[Editors Note: This is a guest blog written by Cassie Phillips. Cassie learned over time that she could use her passion for music to help others – she writes on Culture Coverage for music lovers and artists alike to help them get the most of their experience.]
Let’s face it, life as a musician is not always so kind to the bank balance. Without even taking into consideration the pay rate, the costly expenses, equipment and tools come with hefty price tags.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a way around having some of the most important tools of the trade. However, the advent of mobile phone apps means that some of a musician’s best-kept secrets are now available for a fraction of the cost. These five apps are essentials for any artist and are a relatively low-cost way to make the most out of your career.
The Guitar Tuner
Physical guitar tuners are fast becoming a thing of the past. They’re so easy to misplace and often get lost in the depth of equipment vans, and being stuck in the noisy back stage area pre-show with only your ear to rely on to tune can be a bit of a nightmare.
There are countless guitar tuner apps available for free on almost all platforms. Most of them come with pretty much identical features, so both Android and iOS users can benefit from this truly handy download.
Like all things in life, sometimes the simplest is the most important. Whether you’re warming up for a set, collaborating with a new friend or just jamming out in your bedroom, the metronome is the time-honored best friend of all musicians.
However, physical metronomes can be cumbersome and a general nuisance to carry around everywhere with you, so being able to compact it into a handy phone app can be unarguably useful.
There are plenty of metronome apps available for free; however, Tempo claims to be the most accurate in the app store. For just $2.99 you get 35 different time signatures, 9 rhythm patterns and tempo ranges from 10 to 800.
The Virtual Private Network
If you’re already worried about your money, the last thing you need is a hacker infiltrating your devices, corrupting your work or even accessing your bank account. Particularly for artists who tour regularly, and therefore rely on public WiFi, having a good Virtual Private Network (VPN) to encrypt your data and protect yourself is essential.
There are many free VPN’s available to those who don’t have the funds to buy one, but these are often faulty and provide very little customer service. Because of this, it’s advisable to make an investment now to protect your finances in the future. There are several great paid options available, for a range of prices, so it’s easy to find something that fits your budget. Check out this review by Secure Thoughts for some examples of what’s out there!
The Sheet Music
If you’re a musician who works from sheet music, chances are you’re sick of lugging around battered music books that are moments away from loosing all of their pages. This is where downloading an app like forScore can be incalculably helpful.
Available for iPad, it allows you to store all of your music in one handy place. You can annotate each page, create set lists for your shows and even play along with a demo version of the music. It really is the perfect accompaniment for all sheet musicians, and for only $9.99, it’s a worthwhile investment.
The Digital Studio
When it comes to digital studios, the benefits are undeniable. With multi-track recording options and a loop-based music creation system, they allow you to work wherever you are. However, this advantage does come with a sizeable price tag.
The forerunner in digital studio technology is by far Acid Pro. This Sony release is loved and cherished by artists everywhere, but it will set you back a rather staggering $149.95. However, for those who can’t afford those kind of prices, Reaper is a fantastic alternative that can be purchased for only $60. While this might still seem like a lot, it’s definitely worth the investment in order to have the freedom to work from wherever.
Having a few carefully selected apps in your arsenal can be a life-saver for any artist, saving space, time and money! These are just a few examples of useful downloads that you can pick up for a reasonable cost, but there is so much more out there. Be sure to leave a comment below if you know of any other apps that belong on this list!