There are so many apps available for music streaming that sometimes it can be difficult to decide which one to download. Here we’ve picked out the 7 best music apps for both Android and iPhone smartphone users in the West and China.
Spotify is an exceedingly popular music streaming platform that occupies a significant proportion of the global music streaming market with roughly 100 million premium subscribers worldwide so far. Unlike its main competitor, Apple Music, Spotify can be used for free. In the free plan, playlists, albums, or artists can be played in shuffle mode and you can skip up to six times per hour. However, if you want to listen to an album, playlist, or podcast without ad breaks, download music for offline playing, discover new music or curated playlists that suit your mood, then you’ll need a $10 premium subscription.
Apple Music is Apple’s music streaming service, and today it’s not only for iOS, Android users are also allowed access to Apple Music library. Apple Music subscriptions cost $9.99 a month, but the app also offers a three-month free trial at the start. You can get access to over 60 million songs from the Apple Music catalog, Beats One Radio, and music playlists only for you. Except for the immense library, there’s plenty of other content, including documentaries about a variety of artists and bands, concerts, and more.
While Spotify and Apple Music are dominating the music streaming industry in the West, in China there are 5 other leading music streaming apps – KuGou Music, QQ Music, Kuwo Music, NetEase Music, and Xiami Music.
Established in 2004, Kugou is one of the top three Chinese freemium music streaming services (KuGou Music, QQ Music and Kuwo Player) owned by Tencent Music. It is a pioneer and leader in the online music entertainment industry, and a comprehensive music platform integrating music search, playback, downloading, and sharing. Its chief innovation was the playback of lyrics comparable to karaoke, that was later embedded in QQ music too. It also offers actual karaoke features and livestreaming.
Launched in 2005, QQ Music is the most complete high quality music platform protecting musicians’ copyrights in China. It offers basic services for free through QQ Music Free, while enhanced features are available on the subscription-based QQ Music VIP and QQ Music Luxury. QQ Music has a comprehensive high-quality music library, and a broad range of music-related video content. It focuses on popular artists and top mainstream hits for younger music fans in China.
Early in January, Tencent launched a new music recognition app for both iOS and Android, Q Yin Tan Ge, which is accessible through the QQ Music platform. The app’s main function is to identify music from the surrounding environment, similar to Apple’s Shazam in the United States.
Established in 2005, Kuwo Music is another online digital music streaming platform owned by Tencent Music. It heavily focuses on karaoke streaming, serves as a video streaming platform, and also reserves part of its app for China’s rising DJs. Kuwo Music accumulates popular content from variety shows, movies, TV series, etc., and continues to provide users with personalization and diversification through anchor radio stations, live music, videos and other special content.
NetEase Cloud Music
Launched in 2013 by Chinese Internet giant NetEase, NetEase Cloud Music is an online freemium music streaming application that lets users stream music and download songs to any device. What differentiates NetEase Music from other music players is its stronger focus on indie artists, enabling it to compete with internet giants like Tencent and Alibaba which have big entertainment ecosystems. This music app also has social features that allow users to interact with performers who have profiles on the service
Xiami Music was founded in 2007 and acquired by Alibaba in 2013. It’s among the top 5 music-streaming services in China, competing with Tencent’s QQ Music, Kugou and Kuwo, as well as NetEase Cloud Music. With more than 10 million songs available, Xiami music has one of the largest music databases in China. Content on Xiami goes beyond audio, it also has live videos, behind-the-scenes footages, outtakes, remakes, covers, reviews and so on.