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, before Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, could, well, play music. That's about where it ended. It did the typical stuff, sort by artist, song name, create playlists, whatever. The stock music player on Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above is generally Google Play Music, and it's better than the previous stock player, but it still has its limits. Hey, I even used to have a Samsung Galaxy Player, which was basically an Android mp3 player. And I basically had 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: 
5
License: Free (Ads)

Rocket Music Player, in my opinion, is the best free music player available for Android. It has plenty of features, and even more can be enabled by turning on ads.

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...

Cloudskipper Music Player  

Cloudskipper is a decent music player, even though it's not updated often


Our Rating: 
4
License: Free

Cloudskipper is a music player with a fun, elegant, and easy-to-use interface. It has some occasional quirks, but it is still is a good music player. Did I mention it has some nice eye-candy?

Read full review...

MixZing  

MixZing used to have some interesting features albeit with intrusive advertising. Now, the advertising has stopped... but so have some of the most interesting features.


Our Rating: 
3.5
License: Free (Ads)

MixZing was 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. Now, the advertising has stopped - I'm assuming because the app has been abandonned - but so have many of the key features, such as the recommendations system and the music information.

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. Also, if you're interested in the cloud, this app will let you upload 50 000 tracks to Google's servers for free.

Read full review...

Meridian Player  

Meridian is a decent, if not too pretty or simple, music and video player, with some oddities


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, although at least for me, it doesn't work properly.

Read full review...

 

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Comments

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]

I'm not a fan of Apple either - that's why this article is discussing Android apps. Playlists are not some system that only Apple uses, it's used almost universally in different formats, and just about every music player supports playlists. Not everyone has time to organize their music into folders, and even if they do - then they only have their music sorted one way. Some people like it sorting their music in folders, others don't. If you don't like Apple, do what millions of others have done: switch to Android. Then you can take a look at some of the apps I've covered, many of which support folder-based playback.

I tried most music players out there but JetAudio remains my favorite.

I've just looked at the play store listing of JetAudio Basic, and while it might be worth a closer look, it's still missing some features, such as tag editing, an expanded notification bar, or multi-select.

I use UPnPlay to stream my music from my laptop, where it's organised with Foobar. Basically, I think a smartphone is only good for end use, not for things like tediously organizing your collection. My setup turns Foobar into a server and my Android into a wireless headset with a control interface. No syncing, no copies, a single library exactly the way it is in Foobar. All I need is a network linking my Android and laptop together, which can be the built-in hotspot if need be.

That's a good setup - if you always have a good internet connection, which many don't. That's why this section is about music players and organizers - it's about finding apps that can play music and also organize parts of your library if need be. UPnPlay would belong to a different category of apps.

While driving or exercising, I mostly listen to recorded books or talks. They tend to be much longer than the typical four minute song, so it's important to be able to resume where I left off.
The best free app for that is MortPlayer Audio Books: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=de.stohelit.audiobookplaye.... It does a lot more besides, like bookmarks.
In fact, my search showed that there are very few apps which have the "resume" feature.

MixZing has a huge problem for me (besides the advertising) that I have reported years ago and they never corrected. I have lots of .wma music files mixed up with .mp3 in folders, and if I shuffle the folder then each time a .wma file is selected the program stops and I manually have to skip to next music or it doesn't do anything else.
Ideally I would like a music player with just 3 features: playing folders, supporting .wma files, and having playlists. But so far I haven't found any player with all 3 features.

As to WMA files, unless the developer added his own codecs, it's device dependant - so, assuming the app doesn't have any extra codecs, if your device supports WMA files, the app will work with WMA files, and if your device doesn't support WMA files, the app won't work with WMA files. Otherwise, Pretty much all apps offer playlists, and both Rocket Music Player and MixZing have folder-based browsing.

Seems to be some confusion with the MixZing write-up. The review says 20MB footprint but the quick selection guide says ~40MB. also the version listed is 3.7.2 but current version is 4.3.1.

[Commercial reference removed as per site rules]

Ah OK thanks, I'll edit that soon. The 40MB are how it used to be, now it's more like 20MB.

Big thanks to Trainman for all the hard work. I too have tried MixZing and hated the loading. Like others here, I think this particular review -- on its next update -- should look at Rocket. Simply put: it works.

I was expecting to see MediaMonkey here but no...
[commercial reference removed] but as an organizer, I think it deserves a place here. Not to mention its sync feature with its desktop counterpart, improving with the versions...

Both WinAmp and Songbird appear to have been pulled from Google Play.

As Winamp no longer exists as it was, maybe that's why it's been pulled. With luck the new situation will rectify that.

Maybe they are in the process of creating a new version since it was taken over?

Well WinAmp has a good chance of coming back, since they were taken over by another company, and that company seems to be wanting to continue development. As to songbird, official development seems to be dead for good (I could be wrong). However, it's open source, so anyone could "fork" it (basically create their own version), and continue to make their own songbird app. If you knew or learned how to fork repositories, code, and build apps yourself, than there would be nothing preventing you from creating your own songbird app. At this point, I'm not finding much on Google Play, and I have my doubts as to whether someone will properly take up development, since the app didn't have too much that was special. However, it is possible - a great example is Astrid - as soon as it was shut down, forks appeared everywhere on Google Play.
That's odd, I have the same thing going on here. I'll have to look into it.

