Best Free Music Player and Organizer for Android

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Introduction

Android. The Operating System that is flexible, can do everything, can do social networking, can do media, music... wait a minute. That "music" app on my desktop is supposed to be my music player, and organizer? What kind of junk is this? On my high-end Android?

Let's face it: the stock Android music player, if you're not on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, can, well, play music. That's about where it ends. It does the typical stuff, sort by artist, song name, create playlists, whatever. The stock music player on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean is Google Play Music, and it's better than the previous stock player - and you can download it on Android 2.2 FroYo or later (see the Google Play Music review). It still has its limits, though. While some companies have added a skin to Android's music player on their device, it usually doesn't add all too much. Hey, I'm on a Samsung Galaxy Player, which is basically an Android mp3 player. And I've got basically that stock Android 2.3 Gingerbread music player, just with the Samsung skin. Fine for basic playback, but what do you do if you want something more than "shuffle"?

That's where Android's magic shines - you can use whatever app you want to play music, and, if the developer did it correctly, you won't even notice that you're not using the default app. Here are the best music players and organizers for Android.

One note for those who may be on Android 4.4 KitKat - there are issues with apps not being able to access the SD card. This is a problem with the operating system, and not the music player.

 

Rated Products

Rocket Music Player  

A music player with a good set of features


Our Rating: 
4.5
License: Free (Limited features)

Rocket Music Player, in my opinion, is the best free music player available for Android. While it is the free version of an app, this free version still has very many features that trumps most of what other music players have to offer, while being very simple and intuitive.

Read full review...

WinAmp  

WinAmp is an app that is currently in limbo, but still a good choice for a music player, if not just for the SHOUTcast internet radio feature.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Limited features)

WinAmp is a music player that has been well-known in the desktop world for what seems like an eternity, and for quite a while they had a (supported) version for Android. They've now dropped the official support for Android, which is a shame, to be quite honest. However, it is still obtainable as an APK. It is a good, simple, albeit somewhat basic music player in its free incarnation - however, it has SHOUTcast, a massive online Internet service, which is really well done, and which almost makes it worth a download for that alone.

Read full review...

MixZing  

MixZing is an app that would be pretty good if it weren't for the intrusive and infuriorating advertising.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free (Ads)

MixZing is a very well-made music player... with one exception: the horrendously intrusive advertising. Yes, the kind where where all you wanted to do is listen to a song quickly - and it shoves a video ad down your throat, which you can't skip or anything, before you can even listen to that one track. It could easily give Rocket Music Player a run for its money - especially with its music recommendations feature (which automatically puts playlists featuring tracks from your library together for you) and otherwise generally broad set of features - but the intrusive advertising simply ruins it. What a shame...

Read full review...

Cloudskipper Music Player  

Cloudskipper is a decent, even though not updated anymore, music player.


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free

Cloudskipper is a music player with a fun, elegant, and easy-to-use interface. While it isn't really being updated anymore, and has some occasional bugs and quirks, it still is a good music player. Did I mention it has some nice eye-candy?

Read full review...

TTPod Music Player  

TTPod is a feature-packed music player that is slow and has problems with text not displaying in English.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free

TTPod is a feature-packed music player... but there is one glaring problem - a lot of text appears in Chinese, Japanese, or some language with similar characters... Which, similar to MixZing, is really a shame, since otherwise, it has so many features.

Read full review...

Google Play Music  

Google Play Music is a good option if you're using Google's cloud services to store your music. Otherwise, not really.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free

Google Play Music is specifically designed to work with Google's cloud services, and it does that job decently well. Otherwise, there isn't too much exciting about this music player.

Read full review...

Meridian Player  

Meridian is a decent, if not too pretty or simple, music and video player.


Our Rating: 
3
License: Free (Limited features)

Meridian Player is an interesting music - and video player. While the interface isn't the nicest or simplest available, it generally works, and has a decent range of features. It also supports the 5-star rating system not supported by all that many apps on Android.

Read full review...

 

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Comments

Agree with the top choice of Rocket Player. I installed it a few days ago, and it is just the kind of app I wanted.

Having used a variety of music players, I will suggest Black Player as it's just what I was looking for. It features an equalizer, bassboost & 3D surround virtualizer with widgets, scrobbling, an ID3 tag editor, no ads, themes, and support for most commonly used music files. Additionally working with tabs and drawers is amazing with this music player, and supports changeable themes, fonts, colors, and has gapless playback, HD album cover management and a lot of customization options. 

I recommend FrostWire! www.frostwire.com It is the best music player for Android

NOTE WinAmp:
A.) NO LONGER is in Google Play.
B.) IS NOT FREE, because it is NOT offered by the original makers of WinAMP.

Well, I've just checked, and I still find it on Google Play. As mentioned in the article, you have to use the link I provided, since it won't appear in search results, but it is still free. I've mentioned a little more about the situation in the article.

