The internet has changed plenty about how we consume media, but no art form has seen its distribution model impacted throughout the last thirty years more than music. By the early 1990s, most music listeners had switched to listening to their music through CDs instead of cassettes or vinyl, thanks to the improved clarity of sound and ease of use that came with both formats. From there, music changed formats every couple of years. In the late 1990s, IRC, Hotline, and Usenet were all capable of sending files of any kind over the web. Just a few years later, Napster allowed its users to upload and download their favorite songs as MP3s. Although song downloads over dial-up were relatively slow, the advent of Napster and its easy-to-use interface truly shook the industry to its core.
Throughout the next decade, the future of commercial music seemed dark. On the bright side, you had the iPod and iTunes completely revolutionize the market, charging just 99 cents for singles (later $1.29). The ease of access to a full market of MP3 downloads that made it easy to transfer to your iPod or other MP3 player helped keep the market from completely crashing. Outside of iTunes and other similar music offerings, things seemed to be getting worse. Limewire, alongside its alternative counterpart Frostwire, made it easy to download tracks like Napster before it, along with music videos and other collections that, while plagued by spam and poor download speeds, kept people from committing fully to an iTunes-only future.
Peer-2-peer also remained a problem, with the rise of The Pirate Bay, Kickass Torrents, and other similar clients that kept the RIAA on their toes, issuing legal warnings and alerts to users around the United States about their illegal file sharing habits. To say the least, the 2000s ended with the entire music industry looking beat up and in bad shape.
It wasn’t until the arrival of Spotify in July of 2011 that the music scene seemed to find the second coming of an iTunes-like service. Though plenty will argue against Spotify “saving” the industry in any fashion, the switch to a focus on music streaming and subscription services seems to have, at the very least, helped stop a massive amount of people from being pulled towards piracy in favor of using streaming services. Spotify has also done a great job converting free users to paying customers, with forty to fifty percent of users having made the move to paying for Spotify. Now, in 2020, nearly every company—Apple, Amazon, Google, and more—have made the move to focusing almost entirely on the streaming market over on-demand purchases.
But the free tier of Spotify is still relatively limited, especially when it comes to on-the-go listening. Though the app has improved in offering free users the ability to look for specific songs and artists without being locked into shuffle mode, it’s not perfect—especially when it comes to listening offline. Sometimes you want to ensure you always have that one special song on hand no matter where you are. That’s where something like a music downloader app on Android comes in handy. While you might not use it often, keeping today’s hits on your device ensure you’re always ready to listen to your favorite jams.
But since streaming apps have become the go-to apps for most music-lovers, what music downloader application should you turn to in 2020? It’s a good question—and luckily, we’ve ranked some of our favorite downloader apps in this guide to the essential music downloader applications for Android. From what apps look and feel the best when listening to music to the apps with the most features for saving to your phone, these are our favorite music downloaders on Android today.