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Now that Android 5.0 is starting to arrive on more devices, more of you are getting your first taste of Lollipop. Some of the apps that looked just fine before the update may look a little out of place now — and even those on earlier versions of Android can benefit from apps with nice design.
So if you’re looking for a music player that embraces Google’s new material design language, here are 6 to consider. I’m not going to say too much about their features — this list is primarily about how each one looks.
Play Music is the gold standard, the one player designed by Google itself (and an all-around solid app). There’s a decent chance it came preinstalled on your device, and if not, you know it’s available. I won’t spend much time here, as it obviously looks fine next to your other Google apps.
Just keep in mind that this is the only app on this list that comes with its own online streaming service. The rest focus on local files (though a few do take a different approach). If that’s a problem, you should check out this list of streaming audio apps.
Download: Play Music for Android (Free)
Shuttle has been my local music player of choice throughout the past year. It looks great on KitKat, and it looks even better now, especially after the most recent update that gives the experience a sense of depth.
Shuttle’s default color is blue, but you can select just about any alternative you like. You can also turn the interface white and choose a different color for highlights. The app is versatile, so unlike Play Music (which doesn’t let you change the default theme), you can really make it feel like your own.
3) Orpheus [No Longer Available]
Like Shuttle, Orpheus looks great on Android 5.0. It sports a dozen different themes, each of which changes the color of the action bar and the floating action button. There’s even Chromecast support.
What makes Orpheus different from any other app on this list? It supports streaming from UPNP and Google Drive through the use of plugins. This expandability makes it worth keeping an eye on.
Download: Orpheus for Android [No Longer Available]
4) Lantern [No Longer Available]
Lantern looks a lot like the previous apps, with all of the icons located in the same place across the action bar and identical tabs positioned underneath.
On the other hand, it has possibly the most artistically pleasing sidebar of any app on this list. Does that matter? Perhaps not, but if you’re picking an app based on looks, it’s worth taking note.
I would add that while you can change the theme, there aren’t nearly as many colors to choose from as in Shuttle and Orpheus, but people who prefer a dark interface will be happy to know that one comes included, and it suits Lantern well.
Download: Lantern for Android [No Longer Available]
5) NexMusic [No Longer Available]
It probably won’t come as any surprise by now that NexMusic’s main screen looks the same as most of the other apps listed here. But its sidebar changes things up slightly, and you’ll find an equalizer tucked away towards the bottom.
A dark theme comes included out of the box, along with a cool option that automatically changes different parts of the interface to match the dominant color of each album. For other themes, you will have to turn to Google Play.
Download: NexMusic for Android [No longer available])
Voltage isn’t that polished, and it contains ads that pop up occasionally when you hit the back button. It claims to support streaming music from your Google Play library, but it didn’t work for me.
Still, I’m including it on this list because it shows promise, even if it isn’t quite there yet. It already meets the requirements of looking mostly at home on a Lollipop device.
Download: Voltage for Android (Free)
Which Music Player Works for You?
Many people these days consume their music through various Internet radio services, and while this can be a more affordable to way to gain access to a vast array of music, it leaves you beholden to the developers of each service. If you want your music app to integrate visually with Android 5.0, you have to wait for them to roll out an update.
With local music, you can simply swap out an aging music player for an alternative that has already embraced Google’s new sense of design.
Many of us have been drooling over Android’s new look since Google unveiled Material Design over the summer, and we’re reaching a point now where it’s feasible to only install apps that integrate nicely. These have been some of the music players I’ve checked out.
Which ones have caught your eye? What is your favorite music app? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credits: Creative concept of headphone Via Shutterstock