Best Mobile Apps for Music

Remember when teens spent hours flipping through albums or CDs in the local music store? Most of you probably don’t – it’s like those stories parents tell about walking to school, in the snow, without shoes, uphill, both ways. You hear it, but you just can’t believe it.

With the growth of mobile devices and the powerful apps that transform them into mini entertainment centers, albums, CDs, and even broadcast radio are dying a not-so-slow death. In fact, listening to tunes on a desktop is considered passé in today’s fast-paced world.

Along the way, these innovations have changed the way we think about music. Instead of simply liking what we’re programmed to like by the local radio stations or the music store, the floodgates have been opened, exposing tech-savvy youth to a wealth of alternative, foreign, and indie music.

The trick for consumers is to pick the right music app out of the hundreds that are available for mobile music. To help you make the right choice, the following list takes a close look at the best options:


Price: Service is a free companion service with the desktop application. Desktop app is free for a basic plan with ads, and includes up to 40 hours of play each month; other subscription options require a monthly fee.

Devices: Android, Palm Pre, Blackberry, and Windows

Network Requirements: 3G or WiFi

Music Sharing: Twitter, Facebook, and Email

Offline Capable: No


Pandora is one of the most popular desktop applications used to create fully-customized streaming radio stations to perfectly fit your taste in music. With Pandora Mobile, you can:


  • access personal stations from just about anywhere
  • create new stations on-the-go
  • rate new songs
  • bookmark personal favorites

In fact, the desktop version and mobile app are fully integrated for seamless use. Keep in mind that Pandora maintains a radio station format. This means you won’t be able to create playlists or play a single song or artist continuously.



Price: Free 14 day-50 song trial. Subscriptions cost $9/month or $90/year

Devices: Android, Palm WebOS, Blackberry, and Symbian

Network Requirements: 3G or WiFi

Music Sharing: Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Email

Offline Capable: No


Grooveshark has taken their popular web-based music app mobile with Grooveshark Anywhere. This fee-based version allows users to browse the Grooveshark catalog from “anywhere” that can access a 3G or WiFi connection, including both songs and playlists.

To make it even more exciting, Grooveshark has a number of customizable features, including a ton of different skins. Pickles, the tubby Panda guide, will show you everything you need to know about Grooveshark as your tutorial guide.



Price: $3.99/month

Devices: Android, Palm WebOS, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone 7

Network Requirements: 3G or WiFi

Music Sharing: Twitter and the Slacker Forum

Offline Capable: Yes

The name alone makes trying Slacker Radio worth it, but the “CNET Editor’s Choice” designation confirms it’s a great app. It includes over 100 pre-configured radio stations, designed with very specific genres in mind, or you can create your own.

With this fee-based service, you won’t have any ads to get in your way; you will get unlimited song skipping, and you can even cache songs to play when you don’t have a good connection. Best of all, you can even get the song lyrics, to make sure you don’t sound like a complete idiot if you like to belt out a few tunes to a Slacker backup.

There is a completely free Slacker Radio plan, too—but, the additional features that come with the Plus version are well worth this small monthly fee. If you’d like to up your music-listening expenses to $9.99 each month for Slacker Premium, you can add on-demand access to songs and full albums to your feature list.

Just like Pandora, Slacker Radio doesn’t allow you to choose your own songs or playlist. Instead, it selects songs for you based on your voting history and listening habits. Although this can be great, it might make listening to a completely new musical style a little challenging.



Price: $4.99/month

Devices: Android and Blackberry

Network Requirements: 3G or WiFi

Music Sharing: Twitter and Facebook

Offline Capable: Yes


This inexpensive app combines a ton of features into one, seamless mobile package. Without leaving Rdio, you can:


  • Follow your friends on Facebook or Twitter
  • Create playlists
  • Listen to a ton of songs
  • Tune into artist-created radio stations
  • Save your favorites for later
  • Sync your Rdio app to your iTunes library to create a one-stop-shop for listening to your favorite songs on-the-go.

If you’re always asking for advice from your trend-setting friends, you can stop bugging them when you get a Rdio subscription: just check out what they’re listening to using Rdio’s Facebook or Twitter interface, and set your dial to a new set of favorites.


Price: US rates are unavailable at this time

Devices: Android

Network Requirements: 3G or WiFi

Music Sharing: Twitter, Spotify, and Facebook

Offline Capable: Yes


As a Spotify Premium subscriber, you’ll have instant access to over 13 million tracks of the hottest music, in addition to your own selection of audio files. Although the paid subscription is a requirement for using the mobile app and offline listening, Spotify Premium also allows you to skip the ads, and access exclusive content like pre-release tracks and concert ticket giveaways.


For the best sound quality, Spotify streams your music at the highest bitrates possible. Spotify Premium also includes a radio feature and makes sharing music with friends easy. All you have to do is send a link to a favorite song or playlist, and they can check it out instantly.


Like group projects? Spotify makes group collaborations to create shared playlists simple. Although the full, for-pay versions of the Spotify app are only available in a limited number of countries at this time, expect to see these new features rolled out to your area soon.



With either of these great mobile apps, it’ll be easier than ever to listen to exactly what YOU want to hear at home, at work, at school, or anywhere else you go. Whether you listen in solitude, or jam with your friends, is completely up to you.

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