The 5 Best iPad Apps for Music Discovery

This post is by Kevin English of

Ipad-unveiling-pop_2778 The April 2010 release of the Apple iPad has created a huge play for tons of computer manufacturers to enter the tablet arena.

I’ve tested some of the unreleased machines that have been created to compete with the iPad including BlackBerry’s Playbook, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab, and HP Slate, but nothing comes close to the reliability and flexibility of the IOS platform.

When considering how to “make it” in a tough business like the music industry, I often like to work backwards. Meaning, I’ll look at where potential fans look for new music and then make sure all of the artists that I work with are putting their best foot forward on those platforms. Make sense?

That being said, I’d like to share some of my favorite iPad music discovery tools. I have no disclosures this time. I don’t work for any of these app manufacturers so I’m speaking completely on preference and availability. There isn’t much out there in the marketplace now, but I guarantee by next year this time, the iTunes App Store will be filled with like tools.

1. Pandora

I hope you are familiar with Pandora by now, if not here is your chance. Talk about a company that was on the brink of bankruptcy. Tim Westergren and Co. had their start up backs against the wall before a little thing called the iPhone was released. Since then they have seen their traffic sky rocket.

When I spoke to Tim at San Fran Music Tech last year he was happy to report that the company was profitable although not by much. His model is steeped in licensing fees from major labels who want their cut at the cost of Pandora’s bottom line. The iPad app takes Pandora a step further.

This is my go to app for long spans of uninterrupted internet radio listening. With the mutt task feature in iOS 4.2 I can keep Pandora playing in the background while I surf the net researching for my first ebook. However, I don’t hear many artists that I’ve never heard before like I did when the company first began, so I’m not sure how well they play in the music discovery space.

2. Discovr


This is a cool new app built on The Echo Nest platform. Before I go into the app, I should explain who The Echo Nest is an what they do. I first ran into Director of Developer Platform Paul Lamere at Music Hack Day and boy is he smart.

In a nutshell The Echo Nest is a music intelligence company that powers a lot of the heavy hitting mobile apps. Discovr is no exception. This time they have paired with 7digital and You Tube to provide iPad users with a visual representation of bands that relate to ones that you plug into the search field. When demoing it for this post I did run into a few glitches in the service (i.e. artist names not appearing, infrequent crashing) but overall “A good college try”.

3. Aweditorium


This cool new app attempts to re-imagine the feel of experiencing music on an iPad based on album cover art inspired by

The founders aim to find a way of taking content around an artist (i.e. high resolution images, artwork, lyrics and high def video and tying that together in a multi touch device.

Artist membership to have your music featured on Aweditorium is closed for now. I’d keep my eyes peeled for any updates. This is looking like the early days of Pandora if you ask me.

4. Sound Hound

If you are ever walking around and hear a song playing in the background you can now capture the name of the artist and song with this app. The concept is not new here as companies like Shazam have seen great success in this service as well. The cool thing here is that you can actually sing that stupid song thats stuck in your head into the built in iPad mic and Sound Hound will identify it for you. Cool huh?

5. Coming Soon: Hitlantis

There is a great review by Nick Parker over on

Final Thoughts

Don’t have an iPad yet? Do yourself a favor, don’t wait for a front facing camera or SD card slot because none of that shit really matters in the grand scheme of things. Make the purchase today if you can afford it. Tablets are obviously the new frontier in computing, but don’t take my word for it. Check this recent report by The Raymond James Financial Center.

All of these companies are planning a tablet launch sooner or later. What are your favorites?


Kevin English is a Tech Marketer for Apple, Head of Communication at Official.FM and a student of the arts who blogs about the skills and strategies necessary to get the most of your musical career on

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