We all know That Other Company has a pretty tight marketing grip on the digital music scene, and all that is cool, but your Hero, Droid or Nexus One is not only your best friend — it’s a killer music-playing device.
Here’s how to transform your Android-powered machine into an amazing MP3 player for you and your friends to enjoy.
1. Grab Your Music
First, you’re going to want to get your massive music collection onto your device. We’ve found great tutorials and step-by-step instructions all around the web for doing this. Here are some good links if you own a Droid, a Hero, a Nexus One, an Eris or a G1/Magic/Dream. If your device isn’t listed here, just do a quick web search for your device’s name and terms such as “get music library.” We road-tested the Droid instructions, and they worked like a charm.
Of course, if you can’t find your USB cable to connect your device to your computer, you can always try WebSharing File/Media Sync. For $2.99, this 4.5-star rated app lets users upload and download files, including music, between a mobile device and a computer through a WiFi connection.
2. Sync With iTunes (Optional)
If you’re already an iTunes user, and you don’t want the hassle of lurking through forums, migrating your library or dealing with DRM issues, we recommend you check out doubleTwist. This genius app, which is billed as “the cure for iPhone envy,” will let you port your iTunes library to any device. Cheeky, just like the app’s ad campaign.
Also, if you’re a really big iTunes junkie and don’t like the Android interface for music, check out bTunes Music Player. This app costs $1.49, is rated 4.5 stars on the five-star scale, and is in the 1,000-5,000 downloads range.
3. Download New Tunes For Free
There are quite a few apps on the Android Market for getting new tunes without visiting the Amazon music store. Music Junk is a popular title with a 4-star rating and between 10,000 and 50,000 downloads to date. This app allows users to search, download and store any song for free.
You could also use TubeDroid, a $1.99, 4.5-star app, to download YouTube videos (or just the audio alone) to your media library.
Of course, use these apps at your own risk — downloading free music from sites in search results and YouTube can be a legal gray area in terms of copyright.
If discovery is your middle name, and you’re into finding new music from indie and underground scenes around the world, you might want to check out New Music Junky. For £2.50 (that’s $3.84), users can get music from unsigned artists “before DJs even get it,” as the creators claim. They also offer to e-mail tracks if needed.
4. Stream Audio
Of course, Pandora for Android is free, popular, and highly rated in the Android Market. Pandora users will have access to their usual stations. PlayMe is another free, streaming solution with a library of three million tracks, all on-demand.
If you don’t mind paying for your streaming media, StreamFurious for $5.99 ranks high on many lists. This app is great if you’re looking for a lightweight app to stream radio content, from music, to ESPN, to NPR and more. DroidLive, a popular 4.5-star app, costs $3.99 and streams music and online radio in a plethora of formats, with great search and tagging capabilities built in as well.
5. Get the Right Peripherals
Whether you’re listening alone or with friends, you want the best sound you can get. Essentially, any 3.5mm jack should work with your device (G1 owners will also need a USB to stereo adapter). From iPod earbuds to top-of-the-line audio docks, you’ve got a wide range of options.
For personal listening, we’ve heard great things about Bang & Olufsen Earphones, which are reputed to be of excellent quality as well as comfortable and stylish. And we’ve always had a soft spot for Skull Candy’s vibrant line of headgear, which includes earbuds and headphones.
When it comes to sharing music with others, you could go for Bose quality for less than $100 with a pair of handsome graphite speakers. If you’re going for something more compact, we love this Altec Lansing speaker.
6. Customize Your Tunes for Your Lifestyle
Want to turn a snippet of one of those tunes into a ringtone? Try RingDroid. It lets you edit your favorite songs or record your own sounds to create custom ringtones right from your phone.
And if you hate waking up to an annoying alarm sound, you’ve got to try the 4 star-rated Playlist Alarm. You can create multiple custom playlists from your device’s library of tunes and wake up in delight every morning… or afternoon, whatever. If insomnia is your problem, you could also try MusicSleep, a $1.59, 5-star app that lets you set a timer and listen to your tunes as you drift into slumber.
Those are a few tips, tricks and apps we can recommend for putting all your iClone friends to shame. Android owners, what are your favorite music apps in the Market? Let us know in the comments.
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