With the iPhone 4S now on the market, it’s hard to get away from all of the hype. The iPhone has been a game-changer from the very first release in 2007, with its extensive app market and now with its very own digital personal assistant, Siri. But believe it or not, there are some things Siri can’t help you with. Try asking her to tune your guitar, or find out the name of that new Mumford & Sons song that is always on the radio.
So what’s a musician to do? Luckily, the iPhone still has a ton of music-related apps that aren’t going anywhere.
Last week we discussed Bjork’s new album, which has been released with corresponding apps. Rihanna has her own version, with her Talk That Talk album released in Facebook app form, allowing fans to unlock pieces of the album by performing certain tasks. Now that apps are becoming the “next big thing,” we can’t wait to see what other creative uses artists will think up.
Even if you’re not releasing an album, there are tons of awesome iPhone Apps that will rock your music-loving world. Here are 5 that we think top the charts:
1. Pandora Radio
Pandora is the go-to streaming music app for a lot of mobile and web users. The service the app accesses uses advanced recommendation algorithms to play music for you that matches your tastes. It builds custom stations around your favorite artists, and those stations are refined as you give it feedback about which tracks and artists you love and which ones you hate.
The app is simple as can be; just type in the name of a song or artist, and music starts playing that’s either by that artist or someone Pandora’s algorithm deems similar. Enjoy the beats and melodies, and bookmark songs you like so you can buy them through download services.
One of the first music-making apps, Ocarina has hardly waned in popularity. It’s just what you would guess — a digital ocarina. You blow into the microphone as you would blow into the ocarina, and the touchscreen has dots in place of an ocarina’s holes. Additionally, Ocarina has a globe view that lets you see and listen to performances by other people who are using the app all over the world.
App developer Smule runs an online forum full of notation to help Ocarina fans figure out songs. The songs are mostly user-submitted and they cover a wide range of styles. However, because the ocarina instrument received a boost in popularity after it was featured in the very popular video game The Legend of Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, there are a bunch of video game songs to be found on the forum.
Shazam’s primary feature is its ability to recognize almost any popular song playing nearby. Just whip out your iPhone or iPod Touch and load up the app when you hear a song you like but don’t recognize, and Shazam will tell you what it is and provide you with information about where to buy it digitally. There’s also a chart of popular songs that will help you find great songs to listen to.
The app can launch Pandora’s streaming service, and it has an elaborate tagging system. You can share your tags with your friends on Twitt er or Facebook. The developer has launched two versions of Shazam. There’s a free version simply called Shazam, and there’s Shazam Encore, which supports unlimited tagging and a few additional features.
Price: Free or $5.99
4. Slacker Radio
Don’t trust computer recommendation algorithms to pick songs out for you? Slacker Radio is an online music streaming service that’s carefully curated by either music experts or other users. It also has artist-themed stations like Pandora does, but it goes about creating them in a completely different way. Download this app and you’ll have access to 2.4 million songs on 100 programmed stations and 10,000 artist stations. We think that’s a great deal at “free.”
5. Pocket Guitar
Pocket Guitar doesn’t have high-end professional features like BeatMaker, but it only costs a dollar — a perfect price for a fun toy. As with Ocarina, the name tells you what you need to know: This app is a pocket-sized guitar simulator. You can pluck and strum the virtual strings using your device’s touchscreen.
There is an impressive array of customization options for a $0.99 app. You can tune each string individually and activate and modify various effects. For example, you can set a delay by the millisecond between 100 milliseconds and 10 seconds, and adjust the level and feedback. You won’t be cranking out any top 40 rock records with this app, but it’s certainly fun.
The full top-10 list can be found at the tech blog My Life Scoop.
We the help of these apps, you have music tools at your fingertips at all times – and we hope the curiosity inspires more users to pick up an instrument, take music lessons, or start a career in the music biz. What apps are we missing? Let us know in the comment section!
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