While streaming music seems to be the most popular choice nowadays, there’s still a large subset of people who prefer music stored locally. If you’re into local music, here are the best players for Android.
The Best for Most People: Google Play Music (Free)
You know how they say the best camera is the one you have with you? Well in this case, the same applies to music players—Google Play Music ships on pretty much every Android phone out there, and it turns out that it’s also a damn solid choice for playing your local music.
It offers an intuitive interface, library support, playlists, and even an EQ to get your tunes sounding the way you. As an added bonus, if you’re into podcasts, Google Play Music has a built-in podcatcher so you can handle all your music and podcast needs from the same app. That’s pretty convenient.
Plus, if you ever do decide to make the switch over to a streaming package, you can just go with Play Music All Access and have your local and streamed music in the same place. It’s a win-win.
The Best for Local-Only Playback: Pulsar (Free/$2.99) or BlackPlayer (Free/$3.29)
If something about using Play Music rubs you the wrong way or it just feel too “cluttery” with the podcast support and all that, then you’ll love Pulsar and BlackPlayer. We typically try to pick one app per category, but both of these are awesome apps. It was too hard to pick just one.
The look and feel of each app is pretty similar, with each offering Album, Artist, Track, and Genre view in a swipeable interface. Pulsar also has a Folders view, so you can see exactly how your music is stored on the device.
Both apps also feature an onboard EQ, as well as various playback features—like gapless and crossfading. You’ll find theme support in both apps, but BlackPlayer does offer more customization options. If that’s something you’re after, then you may want to take a closer look at BlackPlayer first.
Both apps offer free ((Pulsar/BlackPlayer) and paid versions. For the paid versions, Pulsar Pro comes in at $2.99, and BlackPlayer EX at $3.29. The paid versions offer things like more themes, better equalization, and some additional customization options.
The Best for Cloud-Stored Music: CloudPlayer (Free/$7.99)
Okay, this one may be stretching the “local music” thing just a bit, but if you prefer to keep your music stored in Dropbox, Google Drive, or OneDrive, there’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to stream it directly from those places. That’s sort of the best of both worlds: you can define the format and bitrate of your tunes, keep the storage on your device from getting filled too quickly, and not have to spend the cash on a streaming music package.
If that’s what you’re after, then CloudPlayer is the music player for you. Not only does it offer access to your Drive, Dropbox, or OneDrive catalogs, it doesn’t skimp on the features you expect from a music player. You’ll find gapless playback, volume normalization, Last.fm scrobbling, EQ, and more along for the ride. CloudPlater supports themes, as well as a handful of other interface-based tweaks—like custom navigation views and lock screen views.
The toughest hurdle to jump when it comes to CloudPlayer is the price: to get the full set of features, you’ll have to shell out $7.99, which is pretty costly for an app. At least you can try it out for 30 days before you make the decision. And it is less than a month of a typical music streaming subscription.