The Best Music Player on Android: Google Play Music Reviewed

Skye Hudson 11-12-2016

For playing music on Android, Google Play Music is really unmatched Are Google's First-Party Play Apps Any Good? Google makes a lot of apps but are they actually worth using, or should you delete them and never look back? Read More . Its web version basically replaces iTunes, and its Android app acts like the iPhone’s Music app. You can play all your local music, stream music from Google, stream podcasts, and a lot more.


If you have an Android phone, you should at least give Play Music a chance. Let’s take a look at exactly what makes this app so great.

Download: Google Play Music (Free)

Streaming Music

Google Play Music is all about streaming music, and Google even has its own artificial intelligence that pays attention to what you like and dislike and tries to suggest similar things The New Google Play Music Knows You Secretly Love Nickelback Google has given Google Play Music a bit of a makeover, and this one is more than skin deep. Machine learning means the new Google Play Music knows you better than you know yourself. Read More . It even takes into account things like the time and your location to suggest certain stations.


For instance, if you’re at home around 6pm, it will suggest music for making dinner, ranging from Kitchen Dance Party to Country Comfort. The main screen is filled with these suggestions. Some are based on artists, playlists, or stations you’ve listened to recently, and I’ve generally found them to be useful in helping me find music I like.


When you get started, Play Music should prompt you to choose some genres and artists so that it can better recommend music to you. Of course, this is just a starting point — it will continue to learn as you give thumbs up or thumbs down to different songs.


If it doesn’t prompt you, though, or you skip it, you can always swipe in from the left, select Settings, and select Improve your recommendations. With your recommendations set, you should see relevant music displayed on your homepage. You can select any station to see what artists are on that station or to see similar stations.



Actually playing a song will pull it up from the bottom of the screen. The currently playing song is always accessible along the bottom of the app, and you can swipe up to see it or swipe down to put it away at any time.

From the Now Playing screen, you can play the YouTube music video associated with the song (if it exists), view your current Now Playing playlist by tapping the music icon in the upper right, pause or play the song, skip to the next or the previous song, and give the song a thumbs up or thumbs down. The thumb system allows Play Music to better learn what kind of music you like.


The Now Playing playlist is easy to modify. Just tap and hold to the left of any song (on the horizontal two-line icon) to change its location in the playlist. At any time, you can tap the three-dot icon to the right of any song, playlist, album, or artist to start a radio station based on it, add it to your queue or a playlist, and see other details about it.


The interface is always heavy on the graphics, emphasizing album art and providing a nice visual experience. The motion to pull up the music player from the bottom is intuitive and convenient. Plus, you can access tons of free music tuned to your preferences. What more could you ask for?

Other Features

Of course, Play Music isn’t just for streaming Google’s music — it can also be used for your own music! You can upload your music either through your desktop Chrome browser using the Play Music extension or you can use Google’s Music Manager on your desktop. You can upload up to 50,000 of your own songs, and then you’ll be able to stream them or download them to any of your devices.

Unfortunately, there’s no official way to download all your music at once for offline playback. You have to do it by album or playlist. Thankfully, we’ve found a bit of a workaround that involves creating giant playlists How to Download Music From Google Play to Your Phone Love Google Play Music but want to listen offline? Here's how to download music from Google Play directly to your phone. Read More of all your music.

Once you’ve got your own music downloaded, you can swipe in from the left of the app and select Downloaded only to use the app completely offline.



There are a few other menus in Play Music, including one for New Releases, one for your local music called Music library, and one for Podcasts. Most popular podcasts are available on Play Music as well as iTunes, and the music player adjusts to allow you to skip forward or backward 30 seconds at a time in podcasts.

It’s not as versatile as other podcast apps The 8 Best Podcast Apps for Android Looking for the best podcast app for Android? We have you covered with apps that help you download, discover, listen, and more. Read More , but it gets the job done, and it’s nice having all your media consolidated in one place.


You’ll also find a few other little features buried in the settings, like a basic equalizer The 4 Best Android Equalizer Apps for Boosting Audio Whether you're listening to songs or podcasts on your Android device, you need one of these awesome equalizer apps. Read More , a sleep timer, and the ability to save all your downloaded music to an SD card rather than internal storage.

