There has, arguably, never been a better time to be a music fan, with more ways to discover, listen to and share music than ever before, even if disputes about how much the artists make from these services continue to rumble.
The big streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music and Deezer may be familiar, but a host of other apps lie beyond those, from daily suggestions of new tunes to games that create levels based on your songs – via automated DJs, mobile gig tickets and “lip-dub” videos.
1 Vevo (Android/iOS)
If you’re looking for music videos, Vevo should be your first port of call: it has a wide selection, along with exclusive live performances and interviews. The more you use it, the better its recommendations get.
2 Dice (Android/iOS)
Dice is a mobile ticketing app: you buy tickets for concerts within it, and then show your phone to enter on the night. The big draw: no booking fees, and also the promise of smart recommendations for new bands you might love.
Pacemaker started as an inventive app to DJ with your Spotify collection. It’s becoming something more interesting though: an artificial-intelligence DJ that does the mixing (and even chooses the songs, if you want) for you.
4 BBC Music (Android/iOS)
The BBC has so much music across its networks, it’s easy to miss things you’d like. This app aims to avoid that, pulling together live sessions and playlists from presenters and shows, tying in with Spotify, Deezer and YouTube as well.
5 WhoSampled (Android/iOS)
If you want to dig deeper into the music you love, WhoSampled will soak up hours of your time. It scans your iTunes or Spotify library and lets you go back in time via the samples in your songs – as well as remixes and cover versions.
6 Genius (Android/iOS)
The perfect companion for WhoSampled: this app provides annotated lyrics for more than 1.7m songs. So, not just the words, but fellow fans’ explanations of what they mean and key people and places referenced within them.
7 Musical.ly (Android/iOS)
In 2016, Musical.ly has become a bona-fide app craze, with more than 120 million users. Teenagers in particular have adopted it to create short “lip-dub” videos, where they dance and mime to their favourite songs.
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8 Combo.fm (iOS)
If you like a bit more human in your music recommendations, Combo.fm is excellent. Its team suggests a few songs every day, with text explaining why it’s been chosen, and the ability to save the ones you like to a Spotify playlist.
9 Inside Abbey Road (Android/iOS)
You’ll need a Google Cardboard virtual reality headset to make the most of this app, which gives you a 360-degree guided tour of London’s famous recording studio, including sitting in on a session with the London Symphony Orchestra.
10 Vibble (iOS)
This is another DJ-ing app that promises to do the hard work for you: you create a playlist and then mix smoothly between songs by swiping your finger across the screen. It can use songs from your iTunes collection as well as SoundCloud.
11 White Label – Hip-Hop (Android / iOS)
If you’re looking for a concentrated burst of new hip-hop tracks, White Label is a great place to start. It mines SoundCloud for the freshest tunes, and serves them up as a playable chart. The same developer’s Wonder app focuses on indie.
12 Riff Racer (iOS)
This futuristic racing game has a clever twist: it creates its tracks based on songs in your collection, or (if you’re a subscriber) Apple Music playlists. This is more than a gimmick: you race in time to the music, to gripping effect.
13 Mimi Music (Android/iOS)
This new app is aimed at anybody who has hearing problems – including loss of frequencies if you’ve been to one too many gigs without earplugs. It measures your “earprint” and then tunes music specifically for the way you hear.
14 Loopimal (iOS)
In theory, this app is for children: a creative way to make music with colourful creatures who dance and play loops of audio. It works beautifully but is such fun that parents will find it hard to resist playing when the kids are in bed.
15 Shazam (Android/iOS/Windows)
This app has been downloaded more than a billion times so far, with its core use being to identify a song playing in the real world – whether on a TV soundtrack or in a club. Its newer features include recommendations and the ability to follow artists to see what they’re Shazaming.