There's an app for everything. I can track business expenses, check social media, answer emails, and book a flight, all from my phone ... why shouldn't musicians enjoy the same conveniences for their profession? I've curated some of the best apps for musicians of all kinds — and don't worry, starving artists, most of these are free.
The Metronome by Soundbrenner
Any musician has heard it a million times before: the best way to improve at your instrument is by slowing things down and practicing to a metronome. There are countless metronomes on the Play Store, but the best one I've found is made by Soundbrenner. The minimalist design looks great on any phone, and you can adjust everything from BPM to the subdivision and time signature. You can synchronize multiple phones together to practice with friends.
Another essential tool for any musician is a tuner. Whether you're a guitarist, a saxophonist, or anything else, you need to stay in tune — otherwise, band practice might sound a little off. One of the best tuners we've come across is Pitched Tuner from Stonekick. You can choose your instrument and adjust to the tuning of your choice, or just revert to a chromatic tuner. You can even choose between light and dark themes.
Another resource every musician can appreciate is notation. Luckily for guitarists, in particular, there's an endless stream of tabs online that detail how to play all of your favorite songs. Guitar Pro has always been one of the most popular options, but Songsterr has a more organized library and better-designed app. You can play the tabs in real time and adjust playback speed to learn at your own pace, and even view different instruments in the mix.
FL Studio Mobile
When it comes time to commit your ideas to memory, it's usually best to sit down in your room or studio, but sometimes you just have to record right away before it escapes your mind. With so few digital audio workstations (DAWs) available on Android, you wouldn't expect to see any big names on the Play Store.
But FL Studio is one of the most popular desktop DAWs around, and its mobile adaptation allows you to record multi-track songs just as you would from your computer. There's everything from synths to drum machines and a mixer for setting levels, making this an extremely powerful app for musicians on the go.
These days, it's hard to imagine reaching a wide audience unless your music is available to stream. There are plenty of great ways to get your music onto Spotify and Apple Music through services like Tunecore and CD Baby, but a cheaper place to start is SoundCloud. Think of it as a social network for artists and their fans — you can interact with others through the comments section of each track, and SoundCloud plays nice with other social networks so your songs can play natively from within a tweet.
What are your favorites?
It's hard to make a one-size-fits-all list for such an incredibly diverse art form, so we may have left something out that you find indispensable. If so, or if you know of a better alternative to any of the apps mentioned, let us know in the comments below!