Paid Subscription

Have you been waiting for the catch this whole time? Well, here it is: There are ads.

Google is trying to sell you a service, which is why the music streaming options are so front and center — that’s the real money maker. If you want to stop being interrupted by audio ads every few minutes, you’ll have to shell out $9.99 for a Play Music subscription. That’s the same price as Spotify and Apple Music, but Google throws in an extra bonus: YouTube Red Is YouTube Premium Worth the Cost? 7 Things You Need to Consider Is YouTube Premium's cost worth it? We look into the pros and cons of YouTube's paid version. Read More .

Every Play Music subscription includes a YouTube Red subscription and vice-versa, meaning that you also get ad-free YouTube videos, the ability to play YouTube videos in the background, and the ability to download YouTube videos offline.

There’s really a lot of value packed in that monthly $9.99 fee, but even if you don’t want it, the ads aren’t any more annoying than they are on the free version of Spotify.

What Do You Think of Play Music?

That’s about all there is to Google Play Music. It’s largely a music streaming app with a local music player and podcast player buried within it. If you’re simply looking for an offline music player, there might be better options The 15 Best Offline Music Player Apps for Android Want to play music on your phone without using Wi-Fi or data? Here are the best offline music player apps for Android. Read More , but Play Music does its job well.

What do you think? Is Play Music the best music player on Android, or do you prefer another app? Let us know in the comments!

Originally written by Riley J. Dennis on November 20th, 2013.

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  1. nina
    September 20, 2018 at 2:06 am

    great app. one of the best player on android but it need some improvements.

  2. Doug
    June 22, 2018 at 7:45 am

    The Google Play Music widgets are bad. It's my main complaint. They need to update their widget to give it a more modern look with album art, shuffle buttons, etc. What they after now is trash.

  3. cral dogman
    April 27, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    I need custom skins with very large controls for use when driving. Play/pause, next, previous should fill the screen with a very small text showing what's playing. No other images required.

    • Mike
      November 29, 2018 at 12:57 am

      Android Auto does that

  4. Samsung Galaxy Note 8 Review
    October 30, 2017 at 10:42 am

    Samsungg Galaxy Note 8 is best mobie phone avaialble till now. If you have any doubt visit newsdoses to read complete review of samsung galaxy note 8.

  5. Mee
    August 8, 2017 at 8:01 pm

    as someone who deals with probablilities and randomness on a fairly regular basis I can assure you google play's shuffle is not random. Every day I hear different versions of the same songs back to back... sometimes all 3 versions. With thousands of songs to chose from the frequency it happens, and the fact that it always happens with the same 2 or 3 songs, is statistically next to impossible.

  6. Apple Jackson
    April 14, 2017 at 8:20 pm

    I love it for music with a subscription to the service, but it sucks for podcasts as you can't directly enter URLs if the podcast isn't available on their lists.

  7. Ryan Andree
    March 3, 2017 at 4:12 am

    I love having access to my extensive music library without taking up space on my phone through Google Play Music; however, I do not like the user interface/display in landscape mode. I wish they would just fix it or give us options. That being said, are there other apps that can access the library but with a better interface? Someone suggested android auto but I was not impressed.

  8. John Fenech
    November 2, 2016 at 3:55 pm

    I have some music files in WMA format, and these are not recognised by Play Music.
    How can I set up Play Music to read WMA files?

    • Takalen
      November 3, 2016 at 12:49 am

      Can you please send them to me

    • Scott Brownlee
      October 7, 2017 at 5:49 pm

      You may need to use a program like Format Factory to change your WMA files to a different type.

  9. Anees
    April 16, 2016 at 10:48 am

    hi guyz
    guyz i add background music in my app. but i want create button. when i click first activity and start music then i want stop music any activity. how is it possible. plz help

  10. F***
    November 18, 2015 at 9:14 pm

    I wrote a comment about how useless google was, no popup/explanation about how it can't voice-find music unless it's on a wifi/other data connect...

    (Comment Moderator Note: If you try being civil and not fill your message with unnecessary profanity, it'll get auto approved. As it stands, your earlier comment has been deleted and this one truncated. Thanks for commenting.)

