A while back I did a roundup of Multimedia App for Android Tablets. You may have noticed that missing from that list were music apps, but fear not; I have not forgotten about music apps — as a matter of fact I love music. There are so many great music apps for Android tablets that instead of lumping them in with other multimedia apps, we decided to dedicate a roundup strictly to them. Here, we’re going to look at streaming, discovery, syncing, and even playing apps that work very well on your Nexus 7, 10 or other Android tablet.
Spotify is hands down my favorite music app. You can create playlists of pretty much anything you want from their vast library of music, it will pull music from your device, and there is even a Pandora-like Radio function for discovery — though I wouldn’t recommend it. You can also download music to your device similarly to Google Play Music, for offline listening. While you do need a Spotify Premium account ($10 USD), it’s well worth the cost, especially if you spend more than $10 per month on music.
Price: Free; Requires Spotify Premium Requires: Android 2.1 or above Google Play Link:Spotify Developer:Spotify Ltd.
If you’re more in a music discovery mood, a lot of people consider Pandora the king of Internet radio. You create a radio station based on an artist, song or genre, and they play music similar to whatever you selected. Pandora has a solid app with almost perfect predictions for what you will like and the ability to refine them to generate radio stations that seem custom-made for you. The Android app brings all of the web functionality to your tablet completely for free with the only drawback being commercials. However, for a very reasonable $36/year, you can have unlimited, ad-free listening.
Unfortunately, Pandora is only available in the United States, Australia, and New Zealand for now; but fear not, there are a few apps for people outside of those countries. One I’d like to mention is Online Radio by SkillOverflow. While this app won’t create a station based on a specific artist or song, it still allows you to select from genre, location, and language. You can also favorite stations from all over the world. The app even has a couple of nice added features like a sleep timer and an alarm clock.
On top of Online Radio, there is another worldwide-accessible radio app called Stereomood. This really beautiful app allows you to create a station based on your current mood, which can be anything from “Happy” to “Space Trip.” The app does make you either login or connect to Facebook, but you get some nice added functionality like being able to add your own mood and recommended stations.
With streaming covered, it’s time to turn to music from our own music collections. I don’t know about you, but I have tens of thousands of songs and need a good way to organize and sync them and n7player is a really fantastic way to browse music on a tablet. With some beautifully designed screens for viewing albums, artists, and genres including thumbnail and tag cloud layouts rediscovering your own music is incredibly easy to do. The app also supports a wide array of audio formats and multitouch gestures that are sure to give you a unique experience. Lifehacker even said the app, “..makes browsing your own library and finding music to listen to fun again.”
On top of streaming, discovering, and syncing, there is the social side of music. Turntable.fm is a very fun hidden gem in this regard. You join a room with up to 5 DJs each taking turns playing songs. Everyone else in the room can vote on the song as ‘awesome’ or ‘lame’. I’ve had a lot of fun with coworkers using this and now it has a fully functional — and fully free! — Android app. You can do everything from listening, to chatting, to managing your DJ queue. Turntable.fm is a really fantastic social music app and I strongly recommend it!
If you’re a music fan, you know there’s a lot more to melodies than just listening. The Google Play Store has a lot of great apps for creating music as well as consuming and since I play the drums, we’ll start there. Tablet Drums is a freemium app that gives you a pretty simple set-up. You get 7 drums and cymbals to play by tapping. You can add more with the paid version. The app also allows you to record layered tracks, so you can lay down the bass or high-hat first, then add the snare and fills. Then you can save the setup or export the file for use outside the app.
Piano apps were some of the first I discovered when exploring the whole music-creation app scene. I dabbled a little in piano playing when I was a kid and figured it would be fun to check out what the Play Store offered. One of the best I’ve used is Pianist HD. It gives access to the full keyboard, is intuitive to use, supports multi-touch, and you can record, playback, and save clips. I’ve really enjoyed myself while trying to learn the Star Wars Imperial March.
One instrument I could never wrap my head — or more accurately my hands — around is the guitar. However, if the guitar is your instrument of choice, GuitarTapp PRO is the app for you. Look up chords, play along with songs, and watch YouTube video tutorials, all from a very tablet-friendly layout. The developer even boasts that the tablet-optimized layout is, “…very useful as teleprompter / autocue for live performances on stage.” There is both a free and paid version, so you can try before you buy. Price: $2.79 Requires: Android 2.1 or above Google Play Link:GuitarTapp PRO – Tabs & Chords Developer:8:45 Tools
Finally, possibly the most fun thing about music — aside from actually playing — is hearing it live during shows. I absolutely love concerts, and have seen over 100 different bands live! However, keeping up with who is playing where can take some work, and that’s where Songkick comes in. I’ve been getting emails from them for a while now, but I just recently installed the app for my Nexus 7 and I’ve got to say, it’s pretty great! It will scan your device for music and your current location and make suggestions based on that information. You can also create an account to really refine your artist and recommendation list, and add shows to your calendar to get a nice overview of who you’re seeing and when.
So these were 10 of my favorite apps to listen to, discover, and even play music. I think I rounded some of the popular names alongside a few apps you hopefully hadn’t heard of before. Of course, if I missed your favorite tablet-optimized music app, feel free to let me know in the comments.