Ask Flo: Alternatives to Google Play Music
With the demise of Google Play Music on the horizon, some of you have written in asking for help finding either a replacement app for the music streaming service or something that can playback your already carefully-curated music library. (To which I say: good for you because I’ve nothing in the way of a “physical” music library save for a stack of hard drives from my last computer build.)
I went searching for an app that could facilitate the kind of algorithm magic that Google Play Music is so well known for, but I hit a wall finding anything that wasn’t dubious. (I don’t like to suggest any app that’s below four stars unless it’s a one-off or the comments are full of niche complainers whining about the developer.) I don’t know that there’s anything free out there that can offer you the same kind of “feel my mood” playlist on a whim. But I did find a pretty fantastic, feature-filled mp3 player. There are some caveats to it, though. It’s absolutely not a replacement for Google Play Music, but it might help some of you with physical libraries manage in between transitioning music services.Update: I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t see Pulsar in the Play Store before I wrote this! The app has Google Cast and Android Auto support, which are two essential features Muzio Player does not have.
Annoyingly, it isn’t labeled accordingly in the Play Store. The app is called Muzio Player, but you’ll find it under “Music Player – MP3 Player,” as the developers clearly attempted some search engine magic here by using keywords. Whatever. The app is visually stunning. I like it more than what’s left of Google Play Music, and so much more than Spotify, which is a Plain Jane in comparison. You can choose between included themes in the app, but when you play a song, the background will sync to the color palette of the album art.
Besides being a looker, Muzio Player supports a wide range of file formats, including MP3, MP4, WAV, M4A, FLAC, and 3GP. There’s a sleep timer to help you doze off at night and an easy-to-use built-in ringtone maker. There’s included support for Last.FM’s Scrobbler support, Bluetooth-headsets, and Wear OS. There’s also a Drive mode to simplify controls when you’re behind the wheel, and a Lockscreen mode to make it easy to shuffle without unlocking your phone. Music buffs will like the navigable equalizer. It’s off by default, but it works wonders on phones with excellent audio support, like the LG V60.
For those who rely on playlists to get going, Muzio offers automatic playlists for top played and recently played tracks. Alternatively, you can add songs to a queue and take it from there, or start a shuffle session of your entire music library directly from the Home screen with a widget or long-press of the app icon. The app is typically covered in advertising, but you can pay $5 to unlock all features, including crossfade support. And if you’re especially particular about your music library, there’s a tag editor and ability to use high-resolution album art.
Again, I realize this isn’t an apples-to-apples replacement for Google Play Music. But if you have a giant mp3 library and want help sorting it akin to the way Play Music did/does, for the time being, you might like what Muzio Music Player has to offer.
Click through to download the app from the Google Play Store.