Google Play Music Alternatives: Free Local Music Players

Many users lost their access to Google Play Music from September 2020. Google started forcing them to install their new product YouTube Music to replace it. But this created a demand for free local music players.

No doubt music streaming platforms are growing day by day but there is still a high demand for offline music players. YouTube music does not allow that. You can’t play music from your storage.

From the official statements, I don’t see Google Music operating further beyond December 2020. As if we were not short of mishaps in 2020.

Why Do You Need Local Music Players When You Can Just Stream Online Music?

  • I have an exclusive and personal collection of music which consists of all my favorite tracks
  • It is not always feasible to stream online music everywhere and every time
  • Not everyone wants algorithms to decide their playlists

C’mon, even I use Spotify and YouTube for streaming online music.

But an offline music player is the most basic feature that comes with even the cheapest smartphones. You need not be forced to spend your Internet data to enjoy music.

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Moreover, streaming music is not always a feasible option. If you are someone like me who keeps traveling a lot, you probably got my point. Streaming online music burns out your battery as well as data.

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Another segment of users is where people prefer to enjoy the music on their devices. It is completely Ad-free and controlled locally with a personal collection.

I see too many reasons to keep an offline music player. For people like me, I have curated a list by personally testing several music players.

Some users might need the simplest player with no extra features while die-hard music enthusiasts might require an app that can be heavily customized.

[If you are really a music enthusiast, check out the Best Headphones for Audiophiles]

So, I am listing the apps based on their complexity, starting with the minimalist.


1. Simple Music Player

As the name suggests, Simple Music Player is way too simple. It is lacking some of the most common features that almost all of the competitors provide their users.

Equilizer is present but there is no option to set your frequencies. You just need to stick to their 10 modes.

Simple Music Player UI
App NameSimple Music Player
Approximate Size6.6 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes10
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksNo
Sorting Options3
Share/Delete MusicDelete only
Music HighlightingNo
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceNo

Highlights of Simple Music Player

  • None

Cons of Simple Music Player

  • Basic options like sharing music or setting ringtone are absent
  • It is the only app among the competitors that didn’t allow equalizer customization
  • The player keeps on appearing in the notification panel until we force to stop it
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Simple Music Player?

I won’t really recommend because it is literally the simplest app and not really justifying the size.


2. Shuttle

Shuttle is another simple and minimalist app but it has everything that a normal music listener needs.

The app is clean and smooth to use. UI seems good.

App NameShuttle
Approximate Size5.1 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes10 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksWhitelisting only
Sorting Options8
Share/Delete MusicShare only
Music HighlightingRecently Played, Most Frequently Played
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceYes

Highlights of Shuttle Music Player

  • Open source app
  • The app is smooth with a simple design and no complications
  • You can easily close the app by turning off the music from the notification panel

Cons of Shuttle Music Player

  • The UI is too simple but not very user friendly. You need to go to settings for every single option.
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Shuttle Music Player?

It’s a satisfactory app that you can use if you just want to listen to music. Don’t expect too much from it and it won’t ever disappoint you.


3. Default Music Player

As the name suggests, it is the default music player in many smartphones. My previous phone had this music player.

Honestly, this was the worst music player that I tested. It is full of Ads and crappy design.

Every time you scroll through your music library, it will keep on popping up a box that asks to try out a premium theme. That is seriously annoying.

It blew up my mind when it started playing a video Ad when I tapped to check the settings. Urgh!

Default Music Player
App NameDefault Music Player
Approximate Size16 MB
AdvertisementsYes
Equalizer Modes10 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksNo
Sorting Options4
Share/Delete MusicShare only
Music HighlightingRecently Played
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceNo

Highlights of Default Music Player

  • In-built sound recorder
  • Trim music to play a specific part or set as a ringtone
  • Driver mode
  • Sends push notifications with motivational quotes

Cons of Default Music Player

  • Too many annoying Ads at unwanted places
  • The player keeps on appearing in the notification panel until we force to stop it
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Default Music Player?

Not at all. It’s heavy and full of Ads. There are way too many better options available.


4. Vanilla Music Player

Vanilla music player might seem like an old website when you scroll through the app. The design is too basic.

But hold on! It is the lightest music player if we compare with other players in the list.

