This post is sponsored by Bose (shoutout), but as always all opinions, thoughts and snark are our own. That’s the Awesomely Techie promise.
Remember the good old days when the only way you could take music around with you was if you dared to bring your CD player around? Even then, you were limited to whatever disk was in the Walkman, unless you dared to walk around with your mama’s CD portfolio like I did just to have some variety. Thank God those days are over, and now, like Apple says, there’s an app for that.
Just about everybody has iTunes on their computer, even if they don’t have an iPhone or an iPod, because it changed the music game forever with the iTunes music store. But before Apple Music, the Instant Boyfriend Mixtape Service, you had to buy each song you wanted to listen to. But there are so many other apps a music lover should have on their phone.
5 Music Apps Everyone Should Be Using
Shazam: I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched a TV show, and scene music came on in the background and I thought “I wonder who sings this song.” I’m not sure how I was surviving before Shazam. The app uses your phone’s microphone to listen to the song that’s playing, and identifies the song and the artist. And then, you can purchase those songs directly from the app. It helped me find songs that were playing on HBO’s Girls and Ballers, which helped me support artists I had never heard before.
Shazam has an app for iOS, Android, and Windows phones and watches. The Mac and PC apps for Shazam work in the background, waiting for the need to name a tune. The Shazam app is free, and there’s a paid version called Shazam Encore which is $6.99 in the App Store. The paid app lets you discover soundtracks, song lyrics, music videos, and works with Apple Music, Pandora and Spotify based on your history.
Spotify: I downloaded Spotify the day of its U.S. launch in 2011, and I’m pretty sure I’m the one who told all my family and friends about it. I started jamming to music I hadn’t heard in years. It wasn’t long before I went from a free user to a paid user so I could listening to music in my car and at work. Not only can you make your own playlist, but you can subscribe to playlists by other users (and your friends). One of my favorites is a Kanye Sample playlist that has the original song Kanye used as a sample, and then the song he used it in.
Spotify has a freemium model as well. The free version comes with ads and limited skips. You can try the premium version for a 30-day free trial and then it’s $9.99/month. There are also discounts for families (50% off each extra account), and students ($4.99/month). Spotify Premium lets you play music anytime, any place in high definition using either the web player, a smartphone or your computer app.
Pandora: I can’t remember when traditional radio got played out, but it just sort of did. Then I was introduced to Pandora by my brother. Pandora’s Internet radio lets you choose an artist or a song, and it’ll play other songs on that station that are go with it. It’s nice to find music that’s very similar, which is what I typically find when I listen to Erykah Badu radio. But if a song comes on that I can’t stand, the thumbs down comes in handy, so it can be skipped and never played again. Rating trains the app to know what you like and don’t like so it can serve up your preferences.
Since Pandora has been in the game for a minute, it definitely is everywhere. It’s Internet radio, so of course you can access it on your browser. You can also download the app on your phone, your tablet, and even certain cars come equipped with it like Honda’s, Toyota’s and Kia’s. Pandora is free for users, so you just have to endure a couple ads in between your favorite songs. But you can subscribe to Pandora One for $4.99 a month to go ad-free.
Google Play Music: Google Play Music started in an invitation-only beta, but when it was open to the public, I had to check it out. They have a catalog of 30 million songs, and the online music locker lets you save songs you want to stream later on offline. I also like how Google Play Music connects with YouTube, making recommendations for music videos, which I feel like I don’t get to watch as often as I used to.
Google Play Music works similar to iTunes, in the sense that you can pay per song. The streaming offering is $9.99/month for unlimited music without ads. One thing that sets the radio portion of Google Play Music apart is that you can see what songs are coming up next, so you know when something might disturb your groove.
And also, you can upload your own music library to it so you can access your tunes from anywhere as long as you’re connected to the internet.
Soundcloud: At first, I thought Soundcloud was just for aspiring artists who just wanted people to listen to their mixtapes. Then I found that other indie artists host their music there too! When I hear music during a web series, I can usually find the artist’s profile on Soundcloud, and not only can I listen to and even download that song, but I can discover more tracks by that person and become a fan.
I think Soundcloud has given up and coming artists a level playing field to be found. You can search Soundcloud by artist, band, podcast, or songs. You set playlists to listen to on your phone, and the social aspect is brought to life by allowing you to like, comment and repost songs you enjoyed. And best of all, it’s free!
From discovering new artists, to saving your backyard boogie playlist, music lovers can’t go wrong with these 5 apps.
Luvvie’s note: They also gave me the Bose Soundlink Mini II Bluetooth Speaker to try and I have to say I love it. I know I’m officially biased but again, all opinions are mine. It’s small but powerful. I don’t like carrying too many gadgets with me at once but I’d certainly take it with me on vacation and listen to music on the beach. Once it was paired with my MacBook (which took like 3 minutes), it was good to go.
Plus, I’ve taken it to the bathroom with me as my computer was in a separate room and the sound was unaffected. I’ve used it so far for about 5 hours and the indicator loudly told me I’m at 40% battery. This speaker is pretty legit.