Justin

Top 10 iPhone Apps for Musicians

It is increasingly rare to find someone who isn’t attached to a smartphone at the hip. Especially musicians. We love our gadgets! Aside from the addictive ability to check your email any time, browse the web, and play Angry Birds and Plants vs. Zombies, your smartphone also has a plethora of music making apps available. My addiction of choice is the iPhone, so I’m going to be covering the top 10 iPhone apps for musicians (sorry, Android users - feel free to chime in below with your picks). So, without further ado, here we go!

  1. Garageband (iPhone/iPad)
    What can be said about Garageband that hasn’t been said before? Available on Mac for ages, it is now available in the App Store (and downloading it nets you copies for any iOS device you own, including the iPad). Garageband is like a mini recording studio in your pocket. It allows you to record up to 8 different tracks per song, has some pretty excellent pre-recorded instruments, and also allows you to record your own audio directly using the iPhone’s decent mic. You can set reverb, echo, and volume for each track, and if you’re feeling silly, you can add some fun effects like “monster” and “robot”. Garageband is perfect for recording a quick demo to give out to the band when you’re trying out a new song, or even to just hear your own sound on a recording.

  2. Songwriter’s Pad (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    Songwriter’s Pad is a great on-the-go lyric writing tool, and it can also help you overcome any pesky writer’s block you might encounter. Along with a tool to write your lyrics and record your ideas on audio, Songwriter’s Pad has a suite of features to help inspire your writing. Have an emotion you’re trying to convey, but having a hard time putting it down in words? Use the Idea tool to input the emotion, and generate a host of words and phrases associated with it. It also has a rhyming dictionary, so if you’re having a tough time finding that perfect rhyme, you can just input your word, and the app will generate a bunch of suggestions for you. And it’s available on Android as well!

  3. ProChords (iPhone/iPad)
    ProChords is an excellent tool for when you’re sitting down to write a new song. Once you set the key you’re writing in and input your first chord, ProChords will display suggestions of possible chords you could follow with, along with star ratings for each chord. As you write your progression, the suggestions will continue to evolve and change. For musicians with a deep background in theory, this app may be unnecessary, but for someone like me it saves a lot of that initial time spent plunking around on the keyboard. The cost is a bit steep at $8.99, but I’ve found it to be worth every penny (and if you have an iPad, you don’t have to pay twice for the app - it will be available on both your devices).

  4. Cleartune - Chromatic Tuner (iPhone/iPad)
    This app’s title says it all. At $3.99, it is probably the cheapest tuner you will ever buy, and it is highly rated on the App Store. It includes both a chromatic tuner and a pitch pipe, and multiple display options. Since you likely already have your iPhone with you at your gig, you might as well use it to tune your instrument as well.

  5. iReal b (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    Think of iReal b like a fake book in your pocket. Using their forum, you can search for chord charts for 1,000s of songs by category. In addition, you can transpose the charts right on your phone, loop sections of the song, and export the charts to PDF or JPEG so you can print them out.

  6. Nanostudio (iPhone/iPad)
    Nanostudio is a comprehensive recording studio for your mobile device. Music tech geeks will probably go crazy over this one - a sequencer, sample trigger pads, and advanced mixing tools give you a lot of options in this pocket studio. You can also export your mixes directly to Soundcloud, which is pretty cool. For someone like me, Garageband is a better fit because of its simplicity, but if you have a little more knowledge and confidence around a soundboard, this will probably be a great app for you.

  7. Shazam (iPhone)
    Just heard a song on the radio and desperately want to cover it, but have no idea who wrote it, who’s performing it, or how to find out? Shazam has you covered. Using your microphone, Shazam will listen to the song and then search its database for all the information you need about the song. Isn’t technology amazing?

  8. Instagram/Facebook/Twitter (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    This one might seem a bit out of left field, but instagram is a pretty superb way to connect with your fans on a personal level. You can also set it up so it automatically posts your photos and captions to both Twitter and Facebook. Take some pictures of the band practicing, or of the crowd at your next concert, and start getting some followers on instagram! Twitter and Facebook aren’t specifically for musicians either, but they are both incredibly important tools for connecting with your fans. Both apps are free, easy to use, and allow you to post live about upcoming gigs or projects from wherever you are. So get those thumbs moving!

  9. Yelp (iPhone/iPad/Android)
    If you are on tour, Yelp is a pretty fantastic tool to find cheap places to eat and sleep. It can use the current location of your phone to search for hotels, restaurants, and pretty much any store you might need to find. It also comes with comprehensive user reviews to help you determine how divey a place really is.