I too just re-tried the provided link and google play responds with "We're sorry, the requested URL was not found on this server."
For THIS link:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nullsoft.winamp#?t=W251bGwsMSwxLDIxMiwiY29tLm51bGxzb2Z0LndpbmFtcCJd
AND I researched it and saw on a number of sites where it is NOT free.

I just entered your link into my adress, and for me, it works. For all I know it could be a regional thing.

There has always been a free version and a paid version of this app. I've reviewed the free version, which I find pretty good. However, that's why you're finding sites where it isn't free.

For the future I would ask that you please not use caps like that, it comes accross as rude.

The link does not seem to be working for me too. It says "not found". I even searched for Winamp on Google Playstore from my phone and Winamp does not appear in the list, even when I specfically searched for it.

On Winamp site too, there is no mention of an Android version, only PC and Mac.

Link does not work for me either. MC - Site Manager.

Winamp was owned by Nullsoft, then sold to AOL and again sold to Radionomy in early 2014. As a result, many changes in Winamp are being made according to DJ Egg of the Winamp Team at the forum here: http://forums.winamp.com/showthread.php?t=374929

I think for those users who've already installed Winamp for Android, the app link to Google Play still works after signing into the Google account. It's likely temporarily stopped from public access until a new version is available.

The last version of the app was 1.4.15 updated in Oct 2013. You will still be able to get the apk package from the Winamp forum here: http://forums.winamp.com/showpost.php?p=2984799&postcount=2

Ah hah, that's it. I just tried using the link in pivate browsing, and sure enough, it doesn't work there. So you're right - it's only visible to those who already have it linked to their account. I'll be updating the article shortly to reflect that.

Has anyone used doubletwist? It seems to get good reviews on other sites, but apparently also has a number of "additions" that cost. Interested in how the free version (without the pay additions) compares with Rocket as a basic music player. thanks

For many years doubleTwist has been used for syncing iTunes playlists from Windows PCs to Android phones. The iTunes syncing works very reliably compared to other products I've used so it is the only free product I now install for that purpose. The setup could be easier but there are other products, even paid products, that are far worse to setup for syncing. As a music player the free version is nothing exceptional because you need to pay for the Pro version to get the equalizer, DLNA support, wireless features (AirSync and AirPlay), and "album art search and removal of podcast ads."
I have taken a look at doubletwist a while ago, and decided it wasn't worth adding to this article back then (I think that was about a half a year ago). I'd have to check it out again, but I think it was because the free version didn't really offer anything that stood out among all the different music players.

Thank you. I think you're correct. I simply want to use my phone as an mp3(or wav or whatever) player with only the basics for sound and perhaps a shuffle option. I can live with Google (came installed) except I'd prefer not to get past Google wanting me to save my library to its cloud and download music from its site. I have all my music files organized on a separate drive on our NAS using a program on my computer. I'll transfer full playlists onto my phone and simply want to play them. It looked like Rocket had the fewest bells and whistles that I don't need, but doubletwist seemed to get good reviews for its basic player (with complaints that all the extras cost money). Thanks again.

RocketPlayer is good, but even simple things like finding Album Art requires you to pay for the software. This put me off. MusixMatch seems to be good for now.

I've been using the free version of Google Play Music for the last few years, because so far it does what I need it to do, but even when updated it tends to rearrange the obsessively organized music files I load onto my phone. Trust me, it all looks peachy on the SD card in Windows explore, then when looking at music on my phone, albums are split into two icons with half the songs on each (as though it were two albums instead of one)... and songs from other albums are redistributed into multiple unrelated places, under other artists. I keep on top of all updates and am using a newer phone (Galaxy S5), so I'm wondering what I'm doing wrong. I'll admit I'm not extremely tech savvy, so all the bells and whistles aren't necessities but displaying the files accurately seems pretty basic. Has anyone else had this experience? Is it user error? App error? Just plain time for a different app? Please help..

