You may have heard that Apple's acclaimed iTunes Festival is coming over to this side of the pond for next month's SXSW (South By Southwest) Festival in Austin, and now The Loop has more news on what to expect. Along with Coldplay, Imagine Dragon, and other groups, '90s sensation Soundgarden will be performing at the festival.
Radiohead has long been known for its compelling collaborations with animators and video artists, which have resulted in cool music videos, performance projections, and graphics. Now the band has now extended its interest into the iOS world with PolyFauna, a strange sonic tour through a decidedly eccentric audiovisual realm. It’s not a game – there's nothing to win, nor a final destination – but rather a wacky piece of interactive art that is deceptively simple to navigate and oddly soothing, even for those who are not usually turned on by Radiohead’s expansive, moody musical stylings.
Tablet DJs have long been happy with the two primary players in that sandbox: Native Instruments’ Traktor DJ and Algoriddim’s djay, the latter of which launched a stellar sequel not long ago. Both are digital spinning powerhouses, but carrying around a large library of music has always been a limiting factor for covering all potential sonic bases. That’s where Pacemaker is trying to carve out a unique niche: it’s the only iPad DJ software that comes with Spotify support.
The story goes that Apple originally intended for iTunes to be a "break-even" business, but the popular music and video service has proven more successful than those earliest projections could have dreamed of. Indeed, based on Asymco's calculations (via 9to5Mac), iTunes on its own would rank as 130 in the Fortune 500 list of the top U.S. companies.
Venerable music gear maker KORG has already brought some very cool audio apps to the iOS universe, and it continues the onslaught with Gadget, a slick, lovely-sounding iPad app with 15 synth devices — each capable of some true sonic mayhem, and all wrapped into a productive sequencing environment. It’s not hard to quickly whip up some pounding electronic dance music (EDM), especially once you get the hang of the interface, but there are significant holes in the slick veneer.
If there was any clear loser during Apple's earnings call this week, it was the once mighty iPod. After the news broke that only 6 million units of the portable music device had been sold--around half as many from the same time last year--pundits across the Internet hopped on their soapboxes to declare the iPod dead. But not so fast, 9to5Mac says--evidence suggests that Apple might have big plans for the device yet.
Music discovery continues to be a conundrum in an era of homogenized radio, the disappearance of music on so-called music television stations, and a seemingly endless array of new artists to fit every taste. Streaming music services have attempted to fill the void with increasingly impressive recommendation algorithms, and Beats Music — which features the branding of the popular Dr. Dre-backed headphones — is the latest such offering, serving up more than 20 million tracks with a heaping helping of music expertise on the side.
Song Blaster is an arcade-style shooter that loosely incorporates your personal music library into gameplay. The concept has been done before by games like Beat Hazard and Audiosurf, but rarely has it been this playful. You won’t find in-depth strategy or demanding tests of reflex with the free-to-play Song Blaster, but what you do get is a fun, stimulating way to virtually interact with your favorite tracks.
With something of a cult following in the Android world, Caustic comes into the iOS universe with real pedigree – a rare event. But just moments after launching the app, it’s hard not to become an instant believer in this truly potent, fully featured sonic monster, and the almost overwhelming number of excellent-sounding ingredients it offers up for cooking up tasty riffs and compositions. Caustic delivers an array of synthesizers, effects, and MIDI recording tools, featuring both depth and excellent sound quality, plus a vast variety of useful presets for each and every one of its many components.
Ever since Apple revolutionized digital music with the iPod, we've been looking for faster ways to navigate our ever-expanding music libraries. Even with its iOS 7 overhaul, Apple's Music app still offers fairly basic controls, forcing us to focus on the screen and tap tiny buttons when we're on the road or out for a run. The aptly named Listen thinks it has tapped into a better method. With a buttonless interface that eschews digital controls in favor of simple gestures, the music player looks to change the way we listen to music on our iPhones by relying less on our eyes.