with the music recognition capabilities of the application so we ended up using the app primarily as a streaming one. However, you could try out music recognition which would subsequently stream the same song for you.
The popular tab in the application lets you listen to all the songs that are currently popular in the blogosphere and lists them so that you never miss out on the songs that are in the rage currently. The tracks that are being talked about on Twitter too are listed. The latest tab too is pretty interesting as you get all the latest releases straight to the application.
The popular tags of the week also is an interesting add on from where you can also pick your genre. The music player like the other apps is pretty basic, and all you can do is move to the next track, previous one or pause the playback. You can also like the current track which would then add it to a list of your favorite music which you can access when you open the application.
You can share the song right from the application and most of the applications on your device are supported and we do like the layout of shared applications. The notification player is again pretty basic and you cannot do much more.
We do like the application for it’s capabilities though. If the recognition and streaming part can work for more artists then uber hype could be one of the best applications around. The settings of the application is interesting and we really like the Facebook connect feature where all the tracks being played can be straight away shared with your friends on Facebook. Though we did not like the fact that lots of features of the applications are locked down until you log in.
Download: Uber Hype
All the applications we have listed so far are capable of streaming English music. However, what if you like your share of old or new Hindi music or even regional languages for India. For this purpose we just cannot look beyond Saavn. It is a free music streaming application which is ad supported. These ads though do slow down the experience which can at times be extremely frustrating. However, the best feature of this application is that even on a slightly slow networks such as 2G or a weak Wi-Fi the application performs pretty capably.
And surprisingly the music quality even when streaming over 2G is pretty good. The music choice on the application is absolutely terrific, the best really there is as far as Hindi music is concerned. You get pretty much most of the latest released music right on the device.
Though at times some of the latest movies release only one song at a time so you may have to be patient. You can also listen to the top fifteen songs of the week too and the list actually gets updated to add in the popular songs. The ‘surprise me’ feature is also good as you can then let the app decide which music to play for you. Be prepared for some really old singles though.
We also like the fact that you can simply add on more music to your current playlist. The application does not have a dedicated player and you get a small playback line within the application. The UI is pretty much minimum and old fashioned. The app did receive a major update recently on the iOS version so we do hope that the android version would get a redesign too.
You can log in with your social networking apps so you can share the songs being played and also save your current play lists. You can also select the playback quality on mobile data which can be extremely helpful in preserving your data. The songs on board are virtually unlimited and if you are an Indian music fan, you will absolutely love the experience.
So those were our choice of top five music streaming apps available for free for Android. If you have any queries or comments feel free to write in to us in the section below.