Photo by Carolyn Will.
Now that everyone’s in the loop with Spotify and Pandora, and has Shazamed enough songs to revamp their music libraries, it’s time to explore the next generation of mobile melodic magic. There are a handful of new music apps out there that move beyond mere streaming services, allowing users to fiddle, mix and match their personal tastes to the real world in a variety of non-conventional ways. Whether they are theoretical, practical, or elitist in discourse, each of these apps takes into account the main point of any good music tool – to help fans absorb and enjoy songs as efficiently as possible – with their own personal spins.
Here are our picks for some of the hottest new apps out for music lovers and aficionados of every breed. The best thing of all is that, like most everything on the Internet, they’re free.
MTV Music Meter
What is it? This app creates a daily list of emerging artists who are trending across the web, including audio samples, photos, recent tweets, news articles, and bios. It also offers search capabilities to track your own artists of interest.
Good for? Up-to-date news trends and music discovery.
Why so special? It’s all about the algorithms, baby. The app mines the great spans of the Internet, so you don’t have to constantly be scrolling sites or opening ten browsers at once to do your very important research. It’s also pretty surprising who ends up topping the scales.
What is it? This app automatically breaks down the lyrics to your song or songs of choice, adding scrolling text to your playlist. It comes equipped with artist bios, music recommendations, and allows you to share the lyrics and photos from albums with friends on your networks.
Good for? Theoretical exploration – those who like to know the inner workings of their favorite artists. Plus, we all know how everyone loves to quote lyrics on Facebook.
Why so special? Better to know for sure rather than embarrassing yourself by thinking you can rap every line in one of Busta Rhymes’ diatribes.
What is it? This app is an uber digital interpretation of the 1s and 2s. It enables you to pull songs from your phone, scratch, spin, and mix them, then pretend as if you were working a turntable.
Good for? Fucking around.
Why so special? Everyone wants to be a DJ, but most of us will never be good enough or try hard enough or venture out to buy the equipment to actually make it happen. This app is a mini-experience of the job, and even provides different scratch sounds for your moves – just like real vinyl!
What is it? A way to add music to Instagram photos so that it really does look and feel like your life is a movie. This app is all about sharing the music you’re listening to at any given moment with your friends and followers. Due to licensing restrictions, you can’t share the entire song, but you can pull a clip, plus the album artwork or your own photo, and post it to show to your audience. The social feed in the app allows you to see what others are listening to as well.
Good for? Music discovery, social communication, and general entertainment.
Why so special? It’s immediate; it keeps it all about the music; and who better to recommend new artists than those you choose to follow.
What is it? It’s the “Band Discovery App That Lets Music Find You,” according to the brand. This simple app pulls your location, and creates a running stream of shows in your area by the day. Toggle down the line to continue onto the next day. Click on artists you like, and you’ll find the details of their gig, links to all their networks, and even a sample stream of their music.
Good for? Keeping up with live shows in your area, and, particularly for those in big cities, finding new venues and artists to check out on stage.
Why so special? It’s simple, sleek, efficient, and since it’s nearly impossible to stay attuned to every artist rolling through your neighborhood, it does all the work for you.
What is it? Similar to Pandora, this app incorporates the old school with the new, and is the birth-child of Clear Channel Communications. It allows for users to not only listen to custom stations, created by preference for artist or music, but also live radio shows, aggregated from over 1,500 of the corporation’s terrestrial programming.
Good for? Straight up enjoying music and discovering new acts
Why so special? It keeps the spirit of radio alive by balancing real programming with user-generated experiences, allowing music lovers to have some say in the tunes coming through their stereos, but also get recommendations from tastemakers and algorithmic sources.