Like any default app, the Music app on Windows Phone was designed to be simple and provide basic functions. “Basic” being the key word here, lots of users feel the need for a superior alternative that includes more advanced features be it for visual customization, playlist creation, lyrics support, sharing or other actions related to music playback.
Here’s a roundup of free alternatives to the default Windows Phone Music app – not necessarily selected for their popularity, although they all come with plenty of positive reviews in Windows Store) – , but more for the useful and sometimes unique features each of them has to offer.
MUSIC+ is a well established app that’s perfect for anyone who needs a music player offering cloud storage as well as offline playback capabilities. Also, the app comes with several themes to choose from – a very important feature for those who truly enjoy their eye candy apps.
It stores your music online using the MusicCloud service but you can also opt to download any of the tracks onto your phone for offline use. MUSIC+ is also a great music discovery tool, giving users access to explore top charts, featured artists and albums.
The app lets you create offline playlists, quickly access YouTube music videos, view song lyrics as well as share the songs you like with your friends. MUSIC+ is a multifaceted music player with a robust set of features that can please a large crowd.
- Allows you to search free ringtones for any song you like
- YouTube integration
- Cloud storage
- Unlimited downloads
Download MUSIC+ – Windows Store
This app is incredibly simple, yet far superior to the default Music app, and to lots of other music players available in Windows Store. You won’t get lots of fancy themes, online music discovery tools and other similar features.
What you do get is folder support – you can play music from a folder, but also manage your music folders easily. Think music player + folder manager combined. You can also create playlists using the music you have stored on your phone and/or SD card.
There’s not a lot of visual customization going on – you can go with the light or dark theme as well as enable the background image option (there are just a few of them available though) on top of the current theme and set its opacity.
I found xMusic Player to be quite enjoyable, since its very functional (love the folder support for playback and management!) despite the lack of online music discovery and sharing tools – which really don’t matter that much to me.
- Folder playback and management
- Provides all essential player controls: volume adjustment, seeking, backward/forward, shuffle, repeat
- Simple and intuitive playlist creation and editing
- Lyric search and management
Download xMusic Player – Windows Store
Random Music Player
Random Music Player makes a fine choice for when you’re on the go and have no time to tap through all the icons and options needed to actually get to listen to your music. You can launch it from the tile, by NFC tag and something you don’t usually get in a free app – by voice using the command “random music player”.
The developer wanted to make the app’s controls easy to use even if you have gloves on so the main playback controls are two incredibly large buttons – one for play/pause and another one for next. The app lets you shuffle through your all of your songs, a genre, an album, or an artist.
There’s very little to do in terms of visual personalization, in fact all you can do is either change the background color or use a background image for the app. Also, you can quickly access a selection of online videos featuring the current song as well as a list of suggestions for new albums that can be purchased online.
All in all, Random Music Player is pretty basic so it doesn’t make the best choice as a main music player but it’s so easy to get it up and running which makes it great to use while you’re jogging, working out, driving…etc.
- Can be launched via NFC tags and voice
- Simple controls perfect while you’re on the go
- Video suggestions for the currently selected song
- Suggests new albums that you can buy online
Download Random Music Player – Windows Store
BeatSync wants to give you all (or at least as much as possible) – if you simply like to listen to your stored music collection you can do that, but it would be a shame not to take advantage of the other features this app offers.
Just as expected from a music player, BeatSync can display your music organized by songs, artists or albums. You can also quickly add songs to the queue (a classic feature of desktop media players, incredibly useful even on a smartphone), and create as many playlists as you like.
The Search feature lets you find free online music via SoundCloud from your favorite artists which you can listen to straight away, add it to queue/playlist or download onto your phone. It can also play and sync music from OneDrive folders (you’d have to sign into your OneDrive account from the app to be able to do this).
There’s just a tiny problem with BeatSync – at least for those who value their privacy. The app asks for your location and if you’re not ok with this, the only choice you have left is not to install the app at all.
Other than this, I’d say this app has successfully managed to combine a music downloaded with a player offering users an incredibly simple and intuitive tool.
- Has a queue option
- Lets you create mixed queue/playlists with locally stored songs and SoundCloud streams
- Free, unlimited music downloads from SoundCloud
- OneDrive integration
Download BeatSync – Windows Store
PlayerNow is truly a Metro app: clean, simple and with easy to understand options with a focus on social sharing. If you’re the type that enjoys sharing music with your friends you’re going to love this one.
Besides all the essential traits of a music player – sorting music alphabetically, by albums, genres, artists and playlist creation, PlayerNow offers fast sharing options to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for songs, artists and albums. To use its sharing capabilities you must first connect to your social account(s) from within the app, and you’re good to go.
It has a well organized layout – that’s well appreciated by users judging from the app’s reviews – despite the complete lack of visual customization. However, it comes with Live Tile support – bonus points for functionality.
One thing, I’ve never seen in other music players is integration with MixRadio (Microsoft’s, formerly Nokia’s music streaming service). Since the player itself lacks online music discovery features it gives you those of MixRadio. Yes, there are some mixed reviews on MixRadio (pun intended!), but it still makes a great feature for those who actually use the service.
PlayerNow is a reliable and super easy to use music player that may not have a laundry list of features but it’s fast, comes with a comfortable layout and shows an elegant simplicity worthy of Windows Phone.
- Social sharing options for songs, albums and artists to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
- Library text search function
- LiveTile support
- MixRadio integration
Download PlayerNow – Windows Store
Are you using any of the music players listed above on your Windows Phone or maybe you’re relying on another freebie to get your daily music fix? We’re always excited to hear your opinion so leave us a comment in the section below.
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