I am a huge fan of music, both discovering new music and seeing live music. While I have always been a big music fan, the smartphone has really opened up my musical universe and enabled me to see a lot more great live shows. I am a big user of Spotify, Soundcloud and iTunes on my iPhone, but I have also found some other lesser known apps that are very cool for music fans. If you are a huge music fans, these are must have apps.
Kudos to Ian, Pete and Michelle the founders of Songkick for creating this great app. More than any other phone app, this one has revolutionized music and concerts for me. Before Songkick, I missed most of my favorite bands when they came to town. Yes, I subscribed to Ticketmaster's email newsletter and got info from other sources but most of the up and coming alternative and reggae bands I like don't show up in those industry rags. If you want to see Katy Perry, then yes the Ticketmaster email will get you ticket info in a timely manner. However, if you want to see The Dirtyheads, 21 Pilots, Rebelution or AWOLNATION, you need a better tool.
Songkick scans your iTunes library of music to catalog the bands you like. Then when a show is announced at any venue in your area, they send you an alert that the band is coming. You can even click through to the venue to buy tickets. In Chicago, we have a lot of new upstart music theaters that are selling tickets direct to bypass the Ticketmaster monopoly. Songkick has cataloged those small venues too so there are very few shows that they ever miss. It is a must have for true music fans.
Another app similar to Songkick is Bands in Town. They also alert you to new concerts you might like by scanning your music catalog. As the name suggests, they are a bit more focused on who is in town right now so they have better tools for finding something to do tonight or this weekend.
I think Songkick's venue catalog is a bit more extensive but frankly both apps are free and I use them both. Sometimes one will find a concert that the other missed so there is no reason not to have both tools.
Most people have probably heard of Shazam, but if you have not or you have not ever downloaded it, you are really missing out. We have all heard a song we liked somewhere but don't know the bands name. Yes you can often find the song by searching some of the key lyrics but there are times when the song's name is very different from the main lyrics.
Shazam is a discovery tool that ends the frustration of not finding the name for a favorite song. Simply push the Shazam button on the opened application while the song is playing, and Shazam will listen and try to identify the song and artist for you. While the app is not foolproof, I have found very few songs that it could not identify. One caveat is to make sure to let Shazam hear to the chorus of the song as that is the most identifiable section of the song.
Discovr Music ($3.99 - iOS only right now)
One of the latest Music apps that I have downloaded is the Discovr Music app from the Filter Squad. From what I can tell, it is only available on iOS right now but I am sure they are working on an Android version because it is very popular on iPhones. With Discovr, you type in one of your favorite bands and it creates a filter map of other similar bands. You can click on any of those bands, and read a blurb about them and also sample a few of their songs to see if they are indeed a band you might like.
You can then create filter maps off each one of those other bands to find even more bands that are in similar genres or styles. It is very cool and takes music discovery to a whole other level. They also have similar apps for movies and smartphone applications.
I think the $3.99 that I paid was money well spent for the vast amount of discovery I am making using the app!
Band of the Day (free)
Very cool concept -- everyday Band of the Day highlights a new up and coming band in a different musical genre. These are not bands that you have likely ever heard of before. The BotD staff does a great job finding these bands from around the world and then curating the most interesting ones before posting them into the app. The homepage features an overlay calendar so you can pop to other days of the month to see what bands you might have missed.
If you like to know cool bands FIRST and be able to wow your friends with your encyclopedic knowledge, then I highly recommend this free music app.