My apologies for the late reply. The problem is that in the world of organizing music, there are two ways of doing it. There is the one way, in which you did it - which is to sort everything into folders. Then, there is the more common way - by way of tags. Tags are small bits of information hooked onto your music files which indicate which album they belong to, what the artist is, and what the song's name is. To see what I'm talking about, stick the SD card into your computer and look at your music with Windows Explorer. Go to a track, right-click it, choose "Properties", and then go into the "Details" tab. Here you'll see different fields, such as Title, Rating, Comments, Album artist, Album, Year, etc. These are the song's tags. If the file isn't open in another program, you can also edit most of them. Google play music (and most other music players) organize music based on their tags. If an album is being split into two, look at one track of each of the two "new" albums, and you'll notice the album tag is different. It could be a small difference, or it could be a big difference. Whatever it is, the fact that it /is/ different means that Google Play Music will see it as two different albums. As to your songs ending up in different artist - this most likely comes from you having albums with multiple artists. In Google Play Music (I'll just abbreviate it GPM from now on), if you go into the artists section, different tracks from that album will be under different artists. However, if you go into the albums section, it should all go into the same album. So, basically, GPM uses the tags to sort your music, while Windows Explorer just looks at which folder they're in, and displays your music like that. If you want everything properly organized, you pretty much have two options. The first option is that you get a music player that supports folder-based playback. Rocket Player supports folder-based music playback, so if you like, you can check that out. Just make sure you go into the "Folders" tab, otherwise you'll have your music organized the same way it is on Google Play. If you want a quick solution, this is the way to go. If you want to keep using GPM but have everything organized, you can edit the tags. This can be time-consuming, depending on how much music you have and how many tracks need editing. On the other hand, it has several advantages. For one, you have more flexibility when it comes to sorting your music. You can instantly look at your music sorted in different ways. For example, you can play a mix of music from a certain artist, regardless of which album(s) the music comes from. Or, you can play a mix of music from a certain genre, regardless of artist or album. The other advantage is that you don't necessarily need to organize your music into folders any more - whenever you get new music, you can just dump it into one folder, if you don't mind the mess - it will all appear properly organized in GPM. If you want to edit the tags, you can either do it on your computer or on your device (although that could well not work if you're on Android 4.4). If you want to do it on your computer, you can do it as I explained earlier. If you want to do it on your device, you can do it with Rocket Player - that has the capability of editing tags.

Thank you for posting this! Just what I needed to know because my files are folder based because I listen to music, books, Spanish-learning tapes and other stuff.

Hi. I'm new here and wish to enquire regarding the best free music player with regards to playing a list of songs, stopping after each song instead of playing continueously one after the other. The reason being, I perform live with backing tracks and want a break between songs to get ready for the next song. Hope this is clear enough?

Thanks

Jazzhorn

I understand what you're looking for, although I've never seen it implemented in any of the apps I've tried, including the ones not listed here (or at least I don't remember ever seeing it implemented). It could be that there are some apps specifically made for your situation, but I don't know of any. What you could do is put the tracks in a folder, and then use ES File Explorer to play them. ES File explorer has a built-in media player, and you could set that as the default app. That way, when you click on a track, that track plays, and then it stops. When you want to play the next track, you can then hit the back button and click the next track. It's not as simple as pressing play every time, but it would work.
I did take a look at it recently, and I am considering including it in the review. The interface is beautifully designed, and it also has Shoutcast radio support. It also has an interesting online feature, which lets you listen and even put together playlists with online music. It doesn't have full tag editing support, though, and it doesn't have a way to properly automatically generate playlists based on what you want in the way Rocket does, for example.

I installed it after seeing the interface. Thanks for your input.

Have you looked a n7player. Slightly oddball UI but seems to cover all bases.

I've just taken a look at the play store listing. It seems to have some interesting features, but it locks the folder-based browsing, tag editing and some other features are locked after 10 days of use unless you buy a key to unlock them.

The biggest challenge with "music players" on Android and other systems is that they don't differentiate between Music files and Podcasts. "Music players" are inherently flawed for Podcast mp3 files because they don't have fine adjustments in time. They all use the traditional slider bar to find a spot in the "mp3" or other audio file. They treat ALL MP3 files as if they ARE music, and that's just simply not the case. If they can't filter which folders they draw their playlists from, then the program is useless in my mind.

"Music Players" (even the one I chose, [edited]) are also inherently obsessive about "Album art." I don't give a wit about the art, because I'm not generally sitting there staring at the screen as it plays music. I wish they'd all have an option to ignore art completely, and give more screen space to controls, and titles.

I have used [edited] for music, and Ginkgo Player for podcast mp3's because they don't "overlap" in what they claim as their own files, if you configure them. Ginkgo Player has big and small skips forward/backward for the large audio files. [edited] is easily configured not to select podcast files for random music file plays.

I've tried a few of Gizmo's selections on this post for Android, and settled with [edited]. You simply have to get a good one.

[Moderator's note: Commercial app edited out. Please post about free apps only.]

Some players do differentiate between "proper" music and podcasts. Rocket Music Player and Cloudskipper both do this. As to the album art, everyone has their preferences - although I don't think most people "[sit] there staring at the screen as it plays music". Instead, they use it as a visual cue. It is a lot easier to recognize an image, than to recognize text. That's one of the reasons why I like to have my albums with album art. However, if you really dislike album art, I haven't really found an app that ignores album art (and don't remember ever having used one) - that isn't just among the apps listed here, I've tried many others that I either have chosen not to review or haven't reviewed yet. If you're looking for excluding folders from being in your music apps, you should try StudioKUMA .nomedia Manager ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.studiokuma.nomedia ). You can mark folders to be excluded from Android's media scanner, which means the media they contain won't appear in most music players.

Now it's time for someone to produce a decent music file system for the IOS, one that will break Apples lock on no folders for music. The play list system is a joke, and only Apple insists on using it. Considering the obscene cost of their gadgets, you would think they would listen to the punters now and then. The Android get better and better, while Apple swills around in it's self confessed glory, that's going on the slide.
[Racist comments edited out]

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