  10. Reminders (iPhone/iPad)Seriously, Reminders is a life saving app for me. Now, every time I’m on the go and suddenly remember I need to follow up on a potential gig, instead of trying to remember to call when I have a chance and then certainly forgetting to do so, I quickly pop the reminder into my phone. I’m also pretty bad at forgetting important things at home, so setting a reminder to go off right before a gig with a list of all the gear I need to bring is super helpful.

Well, that rounds out my favourite music apps for the iPhone. What about you? Do you have any apps you can’t live without? Share in the comments below!

Posted by Justin on 09/12/2012 | 13 comments

Comments

Mount Fabric
Posted by Mount Fabric on Sep 12 2012 3:29 PM
Garageband on iPad is fantastic. I have an adapter so I can plug my electric guitar in - record a demo or an idea, upload it as a private track to SoundCloud and email the link to the rest of the band to listen to. I would add: SoundCloud - great for listening to music, but also mega simple for recording ideas through your phone's built in mic. Stick it in front of your acoustic, jam out an idea, then do the same as I said above for Garageband. Great stuff. iMaschine - awesome for tapping out beats on a touchscreen. You can open the projects and carry on working on them in Maschine if you have that too. iKaossilator - App version of Korg's Kaoassilator, but a hell of a lot cheaper. Really good fun. Animoog - Amazing sounding synth on the iPad, with an X/Y controller for messing with the parameters as you play.
D. Anson Brody
Posted by D. Anson Brody on Sep 13 2012 1:15 AM
www.mindmeister.com I found this site and their correlating iphone app and now I've always got a window open to it. It's really helpful. :)
Mayan Fox
Posted by Mayan Fox on Sep 13 2012 8:22 PM
I'm a techno dunce and need to smarten up so I'll be checking these all out. Thanks:)
Guilty Souls
Posted by Guilty Souls on Sep 14 2012 6:52 AM
I would add: DM1 - Drum machine iSequence Sunrizer Synth Magellan Synth Moog Filtatron
whiskeychild.com
Posted by whiskeychild.com on Sep 14 2012 7:59 PM
Wow these are great apps for all us songwriters! Thanks for posting Bandzoogle and I'm going to check out some of these for sure. -Trey www.HillsRolling.com
Raw Biz Fam Ent.
Posted by Raw Biz Fam Ent. on Sep 29 2012 5:51 PM
ProRemote is a GREAT APP!!! It controls protools right from your iphone and it also does a bunch of other stuff I can't even do but I just love the fact that I can go in the booth and start recording without a engineer to do it for me and it's as if I'm sitting in front of my iMAC computer!!! I can't stress how many times I've had a great idea with great feeling and passion behind that idea that needed to be recorded at that moment to capture that moment in its rawest form but I had to either write it down or do a quick audio of it on my phone and that's if I could even remember the idea by then, but guess what it was never the same as the exact moment the idea originally came about and ProRemote has solved that problem for me!! Also the App is expensive ($100) dollars but in my opinion it's worth every penny!!! Recording Engineers charge 50$ Dollars an hour at least so the return on your investment happens almost immediately!!!
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Rick Brown
Posted by Rick Brown on Nov 27 2013 4:44 AM
There are many more apps developed for iPhone that can work amazingly for not only recording, but also for editing and composing the music. iPhone Application Development iPhone App Programmer
Mobiers
Posted by Mobiers on Nov 27 2013 4:52 AM
There are many more apps developed for iPhone that can work amazingly for not only recording, but also for editing and composing the music. iPhone Application Development http://www.mobiers.com/services/iphone-development
jimmy parker
Posted by jimmy parker on Jan 15 2014 10:52 PM
Nice Post regarding great musician apps for iPhone.My favourite app is Songwriter’s Pad (iPhone/iPad/Android) It really helps you in writing your lyrics and record your ideas on audio. Great App
Cabrat
Posted by Cabrat on Feb 11 2014 9:38 AM
Try this one: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cadenza-tuner-+-metronome/id482745751?mt=8 esy to use and highly accurate
harsh raj
Posted by harsh raj on Feb 20 2014 12:57 AM
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Sophi
Posted by Sophi on Apr 2 2014 3:54 AM
I found it recently and love it. Highly recommend it if you need a good tuner and a metronome. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cadenza-tuner-+-metronome/id482745751?mt=8