Vanilla Music Player
App NameVanilla Music Player
Approximate Size2.4 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes11 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksWhitelisting only
Sorting Options9
Share/Delete MusicShare Music, Delete Music
Music HighlightingNo
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceYes

Highlights of Vanilla Music Player

  • Accelerometer feature is very unique that allows you to control the player merely by shaking your smartphone
  • Easy one-click termination of the app from the notification panel

Cons of Vanilla Music Player

  • Can’t set ringtone from the player
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Vanilla Music Player?

If you are looking for a light-weight but a sufficient player for your needs then this is a great option to consider.


5. Oto Music Player

Oto Music is my favorite music player so far. After testing so many apps on the list, this feels like the most complete app that has adequate features that any normal user would require.

While researching for this list, one of my friends Sankket recommended this app and I am totally pleased by his recommendation.

Developer is Indian and Sanket’s classmate. That surely won’t make me biased for this app.
In fact, they don’t even know that their app is competing here with so many music players and winning with flying colors.

Fun Fact: This app is a rejected college project. Now it is standing with whopping 200k+ downloads. Great job Piyush Mamidwar and team!

Oto Music Player is one of the best local music players
App NameOto Music Player
Approximate Size5.3 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes10 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksYes
Sorting Options10
Share/Delete MusicShare Music, Delete Music
Music HighlightingRecently Played, Most Frequently Played
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceYes

Highlights of Oto Music Player

  • Allows you to add or edit lyrics to the music
  • Cleanest and most user-friendly UI
  • No Ads and no hidden premium upsells. This app totally earns from donations
  • Allows to filter music by the duration of tracks
  • Easy one-click termination of the app from the notification panel

Cons of Oto Music Player

  • Can’t set ringtone from the player
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Oto Music Player?

If you are a casual listener who needs a music player, I would strongly recommend this app. The way it is optimized with all the features is totally seamless.


6. BlackPlayer

BlackPlayer is indeed, a Black Player in terms of UI. Of course, light mode is present but the dark mode comes out with the complete blacked out UI and it looks cool to me.

I loved the number of music effects. But wait! That’s not the best part.

It allows you to associate functions on the buttons of the app as per your convenience. While using for the first time, the user gets to see some question marks that might confuse him.

Holding those icons of question marks for brief amount of time gives you an option to set the functions. That’s really cool.

BlackPlayer
App NameBlackPlayer Music Player
Approximate Size12 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes10 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksNo
Sorting Options15
Share/Delete MusicShare Music, Delete Music
Music HighlightingRecently Played, Most Frequently Played
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceYes

Highlights of BlackPlayer Music Player

  • The customization level is so high that you can associate functions with the buttons on the player
  • Allows you to add or edit lyrics to the music
  • Allows to take backups of music
  • The highest number of sorting options are available among the competitors
  • Many sound effects are available

Cons of BlackPlayer Music Player

  • Can’t set ringtone from the player
  • It would be great if this app allowed to blacklist or whitelist the songs as per the convenience
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use BlackPlayer Music Player?

This is an app that I would highly recommend if you are a casual listener but love to play along with the sound effects. Equalizer does a great job. Also, the UI is cool.


7. Pi Music Player

While exploring the Pi Music Player, my first impression was not-so-satisfying due to the poor UI and Ads.

As I started diving in, I found that it has a feature of an in-built YouTube App with PIP (picture-in-picture) mode. It allows you to play YouTube music while using any other app.

Pi Music Player
App NamePi Music Player
Approximate Size7.4 MB
AdvertisementsYes
Equalizer Modes6 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksWhitelisting only
Sorting Options4
Share/Delete MusicShare Music
Music HighlightingRecently Played, Most Frequently Played
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceNo

Highlights of Pi Music Player

  • In-built YouTube player
  • Allows to take backups of music
  • Allows to trim music for playing it separately or to set as a ringtone

Cons of Pi Music Player

  • UI is poor
  • Ads appear at the bottom but they don’t interfere with the overall player
  • Developers could focus on improving the number of sorting options and equalizers
  • It does not allow you to play YouTube videos of your choice
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use Pi Music Player?

I personally didn’t like the UI and Ads and probably never use this App as one of my local music players. But if you are someone who is looking for an inbuilt YouTube player with PIP (picture-in-picture) mode then this is a perfect app for you.


8. VLC Media Player

I know VLC Media Player is actually a video player but it also plays audio files. It even has some features that are really cool.

For instance, you can change the playback speed of a song to fast or slow. This is not present in any of the music players.

