YouTube Music on smartphone stock photo 2

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority


Google is definitely shutting down Google Play Music in 2020 with YouTube Music as its successor. The move makes sense. After all, YouTube is the most popular on-demand music website in the world. Plus, YouTube Music is getting a few Google Play Music features, such as the ability to upload your own music for streaming later. However, this move is the final straw for some people who want an alternative that isn’t YouTube Music.

The good news is you have a lot of options. There is some bad news as well. YouTube is the world’s most popular music streaming site for a reason. It has everything, including a bunch of music you can’t find on traditional music streaming sites. It’s easily accessible and you don’t even need an account on the website for on-demand streaming. Plus, a Google Play Music subscription also worked as a YouTube Premium subscription, making it the best one-two punch in video and audio streaming history.

There exists no music streaming service with all of those features. Thus, you will never find a 100% perfect Google Play Music alternative. Some services come close, though. Here are the best YouTube Music and Google Play Music alternatives.

The best Google Play Music and YouTube Music alternatives




Amazon Music

Price: Free / $7.99 per month / Varies

Amazon Music is a reasonably decent alternative to Google Play Music and YouTube Music. It boasts a collection of 60 million songs and it’s one of the few streaming services that also has purchase options. It certainly won’t have every MP3 that Google Play Music had, but it had the vast majority of the stuff I had already purchased from Google Play. Additionally, it’s ramping up its high res collection with 24-bit, 192 kHz streaming if you’re interested in that. Those who want to purchase and download music can learn how to do so here.

Amazon Music - best android auto music players


Apple Music

Price: Free / $9.99 per month

Apple Music is the closest approximation to Google Play Music right now. It has a huge library of over 60 million songs, the ability to listen to both on-demand content and radio stations, and the ability to upload up to 100,000 songs of your own music. The process for the self-upload feature is a bit complicated unless you have a Mac, but it’s still there. Apple still hasn’t rectified all of the app’s bugs on Android and that’s a shame. Still, it has almost all of the same Google Play Music features, including the rare ability to upload your own music.

Apple Music screenshot 2020


Qobuz

Price: Free / $12.95 per month / Varies

Qobuz is one of the newer streaming options and competes favorably with TIDAL. The app boasts more than 60 million tracks and you can stream all of them in high quality. Most of the service’s 60 million songs are in FLAC (16-bit, 44.1 kHz) while some others are in 24-bit and 192 kHz. Additionally, Qobuz lets you purchase music for download and use offline. Some other features include hundreds of thousands of little factoids about various bands, articles and interviews, and various playlists.

Qobuz screenshot 2020

Credit: Joe Hindy / Android Authority


Plex

Price: Free / $4.99 / $4.99 per month / $149.99

Plex is an excellent solution for people who don’t want to lose the ability to stream their own music. It doesn’t have a streaming service up front like Google Play Music, but you can basically make your own streaming service. You set up Plex on your computer and point it at your music folder, then get the app and stream your music directly to your phone. You have to pay $4.99 for the app in order to accomplish this and the $4.99 per month Plex Pass adds extra features and functionality. Plex also has a dedicated music app now if you just want to use it for music. This one requires a little troubleshooting and know how, but at least you won’t be tethered to a streaming service anymore.

Plex screenshot 2020

Credit: Joe Hindy / Android Authority


Spotify

Price: Free / $9.99 per month

Spotify is one of the obvious choices when leaving YouTube Music or Google Play Music. It’s the largest music streaming app out there. You can also listen to on-demand music for free (with ads), listen to radio stations, and the service even includes podcasts now. The desktop apps are rock solid as are all of the mobile apps. You can even get this in many newer cars without any extra nonsense as long as your car has a data connection. In any case, it fills the free on-demand music (with ads) void, but it does lack YouTube’s hilariously large collection of underground and independent artists.

Spotify screenshot 2020 like 1 millionth one

Credit: Joe Hindy / Android Authority


SoundCloud

Price: Free / $9.99 per month

SoundCloud is a surprisingly decent option for a YouTube Music replacement. It has the traditional streaming service stuff if you want it for $9.99 per month. However, SoundCloud also has a huge collection of music from independent, small, and underground artists. In fact, it’s the only streaming service that comes close to YouTube’s massive selection. The app itself works fine and you can find all kinds of weird stuff there, including royalty-free music and podcasts. You can listen to some content with the free version, but if you want the popular stuff, you have to pay for it.

SoundCloud screenshot is the best musician apps


TIDAL

Price: Free / $9.99-$19.99 per month

One of the benefits of uploading your own music was controlling the quality. Google Play Music let you upload high quality music and then converts it to 320kbps MP3. It’s not hi-fi, but it’s better than a lot of streaming services. It’s not better than TIDAL, though, as TIDAL allows for true hi-fi listening. The app lets you download music for offline listening, create playlists, listen to existing playlists, and streams music at 16-bit, 44.1kHz FLAC or 24-bit, 96kHz MQA. It doesn’t get any better than that, although Deezer’s hi-fi option comes close. You can’t upload any of your own music, but it does everything else right.

TIDAL - best music streaming apps for android


YouTube Music

Price: Free / $9.99 per month

We know it’s kind of silly to recommend YouTube Music on a list for people trying to leave YouTube Music, but hear us out. YouTube Music is set to inherit a lot of Google Play Music’s features and has already inherited many. YouTube Music does play your local music even though the player is admittedly less functional. Simply go into the app settings, tap on Library & downloads, and select the Show device files option to enable it. Additionally, YouTube Music supports user uploaded files. It still works with YouTube Premium if you don’t mind paying an extra $3 per month for it and the only thing you actually lose is the ability to buy music. It should improve in terms of ergonomics and looks as time goes on too.

YouTube Music screenshot 2020


Basically any other streaming service

Price: Free / Varies (usually around $9.99 per month)

Here’s the thing. A proper Google Play Music or YouTube Music alternative has the specific features that make those services good. If you don’t need or don’t use those extra features, you can basically switch to any other streaming app and be perfectly fine. There are some decent selections, including Pandora, Deezer, iHeartRadio, and others. A lot of folks are attached to Google Play Music’s name, but not its features. If you can get beyond that, you can use basically anything.

Deezer screenshot 2019 best free music apps


Basically any local music player

Price: Free / Varies

A lot of folks used Google Play Music as their default local video player. It was convenient because you could buy music, download it, and use it on the same app. Unfortunately, there’s no way to really do that anymore. The good news is Google Play Music’s local music player wasn’t all that great. You can easily replace is with almost any other local music player. There are some super functional classics like Poweramp and Neutron Player, newer (and simpler) options like Phonograph, Puslar, and Musicolet, or power user-friendly options like MediaMonkey (with its desktop version you can sync to like iTunes). We have a full list of the best local music players for Android at the button below.

Poweramp - best music player apps for android


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If we missed any great YouTube Music alternatives, tell us about them in the comments.

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