The Six Best Developments In Music Apps
(For a complete list of 54th GRAMMY Awards nominees, click here.)
The last year in music and Web technology saw rapid development with regard to new ways to listen to, discover and share music across multiple devices, with multiple people. As your GRAMMY.com Community Tech Blogger, I'm here to offer you a road map to the most intriguing and promising music apps for your desktop or mobile device.
Spotify entered the United States market with much fanfare. The application consists of a music-streaming service you can listen to via a desktop computer or mobile device. The best part? All streaming music is DRM-free, so you can listen legally and guilt-free.
Turntable.fm is a fun application that launched last year. A Web environment allowing users to act as a DJ with friends, I think of Turntable.fm as a Second Life for music heads. Voting, avatars and a points system keeps users engaged if they're playing music with friends or strangers. Turtable.fm is where I'm most likely to discover new music, either through a DJ room or by following DJs I enjoy.
Last.fm was my first music app love. I love being able to scrobble to Last.fm via their desktop app and the Last.fm app on Spotify. Last.fm keeps track of the music data to my heart, and now it's even easier to access on Spotify's new app platform.
SoundTracking's mobile app reminds me of a cross between the Instagram photo sharing app and the Music Is Life Is Music app launched for the 53rd Annual GRAMMY Awards in 2011. Users are prompted to create a soundtrack for their life by searching a database for a track, adding a photo, location or a comment and posting to their feed.
Pandora is still one of my favorite apps. My Pandora stations are well-pruned to my listening tastes and Pandora is still the best predictor of the tracks I'd like to listen to next. My favorite development from the Pandora camp in the last year was the removal of the 40-hour per month listening limit on free user accounts; the limit has been increased to 320 hours per month, which is very generous.
iTunes is still in the game with the launch of their new subscription service iTunesMatch. Instead of having to choose which songs to take with you on your iOS device, users can now upload all of their music to an iCloud account where they can retrieve their entire music library "in the cloud." I like the idea of iTunes Match because I am one of those people who still carries around a 160 GB iPod Classic.
Google Music is a similar app, allowing the storage of 20,000 songs for free.
There are many more music apps out there, with new apps and new features popping up every week. While several of them are promising, none of them seem to eliminate others from my regular digital rotation. I love iTunes because I can repeat a song for five hours; Spotify is great for getting to know an artist's catalog; Pandora is my favorite for setting the best mood by playing my favorite songs; and Turntable.fm is fun for active music discovery and listening. I encourage you to try these apps for yourself and find out which ones you enjoy most!