Music has travelled a long way from vinyl records and audio cassettes down the road through the iPod and finally to our phones. Unless you belong to a very small minority, chances are, your primary source of music these days is your smartphone. The true music revolution, however, started sometime back, with the coming of the internet era. Napster showed us the way, and in a few years, the democratisation of music was complete. Strictly legal or not, all music was available to all, for download. What smartphones have done is, put that music from the internet, straight into our pockets.
There is a host of apps on the Play Store to help you search, download and listen to online music. The market is really crowded, and you need to know what you are looking for. What you end up using, however, is also a factor of how â€˜legal’ you want your downloads to be.
On the extreme white end of the legality spectrum are the paid services. Top contenders here are Google Play Music and Rdio. These are subscription based services, that offer you a variety of packages based on your need. Both of them offer lots of free listening options, with paid options to download and listen to tracks offline. Google Play allows you to build your customised playlists, store stations as favourites, and often offers freely downloadable content. Rdio, touted as Apple Music’s biggest rival internationally, offers far cheaper packages. You can expect to see a lot of ads in the basic free package. The app arguably has the best collection of international tracks. The monthly subscription that allows you unlimited download, is one of the cheapest in the market, and is definitely worth it.
Another notable player in this category is Guvera Music which has an enviable collection of tracks under its belt.
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Then comes the apps that allow you to download music for free. The legality of these apps is anyone’s guess, but one thing can be said for sure – they are popular. Mp3 Downloaded by g-music.inc has over a million downloads on the Play store, and is expected to serve all your music download purposes. Free Mp3 Downloads by Adomas has over ten million downloads and is one of the highest rated music apps on the Store.
One of the most talked about apps in the Android ecosystem is 4Shared Music, which searches and delivers free music to your phone from thousands of user databases. The app also offers you 15GB of online space to store your tracks on the cloud. You can also download these to your device for off-line listening.
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The free service is ad-based, but connoisseurs tell us they are totally worth putting up with.
On the other extreme of legality are the apps that have been the traditional way to download content off the internet. Any content. We are, of course, talking about Torrents. It was only a matter of time that torrent clients made their way to smartphones, and these can be used to download music in the conventional, peer to peer way.
So in the end, it is a matter of your appetite for bending the law, that would play a part in helping you choose the best app, but in case you prefer to remain clean, the price is not too high. Select a simple plan in any of the paid services, and enjoy clear sound, with a clear conscience.