Favorite Music Apps, #3

iphone-apps

By Caleb Hsu

The technology-driven world in which we live requires that we stay up to date with the latest software versions and firmware updates, constantly enduring monotonous download and installation times. Though doing so undoubtedly demands unwavering patience and requires a little research, the end result is definitely worth the payoff. As Thomas Edison once put so poignantly, “The value of an idea lies in using it.” So, we urge you to explore what’s out there and find out for yourself why we love discovering new apps that change the way you interact with music and engage in social media. Below are some of our newest favorite apps that stood out as noteworthy and worth giving a try.

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All of the following reviews are solely opinion-based and none of the products were endorsed in any way. Click on the name of each app to find out what it does:

iTunes Radio
What it does: We’re super excited for Apple’s launch of iOS 7 this Fall, which will be including the all-new iTunes Radio. iTunes Radio is “a streaming radio with the best selection of music that builds and brings together stations you’ll love,” according to Apple’s recent press release. It will feature 200+ stations that will evolve based on the music you play, not unlike Pandora’s radio app. However, Apple integrated some fresh new features you won’t find in most current radio apps, such as the ability to use Siri, hear exclusive pre-release tracks, and listen completely ad-free (finally!).

For: iPhone (4S and beyond for the Siri integration), iPad, iPod Touch, iMac, Apple TV
www.apple.com/itunes/itunes-radio/ (Free!)

Rdio
What it does: Rdio is an on-demand cloud-based jukebox of sorts. If you have an eye for visual detail, this is the music listening app for you. Though the free version unfortunately limits your use after an initial 14-day trial, Rdio is one of the most exquisitely designed mobile radio app we’ve tested. Beautiful album artwork displays, smart customizable playlist views, and a sophisticated minimalist menu system all contribute to making the user experience uniquely grand. If you’re bored with the music on your phone, give this app a try and we guarantee you won’t be disappointed with Rdio’s constantly-growing 20 million track library!

For: iOS devices, Sonos, Roku, Android devices, Windows Phones & BlackBerry devices
rdio.com (Free unlimited streaming 14-day trial, followed by limited music downloads. Optional monthly subscription plans offered.)

Songza
What it does: We’ve included this app in a previous review, but its recent upgrades warrant another inclusion in our current favorites list. Basically, you pick a mood, choose a word, or select a preset playlist and watch as Songza delicately crafts the perfect mix instantly. Discovering new bands and hidden emerging artists on this app is a breeze. The new user interface is brilliantly designed to enable easy access to all of your favorites, including one-touch sharing options to Facebook, Twitter, and even email. If that doesn’t convince you, the last two shining features will – it’s 100% free and only uses only the highest fidelity audio provided by Audyssey (creator of the previously reviewed Amp Media Player).

For: Android/iPhone/iPad
iTunes App Store (Free!)
Googe Play(Free!)

Berkleemusic
What it does: Berkleemusic brings Berklee’s illustrious faculty and curriculum right to your mobile device. Watch hours of free video lessons and tutorials ranging from music production to jazz composition and reharmonization techniques. Also discover vital tips from industry professionals and faculty blogs, as well as catch up on the latest news and online events that you can attend from anywhere in the world. Whether you’re a seasoned veteran or a developing musician, aspiring performer/producer, or just a fan – there’s something in this app for you.

For: iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad (all require iOS 5.0 versions or later)
iTunes App Store (Free!)

Twitter #Music
What it does: Twitter #Music is more of a service than an app, however, the idea behind it is what’s most promising. The app consists of four floating sections with vertically-tiled playlists that include music trending from Twitter. It analyses global popularity and ‘#NowPlaying’ trends from the website and transfers them into a search engine. Though currently you have to utilize either Spotify or Rdio (see above) integrations to play full-length songs, Twitter promises to partner with other music services and hopefully enable independent embedded playback. Nevertheless, perusing through the “Emerging” artists section is an interesting experience, displaying hidden talent discovered through what you and others post to Twitter. We recommend keeping an eye out for this app to be updated and improved!

For: iPhone 3GS and beyond, iPod touch 3rd generation and later, and iPad (all require iOS 6.0 or later)
iTunes App Store (Free!)

Shazam
What it does: Shazam instantly recognizes music and media playing around you. Once it’s located the artist/album information, you can proceed to purchase the track, watch associated YouTube videos, share tags with friends, or even use LyricPlay to sing along. You can also explore what’s popular around the world with an interactive map feature. Music and life in general is about discovery, and this app makes finding new songs easier than ever.

For: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (iOS 6.0 or later) & Android devices
iTunes App Store (Free!)
Google Play (Free!)

Have you discovered any great apps? Feel free to email thegroove@berklee.edu or comment below letting us know!