Music apps can be fun, serious and really strange. Some might prove useful for a few days while others could be entirely transformative. The entire spectrum could be found at an entertaining panel called "Music Apps Gone Wild," a recap of some notable music apps seen over the last year by Evolver.fm founder Eliot Van Buskirk.
Crowdjuke could be one of those transformative apps. Created last year by Facebook engineer Matt Kelly at Music Hack Day SF, Crowdjuke creates a playlist for an event - a wedding, a birthday party - by examining the tastes of people who have RSVP'd for the event via Facebook.
One app can help composers get out of a jam. Van Buskirk showed an app for Noteflight created at Music Hack Day that will compose part of a melody. Noteflight is a web-based composition tool that lets users create, view, print and hear music notation right there in the web browser. The hack taps into a database of compositions to help fill in missing notes. "I think we're going to see this in rock and all kinds of genres," he predicted, adding, "It might be cheating, but maybe not as much as Auto-Tune."
Tomahawk solves a particular pain point for serious digital music nerds: people listen to music from a wide variety of sources. Usually a song on one service cannot be played on another service or application. This limitation means songs are experienced within silos. But Tomahawk takes a music playlist and resolves the songs from a variety of sources. Thus, songs that originate from a variety of sources - Spotify, Rdio,
Not all apps solve pain points. Pugs Luv Beats is a game-like app that creates sounds as the user play. "It's kind of a novelty, but who cares?" Federic the Resurrection of Music is a Guitar-hero like game with a Frederic Chopin as the protagonist that Buskirk called "so deeply weird."
Perhaps the strangest is bDeviled, "a very strange app" that looks at the zeroes and ones in a digital file to determine if the song has been Satanically cursed. "People are always looking for embedded Satantic messages in music. I don't know how much actual analysis they're doing," Buskirk admitted.
The examples given by Buskirk show the future of music apps holds a ton of promise. He might even get his wish for an app that brings together music and automobiles. "You know how magical it is when your music syncs up with your windshield wipers?" he asked at the panel's conclusion. Judging from the crowd's reaction, others would be willing to pay for such an app, too.