Essential Music Apps
The perks of having a smartphone are amazing. The ability to record music has never been cheaper or easier. Plenty of iPhone apps make music interactive and fun. No longer do you have to rely on your iTunes library for music. This is an app guide for the smartphone user who listens to and creates music for their lives.
I am T-Pain 2.0
Auto-tune seems to be the popular device used in pop music now. I am T-Pain 2.0 is a music app created by Smule and promoted by R'n'B artist T-Pain. It's a nifty app that auto-tunes your voice. There are two ways to do this. You can plug in a microphone and sing while it auto-tunes, or you can record a live song and it auto-tunes after the song has finished. It uses the "T-Pain effect", which is the same audio enhancement that T-Pain uses himself.
There are plenty of settings to tweak auto-tune to your desires. You can switch from just audio to video as well. Purchasing official T-Pain beats from his songs also gives you a karaoke experience.
"T-Pain World" is a social networking function built into the app. It lets you listen to songs recorded by other people who've used I am T-Pain 2.0. These can be filtered to certain regions, and you can comment and like their song if you see fit.
This app is extremely fun and a fantastic party app to show to your friends. It taps into a big community that spans across the globe. You can manage your songs online by signing up with your email. At $2.99, it's one of the best and most unique music apps you'll come across. Everyone should get this app immediately (unless you're anti-auto-tune).
5 out of 5.
Just Dance 3
This silly app captures the boredom of life and remixes it into an insane music video. Its easy to use interface lets you to capture four separate three-second clips. Once you're done there's a choice of three songs to use: "Barbara Streisand" by Duck Sauce, "Apache (Jump On It)" by The Sugarhill Gang, and "Jamaican Dance" by Konshens.
Once that's done, there's an enjoyable animation of a figure shuffling backwards as you wait for the video to compress. The overall video is about 40 seconds long, but it's seriously hilarious. The music syncs perfectly with your movements in the four video samples you've recorded. Afterwards, you can share it on Facebook.
This app is absolutely free and fun to mess around with when you're bored. The only letdowns are that you can't use your phone's front-facing cameras, and also you can only use the three sample songs mentioned. Other than that, you should indeed check this app out.
4 out of 5.
Ever wanted to know what that song on the radio is? Who sings that particular line? Sound Hound has your answer to this question. Using voice recognition, this swift app identifies what song it is and who sings it. There's various ways to go about it: type in the song title, artist or a line of the lyrics, or make Sound Hound listen to the song directly.
After it identifies the song, Sound Hound lists the official version and other versions if they exist. You can also find out which songs are being tweeted the most from Sound Hound, and connect to Facebook and Twitter. There's also a hefty amount of settings if you want to be really picky. A big plus is that it keeps a history of the songs you've identified.
Sound Hound is accurate at times, but only for mainstream songs. Sometimes it doesn't even recognise the most commercially successful songs. You're better off doing a Google search for the song title or artist. You can upgrade to get additional privileges, but there's really no point. Sound Hound is a free download, so try it if you must, but chances are you'll use it once and forget about it after that.
2 out of 5.
It seems everyone wants to be a DJ these days. Tap DJ gives you the power to combine and remix songs on your phone. Select songs from your own iTunes library, then use two spinners so you can play two songs at the same time. It also provides a variety of sample tracks or recordings you can use, and you can even scour popular tracks and find a mix that inspires you.
One of the cool things about Tap DJ is that it makes use of touch compatibility. This means you can rewind or fast-forward a track by "scratching" the on-screen spinner. For the more advanced users, you can apply equalisers and also cue points. To be honest, the most fun I have is fast-forwarding the songs so they have a chipmunk voice.
The big downfall is that the iPhone screen is small and does make things difficult. Maybe this app would be better fitted to an iPad.
Tap DJ is cheap at only $0.99, so if you want to learn the basics of mixing music without all the big confusing buttons, get this app.
3 out of 5.
Free or $0.99 with bonus features
Relive the old-school days of portable radios and Walkmans. TuneIn Radio provides easy connection to radio stations across Victoria. Browse the various mainstream stations like Nova or Triple J or community radio stations like SYN FM. You are also able to add your own custom URL if it isn't shown on the list.
A great thing about this app is that it tracks is your usage from your internet, your phone and your wifi so you know exactly how much data you're using. The usage counter can be reset at any time. There's also options to set an alarm and you can use sleep timers so you make sure you don't waste data if you doze off.
TuneIn Radio is a fantastic addition to your iPhone. There's a car mode which, when plugged in, will play the radio through your speakers.
TuneIn Radio is free with an option to upgrade for more features. It's definitely a great little app for radio lovers who are always out and about. No problems here.
5 out of 5.
Some Music App Advice
Finally, here are some things to consider and watch out for when buying music apps:
- A lot of the free music apps require you to upgrade for either ad-free or the full version.
- If you can wait, a lot of the apps priced over $1.99 go on sale regularly.
- Read the reviews and star ratings carefully if you are unsure about an unpopular or unfamiliar music app.
For more app, game and website reviews, check out our Reviews Archive.