You might have noticed the link in the navigation bar at the top of every Evolver.fm page to the Untapped Apps survey, where we ask readers to weigh in on our music app ideas, which we make up. Yes, these are fictional apps, much like this one. We post them, you vote on them, and then we let you know which ones people want to see made.
Below, you’ll find the most-wanted apps from round two of our Untapped Apps experiment. We’re putting together “Untapped Apps – Round Three” now, so if you have any brilliant or wacky ideas for music apps and want to see them included, please send those our way. If your idea is included, we’ll include your name and a link to your website.
Okay, let’s get to it. Here are the results from Round Two of Untapped Apps, in order of voter preference:
1. Music Moats: The social network Google+ includes a new way to categorize contacts: Circles, which let you group work friends, high school friends, professional contacts, and any other group into “circles,” in an attempt to ensure that you share the right information with them. Music Moats would adapt that concept to music, but more importantly, it would let you choose which other users, artists, genres, and so on that you don’t want to hear about — thus “moats.” By eliminating all the stuff you don’t like, you might stand a better chance of discovering the best new music you’re not even looking for. Basically, it’s “the antisocial network” or maybe “exclusionary curation.” (Maybe if something gets moated enough, it gets put on an island.)
2. Real-World Turntable.fm: As mentioned here, someone threw a club night that played whatever DJs selected in that club night’s Turntable.fm room. Turntable.fm [was] for browsers only, but Real-World Turntable.fm would take the concept one step further with a mobile app that would let club-goers DJ their own music using the similar game mechanics.
3. Harmonic audio-to-MIDI recorder: We’ve seen a couple of apps that can transcribe a hummed melody into MIDI code, allowing music creators to turn their on-the-go ideas into parts for any instrument once they get home, which sounds useful. And we’ve also used desktop software that can edit audio as if it were MIDI, allowing one to shift the notes in, say, The Beatles’ “Hard Day’s Night.” So why not an app that can turn multiple notes played on any instrument into easy-to-use MIDI code, wonders Sean Walker of the apparently-now-defunct AllMusicTutorials.com? “Any instrument would become a MIDI controller,” he explained. “Obviously, 100 percent accuracy is not expected, but the closer the better, and the app could also include a simple audio/MIDI track by track editor with a piano roll to correct mistakes.”
4. LifeListen (more here): This streaming radio app would go beyond Pandora and other personalized radio stations by incorporating data feeds from the rest of your life. Running late for the subway? LifeListen would know that via New York’s (or potentially any other city’s) public data API, and speed up your music to let you know you need to step it up if you want to make the train. Do you have a meeting in 15 minutes? LifeListen would insert a speech-to-music reminder into whatever you’re listening to. Basically, your personalized music station becomes a real-world feedback mechanism that follows you from smartphone to computer to car to home stereo, so you can listen all the time without screwing up other stuff.
5. Appify: This smartphone app would let music fans get in on the red-hot app industry by allowing them to create their own apps around any song on their phone out of preset building blocks. Then, it would automatically generate an email to the main copyright holder of the song, alerting them that someone had created an app for their artist, song, or album. If the copyright holder agreed that the app should be distributed, the fan-created app would be submitted to all the major app stores automatically, with at least 10 percent of the resulting revenue going to the app’s creator.
6. Now Playing Photographer: This simple app would let you share photos on social networks along with a link to whatever song you were listening to at the time, whether you heard it playing on your smartphone, home stereo, or even in a restaurant, club, or anywhere else using audio fingerprinting technology.
7. Music Newsify: As you read news articles in your web browser or various newsreader apps, Music Newsify would choose the absolutely perfect song to go along with that story. For (an admittedly odd) example, the article we saw on io9.com about a guy who appreciates being slightly run over by cars might be accompanied by My Bloody Valentine’s “Drive It All Over Me.”
8. Concert Video Zapper: Plenty of live music videos are floating around out there. Concert Video Aggregator would index as many of the embeddable ones as is feasible using automated and crowdsourced means. You’d be able to watch, rate, and comment on these videos of live shows. Of course, the app would have to be Apple AirPlay or Google Fling-enabled, allowing you to watch the concerts on your television and hear them on the good speakers.
9. ‘Songify’ For Email: In the relatively early days of email, at least one person [me] used to summarize some of his emails with a haiku, in case people were into the whole brevity thing. Along the same lines, this app would borrow Songify‘s ability to make a song out of spoken word messages, turning the text of any email into an MP3 song with backup instrumentation in a variety of genres.
10. BuzzTunes: Inspired by an Android app that tracks your blood alcohol level over time, Connor McKnight proposes an automatic playlist creator that makes playlists based on the number of beverages consumed per capita at a party or bar. Presumably, this would begin with the Pachelbel Canon and end with anything by Andrew W.K.
11. SongCards: This isn’t a music app per se, but it’s closely related. SongCards, from Paul Lamere of The Echo Nest (publisher of Evolver.fm), would tie cards with RFID signals, allowing you to collect and play digital music physically. (We saw one variant of this idea involving Spotify.) See MusicMachinery’s post about SongCards for more details.
12. Karaoke Science Contest: This app for the web and smartphones would let people participate in a worldwide singing contest that tested how well people can sing one song each week — not in the American Idol sense of winning over some pushover judges with stage presence, but in the sense of fidelity to the original song’s notes, their duration, and rhythm. However, no cash award should be included, because people could use Auto-Tune to cheat a bit.
13. Singback Tones: Ringback tones aren’t very common these days, from what we’ve seen anyway, but the idea behind them was neat. They let you choose the ringtone the person you’re calling hears from their cellphone speaker when you call them. Singback Tones, which would require both caller and recipient to have the app installed, would allow users to sing into their phones to create the ringback tone that would play on the other end. (Of course, you’d have to allow or ban each user, which would thwart pranksters — and you’d also get to set a “prankometer” to specify whether to accept Singback Tones from people who have been tagged as pranksters.) Bonus points for including automatically-generated instrumentation to go along with the song.
14. Stage Coach: Adriana Kaegi, co-founder of Kid Creole and the Coconuts, writes that she would like to “show musicians the art of performance, stage presence, dynamics, and how to be engaging with an audience” within a music app.
15. EMusic Smartphone App: eMusic communications director Tiffany Guarnaccia responded to Evolver.fm’s call for Untapped Apps to let us know that eMusic is working on a mobile app to dovetail with the company’s as-yet-unreleased online storage locker. “We currently do not offer a mobile app for eMusic members,” wrote Guarnaccia. “We’ve held off on developing and releasing an app… because the development of an app is linked to the release of our ‘Access Anywhere’ features.” Presumably, the eMusic smartphone app would allow subscribers to play music from their eMusic lockers (assuming those launch) from anywhere, as well as adding to that locker from eMusic’s 12-million-plus-song catalog.