Hi Trainman 261. I am hoping you can help me with this. I am looking for an app that I can put on my Samsung Galaxy SIII and my Daughter's Samsung Galaxy SIV. I have mp3 files of audio books on my computer that I want to put on our phones. These mp3 files were made from audo CD's that I purchased, as they are unfortunately not available on Audible.com. Any help in picking an app (and possibly an explanation of how to get the files from my computer to our phones) would be greatly appreciated. I do not need anything fancy. Just the ability to read the files in order, pause, rewind, etc. I would also need to be able to have folders so that I can make sure the files are in order (they are currently sorted by cd number).

Thank you for your help. It is greatly appreciated ; )

@conroypi

For the usage you describe, I personnaly use Smart AudiBook Player on my Samsung Galaxy SIII. Give it a try: the app is easy to use, it's the sole one I've tested which all forward or backward rewind and the free version is enough for the job.

hope this helps.

Hi, and sorry for the delay. From the way I understood it, you plan on having your music files organized into folders, and you want to be able to play all music files in a folder in the proper order. I'm also going to assume you're using Windows. You'll just have to make sure you call the music files something like "01 intro", "02 second track", etc., so that the music player knows what order to play them in - if you're using Windows Media Player, you can have that done automatically in most cases. On your phones, transferring music is very simple - just plug your phone into the computer with the USB cable, and your phone should ask you to connect "USB Mass Storage", together with a picture of an android with one of its arms turned into a USB plug. If that doesn't come up, disconnect your phone, go into settings (on your phone), and into "Storage". Press your phone's menu button, and the choose "USB computer connection" (it could be slightly different - it just has to be something along those lines). You should have a window pop up which says "Connect as..." - and make sure "Mass Storage" or "USB mass storage" or something like that is checked (MTP or PTP should not be checked). Then reconnect your phone, and then the "USB Mass Storage" with the Android picture will come up. Click "USB Mass Storage", and then after a bit of time (not more than a minute), it will pop up on your computer just like a memory stick. After that, you can just copy over the files the way you would onto a memory stick (don't forget to safely remove the phone the way you would with a memory stick). As to the app itself, Mixzing has a folder browser. Another app I've heard of from other editors here is Folder Music Player ( https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nullapp.music.mp3 ). You can give that one a try if you want, as well - although I haven't tried it myself yet. If you're just looking to play the music by album, you can use pretty much any music player on the list, whereas Winamp is one of the simpler music players. Let me know if you run into any issues.

Three points:

- First, EQ Player (not "EQ Music Player", just "EQ Player" in the Play Store) is a fantastic app that deserves reviewing.
- Second, TTPod is developed by a Korean, not a Japanese firm.
- Third, you mention at the end that you need to take a look at VLC. Not only is it a beta at the moment, but it is also important to note that VLC is a media player, not music player or music organiser. It should not be reviewed as it would give it an unnecessarily bad image in an article in which it does not fit.

Thanks for your feedback. To your first point: I'll check it out, it looks interesting, especially looking at its tablet interface (and seriously, there are way too few apps apps with decent tablet interfaces...) Second: Exactly what country the firm comes from is less relevant - which is why I said I didn't know exactly what language it was. The problem remains, which is that it doesn't work well in English. Third: I was sort of figuring that VLC was more of a media player - and if it isn't a music player in that sense, I won't post the review here, but maybe in the Best Free Media Player article ( http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-mobile-media-player.htm ).

I realize it's hard to review all the music apps out there so I second the recommendation for RocketPlayer. tried about a dozen others and this one worked best for me. biggest problem in most music players is the user interface and the limitations inerrant on a cell phone. that is why i like Rocket. keep up the good work, and love the ratings and pros/cons sections for each product.

I use MoboPlayer, MX Player, and [edited] and have been happy with all three.

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

Moboplayer and MX Player are more like media players - they can play music files, but they can't really be used to organize anything. I've reviewed them here: http://www.techsupportalert.com/content/best-free-mobile-media-player.htm As to the other app you mentioned, that's a paid app (the trial version is for 15 days only), and I'm only covering free apps.

This is a great review - thanks very much for spending your time doing this.

I looked at the top picks and none of them support a feature that is very important to some - and this is a feature that the stock Android myMusic player for ICS *does* support - pretty well.

The feature is the Bluetooth AVRCP profile (version 1.3). This BT profile allows remote control of the music player including sending the track information so it can be displayed on a remote display. This is used most often in newer cars audio systems that have a display, and it's a very neat feature.

Anyone know of a music player other than the stock player that supports this?

That's something interesting you bring up - I've done some research, and figured out that the AVRCP 1.3 profile is not yet supported natively on android. What device do you have? Some device makers have added support, so your device probably has added support. To put it simply, not all devices with the latest version of android support that, which makes it hard for app developers to use that feature. Google has planned to add AVRCP 1.3 support in API level 18 (the next major version of android), which should be out within the next month or so. Then, depending on your device, it will probably take a while until you get that update. Long story short, if you wait until your device gets updated to Android 4.3 or 5.0 (at the moment no one is sure what will come out next), there will be more more apps supporting it - and they'll probably support it better.

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