  11. Anonymous
    July 13, 2015 at 1:44 am

    Google changed Google Music. I used to be able to buy a single track, now I have to subscribe to the monthly deal just to listen to a song and will ONLY be able to listen to that song while my subscription is active. Why the change? I regret ever getting used to using Google Music now... if this doesn't change, I will stop using them all together. This is total money grubbing nonsense.

    • Anonymous
      January 11, 2017 at 1:40 am

      You don't have to. You can still purchase single tracks and albums from the play store, and your purchases are automatically added to your play music library.

  12. Soumyadeep Bidyanta
    February 15, 2015 at 5:02 am

    I can't find the Shop option in the left pane. Using Play Music on Android 4.4.2.

  13. EtrnLwanderer
    April 10, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Cant these people find a way to fit the entire album art into the play display window instead of magnifying it so much only about 60% of the actual cover is visible?

    • Ryan Andree
      March 3, 2017 at 4:14 am

      Thank you for this comment. I completely agree. They need to make the control options disappear when not being used, which would free up space to adequately display artwork and track info. They also need to work on scrolling options.

    • Ryan Andree
      March 3, 2017 at 4:15 am

      i agree

  14. Anonymous
    February 19, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I am not used to work with Google Play Music. Always used the standard HTC player on my Sensation XE. Now I got a Nexus 5 and want to use the standard Google apps.

    What I really don't like about Google Play Music app is the list with Artists, Genres and Albums. All the icons are way to big. I am missing the overview like the list with Songs, but even those list-items are to big.
    Unfortunattely I can't find a way to get it displayed more compact.

  15. DubyaL
    December 26, 2013 at 5:14 am

    but you can only download your items twice. Worth knowing.

  16. AD
    November 22, 2013 at 11:36 am

    Poweramp. It is the most powerful and one the best looking music player on android.

  17. WorknMan
    November 21, 2013 at 6:05 am

    Someone recommend a good, folder-based player?

    • bj
      January 1, 2014 at 2:13 pm


  18. Bumferry H
    November 20, 2013 at 7:51 pm

    I've been using Google Music for ages both on my phone and desktop. I love it. Nice handy app for listening to my podcasts and the like.

  19. GregC
    November 20, 2013 at 7:18 pm

    Thanks for the review.I love Google music too, but they really need to enable the ability to organize and store music on an external SD card. Other than that it really is great.

  20. Darren R
    November 20, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    I have been using Google Music daily for months now. It is great because I all my music is uploaded and available. It is simple but does the job however it does have it's anomalies...

    Things to note that when you play a song, it will download it first so you will need internet connectivity.. It will store a version on your phone so if you have a big playlist it will eat up your internal storage as you can't change the options to save it on your memory card... unless your device is rooted and then you can work around it..

    Updating songs that are already uploaded is a bit of pain.. If for example you change a tag on an mp3, it wont automatically refresh the data. You actually need to delete the track and then get it to upload again... a lot of messing about... Would be nice if there was a force override option or similar...

    I have also noticed tracks from one artist appearing in another artists track list... Not worked this one out yet....

    The other one is if you are into ensuring your Mp3 tags are updated, if you have a various artist album such as Now that's what I call Music, if you want them to appear under one album in Google Music, its worth editing the Album Artist to be "Various" otherwise you will have like 44 separate entries for that Now album showing in Google.. Took me a while to work that one out....

    But I still like it and as I say, I use it daily....

  21. Like Fun B
    November 20, 2013 at 6:08 pm

    The best music player on Android is WinAmp. Doubletwist also has a place, but it's broken on KitKat.

    • Kaue
      November 21, 2013 at 1:22 am

      Winamp is shutting down, sorrry to let you know. [Broken Link Removed]

  22. Robert K.
    November 20, 2013 at 4:16 pm

    Can you use the app without the $9.99 per month fee? I currently use Pandora for streaming music, which is far less expensive than google play music. And generally buy mp3 via Amazon or iTunes.

    • Nathan Bousfield
      November 21, 2013 at 1:53 am

      Yes, but only as a place to store music you already own + music you buy in the Play Store.