Thursday, June 4, 2009

Essential iPhone Music Apps....

I haven't been able to put my down my iPhone since I got it last week. Just like any new toy, you spend more time getting to know it at the beginning, but somehow I just don't see myself slowing down on this one. I've loaded up two extra pages of Apps - most free - but there are two that I have payed a few dollars for. These Apps are essential to accommodate my music research on the go. This topic may become a recurring theme if I continue to come across useful music Apps, but for now, here are the best I've found.


That's what this website looks like on my iPhone. Carbon copy, huh?

Every time I tap the screen, I am amazed at the simplicity and the obvious user input that went into the design of this thing. Of course there are some limitations. One, for example, is that apart from playing the iPod in the background, you can't really do any two things at once. I'm sure this helps the device run faster (once an app is closed, it is shut down completely, preserving running memory) but it limits the overall functionality. But there are always alternate routes.

As I was running through my RSS feeds, I came across a post at songs:illinois that, although I remember seeing when it was first posted, quickly forgot because I hadn't yet joined the iPhone club. They reported on a Music Blog App that allows you to stream embedded music from any blog to your phone in the background, thus allowing you to continue reading all about the music you're hearing.

iHeartNewMusic is the App and it's made by Scafell Software. This App is consists of three main screens: a full-featured web browser, a tunes playlist, and a bookmark page. The App comes loaded with pre-set blog links in various categories including Rock, Indie, Hip Hop, and Folk. To make browsing even easier, links to The Hype Machine as well as Skreemr mp3 search are provided.

As you load the blog you want to read, the App is simultaneously gathering all the links to songs on that page, leaving them one tab and one tap away from your ears.

In addition to the provided blog links (which include some of my favorites - including NineBullets, AquariumDrunkard, and SlowCoustic) you can add your own favorites to the list. I shot an email over to the creator suggesting that this blog be added to the pre-sets and even put a good word in for Rollo & Grady and Captain Obvious. He said the next update will have these blogs added as well as increased functionality in the bookmarks tab.

~Check out this iHeartNewMusic video tutorial

~Purchase the App in iTunes - $1.99

But what if streaming just isn't enough for you? What if you want to download that song right to your phone? Clicking (tapping) on a link to an mp3 file in the Safari browser will stream the song in the Quicktime player, but you must stay there to hear it; there is no right click, save as option.

That's where iDownload comes in. This App allows nearly any file that is otherwise just a link to become downloadable. iDownload features a limited-functionality browser where you can insert the URL to a page with the file you want to download. When you tap the link in the iDownload browser, the options you see above will become available. From there, the App will take you to your downloads page where you can view the status of the download. However with copy and paste hard to come by on the iPhone, this method becomes laborious. But, alas, there's an easier way. Following these instructions will allow you to add the 'open with iDownload' link to your Safari bookmarks. This way, when you come across a file while browsing, the link in your bookmarks will automatically open the webpage in the iDownload App.

While this makes downloading files a possibility on the iPhone, you still cannot add downloaded mp3's directly to your iPod library, nor can you access the files when the phone is plugged into your computer. iDownload says they're working on these issues.

~Purchase the App in iTunes - $1.99

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