Apart from that, it has an AB Repeat feature that allows you to select a specific string in the song from A to B and play it on the repeat mode.

VLC Media Player: You won't need local music players if you have VLC Player
App NameVLC Media Player
Approximate Size27 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes19 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksNo
Sorting Options5
Share/Delete MusicNo
Music HighlightingNo
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceNo

Highlights of VLC Media Player

  • AB Repeat Mode allows you to select a specific string in the song from A to B and play it on the repeat mode
  • Playback speed can be adjusted
  • The highest number of customized frequencies in the equalizer
  • Local Video Player
  • Available for iOS

Cons of VLC Media Player

  • Most of the basic features are not available like sharing, deleting, or whitelisting the tracks
  • Terrible as a music player but does the job

Should you use VLC Media Player?

If you are already using VLC player as your local video player and don’t need many functionalities for audio then it can work out for you. Otherwise, this app makes no sense to install as a music player.


9. MX Player

“Pritesh, you are going out of track now. MX player is an OTT and local video player!”

Well, well, I know! But did you know it also supports a basic local music player? It is actually using Gaana App to support its music player.

If someone has MX player but needs a basic offline music player as an alternative to Google Play Music then MX player can also serve the purpose.

No doubt, it lacks too many features but it does the job. The user won’t need to install a 3rd party music player.

MX Player: You don't need to install local music players if you have MX Player
App NameMX Player
Approximate Size27 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer Modes10 + Custom Frequencies
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksWhitelisting
Sorting Options3
Share/Delete MusicSharing only
Music HighlightingRecently Added
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceNo

Highlights of MX Player

  • OTT Platform and Video Player
  • Available for iOS

Cons of MX Player

  • Doesn’t support the most basic features that almost all local music players support
  • The player keeps on appearing in the notification panel until we force to stop it

Should you use MX Player?

Again, if you already use MX Player and don’t listen to local music much then it’s good for you. Otherwise, it’s a bad choice to use MX Player for offline music on your device.


10. PowerAmp

Here comes the real music beast – PowerAmp. It is a full-fledged app meant for audiophiles, music enthusiasts, and geeks. This is one of the best local music players I have ever seen!

PowerAmp has literally every feature that you might ask for! Full of customization, it is the most full-fledged app among all the competitors in the list.

Most importantly, they have wrapped all the features in 7 MB. That’s seriously insane.

PowerAmp is the best local music players
App NamePowerAmp
Approximate Size7 MB
AdvertisementsNo
Equalizer ModesInfinity
Dark ModeYes
Whitelisting/Blacklisting TracksYes
Sorting Options16
Share/Delete MusicYes
Music HighlightingYes
Auto-start on connecting audio deviceYes

Highlights of PowerAmp

  • Most customizable among all the apps

Cons of PowerAmp

  • Too many features might confuse several users
  • Not available for iOS

Should you use PowerAmp?

If you are an audiophile who loves to play around with the music then this app is meant for you. I won’t really recommend normal listeners to use this app for two reasons.

First of all, it would be an insult for that app for not being used to its full potential. Secondly, a normal listener won’t really like the confusing features.


In case you are looking for some headphones or earphones, I have an amazing list of recommendations πŸ˜‰
Check out: Handpicked Gadgets by P2


So that was a complete list of best local music players that I tested out there!

But which music player should you choose as an alternative to Google Play Music? I know that’s a tough choice but I might help you out.

  • Shuttle – If you want an open-source offline music player
  • VLC or MX Player – If you don’t want to install any app in place of Google Play Music and occasionally need a basic music player
  • Oto Music Player – If you are looking for a minimalist yet powerful music player
  • PowerAmp – If you love heavy customizations

You can safely ignore other options unless you really need some specific feature.

Special thanks to Aashay Nandoskar for helping out with the list.

P2

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9 thoughts on “Google Play Music Alternatives: Free Local Music Players”

  1. The quality of songs in Amazon Music for Prime members is amazing. The user interface and flexibility is pathetic.

    Reply
  2. The quality of songs in Amazon Music freely available for its PRIME members, was the best I have experienced. The user interface and flexibility to use id the worst among the Apps I have used. Wynk was doing great till now, especially with regards to organizing songs, but since two-three months, they have issues with the shuffling, and many other issues. It’s not a bad service, but AirTel never listens. That’s bad. Saavn is useless now. It’s not flexible. The earlier Saavn was great. Gaana Plus is awesome, really.

    Reply

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