Even if you’re not actively looking for it, the influence of mobile technology on our daily lives is obvious. Whether it’s an ad campaign for a next generation product, a scannable QR code on a flyer, or the person in front of you at the coffee shop scrolling through headlines on their smartphone, it’s hard to escape the ubiquity of cell phone usage. According to a 2013 poll by Pew Research Center, over 90% of adults in the U.S. now own cell phones, a vast increase from 65% in 2004. Of those phones, 56% are considered “smart,” which opens a whole new world of possibilities with just one word: apps.
As phones become increasingly indispensable, so too has the humble app. There are applications for nearly everything these days, from the mundane (email, navigation) to the niche (metal detectors, cuddle seekers in your local area), to the downright bizarre (Pimple Popper, a game where you, well, pop pimples for fun). When it comes to music, our first love here at Levitt, apps can help improve our listening experiences, allow us to create hooks or beats on the fly and expose us to new artists or genres that we might not have heard otherwise.
Just like when you’ve discovered an awesome song and you just have to tell the world, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite cool, lesser-known music apps to share with you! Whether they’re made for creation, discovery or organization, we hope one of these apps can add a little more music to your lives. Try them out, let us know what you think and happy downloading!
1. Beatwave (iOS) | Free
Even if you don’t have any musical experience, Beatwave makes it fast and easy to create fun, interesting and shareable tunes. Just pick one of the “instruments” (many with funky names like “Beplad” and “Mullet”), tap anywhere on Beatpad’s sound grid and you’ll have already started making your masterpiece! There’s also extra little settings to play around with, like a randomizer, mixer and tempo adjuster, that can help you perfect your sound. When you’re done, you can record your finished tune and share it with the world.
2. Soundhound (iOS, Android) | Free
Shazam is probably the most popular music identification app out there (with iOS 8, Apple’s latest software update, it’s now even integrated with Siri), but Soundhound goes the extra mile in that you don’t even need to be playing the actual song! Just sing or hum a 10 second excerpt and that should be enough for Soundhound to work its magic. Once it’s identified the tune, the app will bring you to a page where you can make an optional purchase.
3. Songza (iOS, Android) | Free
Like Spotify and Pandora, Songza’s purpose is to expose you to new music based on your likes and interests, but with a little twist. Rather than enter an artist or genre, you’re given activity-based options by default, and from there you can choose one of Songza’s many curated playlists. If that’s too adventurous for you, the traditional option of getting recommendations by artist/genre is still there, but first you should try venturing out and experiencing new music tailored towards what you’re doing.
4. WhoSampled (iOS, Android) | $2.99 on iOS, free on Android
This app is for all the music lovers who have heard a familiar beat or verse but just can’t quite figure out where they’ve heard it before. Like the eponymous website, the WhoSampled app catalogues music samples so you can always identify where a sound comes from, as well as the exact time stamps where it’s been used in other songs. In addition, the app also includes a database of covers, remixes, and other interesting musical connections that will lead you to new and familiar music discoveries alike.
5. Hook’d – Video Music Messaging (iOS) | Free
For the karaoke lover in your life, Hook’d is a “social music app” that allows you to record yourself free-styling or singing along to real hit tracks and then share your videos online. Thanks to partnerships with various record labels and integration with Google+/YouTube, it’s a fun (and legal!) way to swap covers and original pieces with friends. If you’re conscious about your voice, the app also features echo, reverb and pitch correction so you can always sound flawless, even without trying.
6. Listen: The Gesture Music Player (iOS) | Free
If you pride yourself on your music library but don’t like the iPhone’s native player, this one’s for you! In Listen, all your essential music player functions are still there, but they’re powered by your hand gestures and make browsing your collection simple and hassle-free. Once you’ve learned the intuitive swipe-based navigation, you won’t even have to look at your screen, which is perfect for the busy listener who is always on the go.
Don’t see your favorite music app? Let us know what we missed!