5 Free Apps for Managing & Playing Your Music [Android 2.2+]

Joel Lee 20-01-2012

best android music playerWhether you’re a tech-geek fanatic or a tech-illiterate layman, there’s at least one thing that resonates between both groups – a love for music. Regardless of genre, whether it’s country, metal, classical, or dubstep, most people love music in one form or another. And if you’ve got an Android smartphone, you may as well be using it to play back your favorite tunes on the go.


Android has a lot of apps available when it comes to music playback and management, but I’m only going to take a look at those that meet the following criteria:

  • Local Music Management – there are some great apps for streaming music onto your Android, like Audiogalaxy and Google Music. The apps in this list are for managing your music locally – that is, playing music files that are on the Android itself. No streaming.
  • Free, As In Beer – all of the apps in this list can be had for free. Some of them may have paid versions, but as long as the free version is unlimited and functional, it’s valid.
  • Available In The Android Market – some apps are only available as website downloads, while other apps are only available on third-party app markets, like the Amazon App Store. I’m only choosing apps that can be downloaded from the official Android Market.
  • Available For Android 2.2 Froyo+ – All of these apps can be run on Froyo or higher.


best android music player

Initially released in 2006, Songbird started as a music-player-and-web-browser 2-in-1 desktop program, built off of the Mozilla framework. The project is entirely free and open source.

Songbird has a very clean interface, relying on a deep shade of purple for its iconic color palette. The simple and minimalistic design makes it easy to navigate through your library. It can group your music by songs, artists, albums, and even genre – a feature that some music players are somehow still missing.

Songbird has a “now playing” drawer, which allows you to pull up or pull down the “now playing” screen. This is a nice touch that I haven’t seen in many music apps, and it improves the music browsing experience.



android music player

Initially released in 1997, Winamp has been around for a long time. While Winamp can be used on the Android for free, some of the more advanced features are locked until you purchase the Winamp Pro Bundle, which will cost you $2.99.

Still, even with the unpaid limitations, Winamp is one of the go-to music players for the Android. In many ways, Winamp is like Songbird: it has a clean (although boring) interface, it can group your music by genre, and it has a “now playing” drawer. Winamp can also tune into Internet radio stations through Shoutcast, though that will require a Wi-Fi connection or a large data plan.

One downside to Winamp is that it appears to drain my battery faster than other music players. Plus, there’s the whole proprietary vs. open source software debate, which may push some Android users away from this app.



android music player

MixZing Media Player has recently grown to be one of the best known music players for the Android. It does everything you would expect from a music player, and it has a few extra features on top.

One of its best known features is that it can retrieve information regarding the currently playing song at the tap of a single button. The app will gather data including the artist’s biography, the song’s lyrics, and a list of YouTube videos for that song. Other great features include a graphical equalizer, sleep timer, and a boatload of settings to customize.

Unfortunately, the MixZing interface could use a little work. It isn’t hard on the eyes, but it’s certainly not pretty. Also, the app displays banner-type ads every once in a while. Upgrading will get rid of the ads, but it’ll cost you $4.99. For some, this may be a dealbreaker.



android music player

doubleTwist Player was featured as the #1 App in Newsweek’s Top Android Apps for 2011, so there’s a lot going for this music player. Upon opening doubleTwist, the user is presented with a sleek and beautiful yet not-so-overly-designed interface. The aesthetics are extremely polished and all of the basic features are there.

The drawback is that the advanced features must be bought. AirSync allows you to sync automatically with your Mac or PC, while AirTwist and AirPlay allow you to stream to an Xbox, PS3, or AppleTV. These bonus features will cost you an extra $4.99 at least.

doubleTwist is great, but without AirSync, AirTwist, and AirPlay, it feels like nothing more than the skeleton of a potentially great music player. A very sleek and beautiful skeleton.



best android music player

Cubed [Broken Link Removed], or ³, is definitely one of the more interesting and unique music players out there for Android. The app is not exactly rich in features, but it makes up for it by being really pretty and full of eye candy. One thing that Cubed has going for it is its careful use of screen estate. It is very minimalistic and doesn’t burden the user with lots of different pages, screens, tabs, etc. The graphics and screen movements are very smooth and polished, even impressive to a degree.

