The holiday season is officially over and one gadget that seemed to be on top of the world’s holiday list was the iPad. Rightfully so; after the operating system update in November this device got even cooler. So you got your new iPad and you’re ready to download some apps to assist your music career but once you’re in the app store it can be slightly overwhelming. That’s where I come in. Here are the best apps to help advance your career as a musician.
15 Must-Have iPad Music Apps for the Professional Musician
StudioTrack is an incredible multi-track recording app that makes use of the built-in microphone and works with headphones. This is a step up from FourTrack, which we’ve featured before, now allowing you to record on eight different tracks while adding multiple effects to each track. With the WiFi sync you can download the finished product to your computer or upload it to the recording software on your computer to keep working. The price tag is definitely more than the average app but having a studio with you wherever you are is damn near priceless.
The Korg iElectribe has been praised as one of the best apps for electro-musicians since its release. It harnesses the same power as the Korg Electribe-R hardware for a whole lot less money. The “virtual analog beatbox” has too many features to name so I’d suggest you watch the video above to see it in action.
More recently released is the Korg iMS-20 which has a lot of notable features including the ability to route patch cables using the the iPad’s touch screen. Both apps compare incredibly well to the original, non-virtual hardware they’re based after.
iElectribe Price: $9.99
iMS-20 Price: $15.99 until January 31, 2011 (originally $32.99)
The miniSynth for the iPhone was been nominated twice for the “Best App Ever Awards” and the iPad app is no different except it provides a lot more room to make some killer songs with the 9.7″ screen. MiniSynth PRO boasts “an innovative, completely brand-new engine, a redesigned filter and a no-nonsense interface, miniSynth PRO invites those rich, shimmeringly clear analog tones to your fingertips.” miniSynth PRO even has the power to be played live and if you don’t believe me just ask SnazzyJay:
As a musician on-the-go there should be two things you carry with you everywhere you go: your guitar and your iPad. Using the iRig adapter you can hook your guitar up to your iPad and immediately have access to a handful of stompbox effects, a lead amp with full controls, a speaker cabinet, and two microphones. Upgrade to the full version for 11 stompboxes, 5 amps and cabinets and a bunch of effects.
Price: FREE – upgrade: $19.99 – iRig: $39.99
SyncSing HD brings to musicians a mobile (and syncable) songbook and notation book. Add lyrics, chords, audio or video files and then sync your songbook with the web for the rest of your band to view. Does everyone in the band have their own iPad? Designate one as the master device and that person can turn the pages on all of the iPads simultaneously. This is a great app for writing down your music but is also useful for sharing with the rest of the group.
Have you ever had an idea for the perfect melody or the hook that will complete your near-perfect song but by the time you can actually record it you’ve forgotten it? Avoid the heartbreak and download QuickVoice Recorder. With one touch you’ll be recording your brilliant ideas into an easily organizable folder.
Evernote turns your iPad into the ultimate notebook. Create notes with text, audio, and photos in order to keep track of ideas, brainstorm new songs or just to remember some of the great memories from your most recent tour. Your notes can include geo-location so you know exactly where you were when you had that brilliant idea or what city your favorite venues were in. Best of all, Evernote syncs with your Mac or PC as well as most smart phones so you don’t need to transfer files or email notes to yourself.
It seems like no one carries cash on them anymore, so aren’t you shooting yourself in the foot by not accepting credit at your merch booth after a show? Problem solved. Square gives you the app and card reader for free and you’re accepting credit cards before you know it. Swipe the card, have your customer sign the touch screen and give them a receipt via email or SMS. It’s that easy! So remind me again why you aren’t accepting credit cards at your merch booth?
When it comes to merch, one aspect that most artists will overlook is inventory. Not only is it important to keep track of how many items you’ve sold and when it’s time to reorder but it’s also important to keep track of what type of merch (and how much) you sold in each city on your last tour in order to plan for your next tour. The only thing worse than not having enough t-shirts to get you through the end of your tour is having hundreds leftover.
There’s no better time to collect fan information then after a show. Grab their contact info so you can keep them up to date on your latest releases, shows, etc. The ReverbNation app links to your RN account and automatically updates your existing mailing list (In addition to a lot of other cool features).
Mailing List is for those of you without a ReverbNation account or those of you looking for a more visually appealing way to collect information. Mailing List displays a slideshow of pictures followed by a prompt to enter contact information.
ReverbNation Control Room: $4.99
Mailing List: $14.99
11. Yelp – Yelp
Yelp is the popular location-based food finder that’s now available on the iPad and it serves two very important purposes for musicians. First of all, you can use it to find places to play music in your area (or the area you’re currently in on tour) and you can use it to help you plan your next tour. Secondly, once you are on tour you can use it to find the nearest pizza place or alcohol-serving establishment depending on your mood.
JamBase is another useful app for artists that are planning a tour. Find out other artists that will be playing in a city when you plan on going so you can target your fans. If your fan base is mainly made up of Lady Gaga fans, it might not be a good idea to schedule a show the same night that she’s performing in that city. However, playing at a bar near the venue she’s playing at around the time her show will be ending might be a wise move.
Social media is an absolute must for just about every musician. With HootSuite you can manage your Twitter account, update your Facebook profile and fan page, check-in via FourSquare, and even schedule tweets (you can send a pre-show tweet without worrying about it before you go on).
While Hootsuite covers your most basic Facebook needs, some artists like to take the extra step to connect with fans. Friendly Plus offers some of the extra features such as Facebook chat to talk one-on-one with fans and Facebook Locations to check in to local hot spots when you’re in a particular city.
Price: $ .99
This may not be a must-have app quite yet but down the line when Apple releases the second generation iPad with camera included UStream will be one of the best apps to keep up with fans. UStream has already started to gain significant traction with artists trying to communicate with fans and being able to host UStream sessions while on-the-go is only going to make it better