Appwatch - Five addictive apps for musos

Whether you like to create the beats or simply enjoy them, these apps are for you

Shazam by Shazam Entertainment Limited for Blackberry and iPhone – FREE

It can be incredibly frustrating hearing music you like and want to buy, yet having no clue what the track is called or who the artist is; this is what the Shazam app was developed for.

It works by holding your phone’s microphone up to the device from where the music is playing, Shazam then identifies the tune and tells you what it is.

Shazam provides information about the music you’ve identified, song and album reviews as well as the lyrics to the song and a bio of the artist themselves.

The app has a YouTube feature which let’s you watch the specific song’s film clip but you can also watch related music videos as well.

It has jumped on the social networking bandwagon with a Twitter function that enables you to tweet artist and song information to your friends and followers, and also a Facebook feature where you can do the same.

Pros: Finding out song information immediately is handy and great for music fiends who like to discover new tunes.

Cons: There is a five tag limit per month, after which you need to pay for them. Also, the app is free for both phones for a trial period after which you must pay to keep using it.

7digital Music Store by DevelopIQ for Blackberry

The aim of the app is to help the user browse music chart information, preview songs and download music to Blackberry.

It has an extensive catalogue of music which is added to and updated weekly in addition to a MP3 music store.

Music can be downloaded via WiFi and there is an integrated media player with Last.fm scrobbling, and support for headset, speaker and Bluetooth audio streaming.

Downloads can be accessed via your computer and used in any media player such as iTunes.

Pros: The app has the ability to preview the song before buying to save unwanted spending, and the accessibility of the music is instant.

Cons: It becomes costly to listen to a song that could essentially be listened to on a radio. The interface could also be sleeker.

Pandora Radio by Pandora Media Inc for Blackberry or iPhone – FREE

Pandora turns your phone into a personalised radio that plays the specific genre of music you enjoy.

How it does this exactly, is by the user entering a particular tune which Pandora then uses to create a station that pumps that style of music.

It can play current songs as well as old favourites while taking the liberty to introduce you to fresh material you may like but haven’t heard.

As songs play, users can rate them and from this, Pandora will pick up on your taste and listen to your feedback when creating your personal radio playlist.

Pros: It plays any style of music you want, including hip-hop, jazz, country, classical, Latin, rock, dance, pop. Also, it can potentially save you money because instead of paying to download the song you can listen for free.

Cons: It can, at times, be slow – taking its time to load.

Guitar Toolkit by Agile Partners for iPhone

This is an app for musician types, who enjoy strumming a tune, or are keen to learn.

It has an accurate tuner and a collection of over 500,000 chords which, with this app, are now all accessible via your phone.

It has a support feature to look after 6 – and 12-string guitar, 4-, 5- and 6-string bass, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele with a chord library and standard tuning for each instrument to help you.

The chromatic tuner works using your phone’s microphone and the metronome, which includes a tempo tap pad, flash option, 13 sound effects and 12 time signatures, is pretty accurate.

The chord finder feature works so that users just have to touch the fretboard that make up a chord then the chord function will then identify that chord and tell you what it is, which is a plus while learning.

Pros: Supports ‘lefty mode,’ so it adjusts the chords and scales for those who are left-handed which is extremely useful, obviously for those who are lefties. Also, the tuner is precise and such a valuable tool, especially to have on your phone.

Cons: It’s a slightly pricey application.

BeatMaker by INTUA for iPhone

This app turns your phone into a mobile music-making studio for both beginners and the more experienced.

It has a stack of features including, 16 sample-based trigger pads with multi-touch support, low latency playback, live pattern recording and arranging, audio recording from a microphone or headset and multi-track song sequencer – to arrange your patterns into songs.

It enables users to create unlimited patterns, export songs to audio file (WAV) and share them with friends, and it has an original sound library with genres including, drum and bass, dub, electronica, funk, hip-hop, jazz and rock.

It has the ability to share networks, it has two effect channels with four channels each, synchronised delays with feedback and wet-mix control, a three-band equaliser, Lowpass, Hi-pass and Bandpass filters, a ‘bitcrusher and a transport toolbar to simplify playback.

The app enables users to control volume, pan, semi-tone, and octave, fade in/out, and also the velocity and pitch. It has output channel selection (main out, FX 1, FX 2), and a controller for manipulation.

Pros: The features all work really well and having a function that allows you to make music on your phone without all the extra gear will be invaluable.

Cons: The price is up there.

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