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Let's Get Lost in Music | A Guide to the Best in Music Services for Your Phone
Our relationship with music has always been an emotional one. If we are old enough, we can all recall the first vinyl that we purchased, the first gig we attended or our favourite album growing up. With the arrival of streaming, we are suddenly spoilt for choice and can listen to any music at any time. For some of us, this is a result, liberating, an adventure. For others, it is a total minefield. Which platform should I choose? Should I pay extra to skip the adverts? What about all the music that I have already bought over the years? Gone is the bookcase of CD's with their much loved and reliable playlists. We now seem to have to start all over again, but how? Well we have been looking into some of the best apps that can help you get the control back of your music collection, while also allowing you to branch out into pastures new.
1. Apple Music
The obvious choice if you were an iTunes lover and have spent zillions of pounds on buying tracks. Apple Music allows you to access all the playlists that you have already painstakingly built plus try out new ones that you can stream for free. It also hosts podcasts, TV shows and other unique offerings so you can a wide variety of content. In addition, it includes a number of 24 hour radio stations hosted by the likes of Dr Dre and Zane Lowe who are great at introducing you to new music as well as unheard classics.
Not widely known, but Apple Music works on Android phones as well as iPhone. Apple Music also does a really good job of curating new playlists for you based on your interests. When you first load up the app it'll ask you to choose your favourite genres, artists, etc and you're free to edit these at any time.
£9.99 a month to subscribe, £14.99 a month for a family of six or £4.99 for Students. New users can try it free for 3 months and all EE Pay Monthly customers get six months free. Visit https://www.apple.com/uk/apple-music/membership/
2. Google Play Music
For the Google lovers, this is a no brainer and can be accessed via the Google search bar along with your email. It has smart playlist suggestions for you based on your listening tastes and stores your music on the cloud so it doesn't take up valuable storage space on your device, giving you access to over 40 million songs. You may want to download your favourite tunes, however, for those WiFi deserts you may come across on your adventures.
Another great feature is that Google will let you upload all of your old mp3's (up to 50,000 of them) into the Google cloud for free so it's worth having a free Google account just for that if you want to access and stream your own music on the go.
Google Music costs £9.99 a month with the first 2 months free. They offer a Family subscription for up to six users for £14.99 a month. Visit https://play.google.com/music
What a superb app. It allows your phone to listen to a snippet of a song and will tell you what that song is and who wrote it. Super clever tech and a must for those of us who are constantly hearing songs in shops that we end up humming all day without ever knowing the origin of it's beauty.
Shazam has evolved over the years and you can even stream the track you have just identified instantly as well as use it to check the charts, sing along to lyrics or to recognise television shows. Genius.
Download in the Apple App Store or Google Play
The mother of all music streaming apps and Apple Music's biggest rival. It is so easy to use and great for those of us who choose to create and download playlists to listen to offline. It will cost you to use it at it's full functionality without ads but most users would say that it is worth every penny for the smart playlists and genre browsing alone. You can also create playlists with friends as well as listen to recommendations from the Spotify team.
Daily Mixes are playlists personalised just for you, categorised by mood, they include songs you've been enjoying over the past few months. If you're a Playstation owner, you can run Spotify through your Playstation 4 which means you can create gaming playlists for those late nights on Call of Duty.
Spotify is free to use with ads although you won't be able to listen offline. It costs £9.99 a month or £14.99 for a Family plan which includes 5 users. You can get a free 30 day trial here https://www.spotify.com/uk/premium/
5. Amazon Prime Music / Music Unlimited
The huge bonus of the Prime Music service is that it is included in your Amazon Prime annual subscription and has great streaming functionality giving you access to 2 million songs, ad-free. Upgrade to an Unlimited subscription for £7.99 a month and you get access to 40 million songs.
It is also one of the best apps for creating and editing playlists on the move so get those mix tapes out and start recreating them digitally.
Amazon Prime Music is free for Amazon Prime customers. Unlimited is £7.99 a month for Prime customers or £9.99 a month for non-Prime customers https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/dmusic/promotions/AmazonMusicUnlimited
7. Vevo and Quello
Need to see the music as well as hear it? These smooth operators let you watch the video and even an entire concert on the move. You can actually stream live concerts and watch documentaries if you so desire as well.
8. TuneIn Radio and iHeart Radio
Want someone to choose the songs for you while adding in some news and banter? Try these guys. They allow you to skip through the radio stations as well as listen to shows you have missed or build your own custom station.
9. Discovr Music
See yourself as a bit of a talent scout, there are apps that can help you on your way. The music world is constantly moving and has a thirst for fresh new tunes and artists, so download this app if you want to see new music that is out there or on the horizon.
10. Figure and Garageband
If you are more of a composer, there are several apps around that allow you to actually create your own music that you can then download or share. These are two of the best and Garageband is a great intro to it's bigger brother Logic Pro X, also created by Apple and used by successful musicians to create and produce tracks. The pro version is not free but priceless if you want to move into serious music production without hiring studio time.
If you've got an iPhone check out the free version on your phone, it's really easy to use and there are loads of YouTube videos to help you learn some clever tricks.
11. Twitter #music
For those of us who like to be plugged into their online community, share opinions or see what to listen to, Twitter is a great platform for you. Search #music and you can actually see live tweets from people as they listen to tracks which is great if you like to eat, sleep and chat music or fancy an online bicker about your fave new track.
This is literally the tip of the iceberg of some of the music apps you can get your ears on and my advice would be to try out as many as you can to see which one works for you. If you're not already use any of these, it will totally change the way you listen to music as well and open your mind to new ways of receiving your media whether that be news, sports or the latest concert highlights. Have fun but don't forget to glance back at those old mix tapes once in a while.
Do you use any of these or have any other recommendations? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page.