However, for traditionalists, Cubed may not be your cup of tea. As a traditionalist myself, the novelty of the eye candy wore off quickly and I found it somewhat annoying trying to navigate my music. Plus, the flashy graphics added unnecessary delays that detracted from my experience. In the end, Cubed is a refreshingly new music player that many enjoy. It’s just not for me.

Do you use a free Android music player that wasn’t on this list? Share your experience with us in the comments!

Image Credit: Shutterstock

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  1. A.Pokharel
    June 28, 2012 at 1:20 am

    Hi, does any of these support .wma files? I've tried a lot of music apps including Mort Player, WIn Amp and Power Amp. Power Amp does support .wma files and I like it but it's either a 15-days trial version or a paid version.

    • Joel Lee
      July 1, 2012 at 5:46 am

      Hey. I just ran a quick search for potential Android apps that support the .wma format. Apparently, the default Android music player and Winamp both USED to support playing .wma files, but they no longer do.

      So as far as I know, PowerAMP is the only one that can right now.

      I found a list on AndroidZoom of apps that MIGHT play .wma files, but I'm not 100% sure so you may need to do some experimentation. Here is the link:

      [Broken URL Removed]

      Hope that helps.

  2. Jonathan
    May 7, 2012 at 10:57 pm
    • Joel Lee
      May 14, 2012 at 12:06 am

      Ah, I guess you are right. I always though Songbird was open-source, and thus assumed that it was open-source in all of its forms. Thanks for the notice.

  3. Anonymous
    January 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm

    Google Music

    • Joel Lee
      January 21, 2012 at 10:53 pm

      Did you read the article? Straight from the introduction:

      "There are some great apps for streaming music onto your Android, like Audiogalaxy and Google Music. The apps in this list are for managing your music locally – that is, playing music files that are on the Android itself. No streaming."

      • Anonymous
        January 21, 2012 at 11:01 pm

        Google Music plays local files too

        and it has a slick interface (I think at least)

        And disqualifying an app because it is capable of streaming is just plain wrong
        (you don't have to stream no one makes you, you can even disable the feature altogether)

        And the second paragraph/first paragraph of requirements is hardly the introduction unless you only consider the 5 players the body

  4. Wei En
    January 21, 2012 at 6:16 am

    Try out Cloudskipper, it comes with a convienent lock screen, equaliser and many other features. However, it might be overkill for most users.

    • Joel Lee
      January 21, 2012 at 6:26 am

      What do you mean by overkill? Is it bloated with features? I'm going to try it out anyway. :D

  5. Jon Ezrin
    January 21, 2012 at 1:49 am

    I use MortPlayer Music because my mp3 files are set up in a folder structure versus tags.

    • Joel Lee
      January 21, 2012 at 6:26 am

      I remember trying out MortPlayer but it's been a while since I wrote this article so I don't exactly remember why I didn't like it. I think I'll give it another try.

  6. BettyDotPow
    January 21, 2012 at 1:48 am

    I've tried all of the listed apps, as well as, Mew Media Player, PowerAmp, and JukeFox.  I'm going to have to state, however, that although everyone seems to rave about PowerAmp, it's only aight.  I mean, It isnt superior than all the popular one I've listed above.  My favorites have to be among the following three; TTpod (not the first but super awesome in effectiveness when speaking of gesture controls), GoneMad Music Player (Pretty Intuitive and love the widget and how it looks but really wish it had the, now hard to live without, gesture controls) and Vamp (vocaly command your music, mang!).  

    • Joel Lee
      January 21, 2012 at 6:25 am

      I agree that PowerAmp is overly hyped, plus it costs money. I've never heard of the ones you mentioned, so I'm going to give them a try. Thanks!

    • Gonemadsoftware
      January 22, 2012 at 6:02 am

      hi.. developer of gonemad music player here... there are tons of gesture controls available in my app.. what exactly is missing?

    • Aibek
      January 25, 2012 at 1:20 pm

      thanks for the input