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Software

Best music and audio apps for Android

Whether you're itching to hear a specific song or you want to sit back and let the app do the programming, we've got the music and audio apps for you.

Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

DoubleTwist (free)
If there is an adequate iTunes-like music player available on Android, DoubleTwist is it. It is an incredibly simple app that lets you keep your personal collection organized, sync to your desktop, subscribe to podcasts, and even listen to live radio. It can also function as a video player, though it is unquestionably best for listening to tunes.

One of DoubleTwist's most important features, AirSync, lets you wirelessly sync your Android music collection with your desktop PC. This feature is only available as a $4.99 upgrade, but considering the convenience it offers, it is well worth it. Another option is the $9.99 DoubleTwist Pro upgrade, which comes with AirSync, plus it gives you a graphic equalizer, useful album art fetcher, and other features. For audiophiles who are serious about their collections, Pro is certainly worth considering.

Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

iHeartRadio (free)
Think of iHeartRadio as a sort of Pandora-TuneIn-Radio hybrid. It lets you stream live radio from more than 1,500 stations around the country and create custom stations based on a song or artist. And did I mention that the custom stations are all ad-free? Just sign in with an e-mail address or Facebook account to get started.

Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Shazam (free | $5.59)
This pick doesn't stream music the way the others on our list do, but it is still a valuable audio app nonetheless. If you're having trouble identifying a song that you hear, let Shazam have a "listen" and wait as the app spits out a song and artist. In addition, Shazam will give you other relevant data like an artist bio, discography, album information, and links to YouTube videos. There's even a feature that displays lyrics in real time as the song is playing. While the competition among name-that-tune apps is certainly stiff, Shazam sets itself apart with its beautiful interface and exceptionally user-friendly design. It's available for free or as a paid, ad-free version.

Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Slacker Radio (free)
At first glance, Slacker Radio might seem like another Pandora wannabe, with its ability to algorithmically generate playlists and its rating system for improving stations. But upon further inspection, it is easy to see that this streaming-music service has a much broader skill set than its competitors. Slacker offers one of the most impressive collections of curated stations I've seen. Plus, there are ESPN stations, talk radio, comedy albums, and more. The new My Vibe feature is also great, as it tries to match a playlist to your current mood or activity. If that's not enough, paying subscribers even get to listen to songs and albums on demand, just like on Spotify.

Screenshot by Jaymar Cabebe/CNET

Songza (free)
Songza is a Google Play Editors' Choice app that offers a different take on the type of programmed radio experience that Pandora initially made popular. Rather than generate playlists based on specific songs or artists, this app tries to offer up the right selection of tunes for specific activities you might be engaged in.

When you open up Songza, its Concierge feature automatically generates six playlist recommendations based on the current time and day of the week. Sometimes one of these will be right on the money, but if not, you can easily browse through playlist options based on activities, moods, and other criteria. In the end, whether you're looking for mellow tracks to help you unwind on your commute home or high-octane drumbeats for powerlifting at the gym, Songza should have the right playlist for you.