The 10 best music apps of 2013

By , Dec 19, 2013

music rock concert

Music makes up the fabric of humanity’s existence. It is so important in our lives that it is everywhere. In movies, television, stores, schools. Music is also a universal language. You don’t have to know what the lyrics are to understand a song’s meaning.

The App Store has produced some fantastic apps for music lovers and musicians alike this year. Whether you want a new music listening client or are looking for a mobile way to record your band, there is a wealth of apps to help you.

The editors at iDownloadBlog have come up with a list of what they think are the 10 best music apps of 2013. Check out our favorites and then vote for the one you like best to be added to our Best Apps of 2013 list…

Songkick

SongkickPeople who love going to concerts are always looking for ways to find out when their favorite bands are playing next. I’m probably signed up on 100 different band’s email lists. Not to mention the Facebook events I have to check all of the time. This app finds out when your favorite bands are playing next by generating a list based on artists in your music library. Plus you can keep track of concerts in your area, so you don’t have to go far to see a great show. This app is available for free.

Beat – Music Player

Beat - Music PlayerThis was a big year for third-party music listening apps. I didn’t even think about how ugly Apple’s native music player was until I started seeing apps that show off my album artwork in new and different ways. This app comes with 16 different iOS 7 designed themes, plus five additional ones can be unlocked through a series of achievements. The app lets you swipe sideways to change a song, pinch to zoom and share music, swipe vertically to adjust volume, and double tap the screen to pause a song. This app is available for free.

djay 2

djay 2Thanks to the advent of digital music, deejays no longer have to carry around crates of records in the back of a van in order to spin at a club or party. Thanks to the invention of the iPad and Algoriddim’s creation of their djay app, deejays don’t even have to work that hard anymore. This year, the company redesigned their music app from the ground up with a more iOS 7 aesthetic. Sure, you can still pretend to scratch vinyl with the record display screen, but now you can switch to waveform view, which professional deejays have told me is much easier to work with when trying to match up songs. This app is available on the iPad for $9.99. The iPhone version is available for $1.99.

CanOpener

CanOpenerAudiophiles will tell you that listening to digital music is like listening to a cat meowing in a tin can, or some other such clever analogy. Unless you can afford to invest in a really good pair of headphones, those sound snobs are pretty much right. This app actually helps improve the quality of your music by giving you more control over the crossfeed, equalizer, and dosimeter settings. By selecting which type of headphones you use and then selecting a preset based on the song you are listening to, you can increase the depth, pull up the highs, or bring out the bass. This app is available for $4.99.

Stezza

StezzaHere in California, we have very strict rules about talking on the phone and sending texts. But, we don’t have any rules on the books about using your music controls, even though it is just as dangerous as texting if you are using Apple’s native Music app. Stezza takes some of the risk out of switching between songs by displaying your music controls with big buttons. Now you can pause, play, and skip songs with a sideways glance and a simple tap. Plus, you can change the color of the user interface to match the interior of your car. This app is available for $0.99.

Google Play Music

Google Play MusicJust in time to compete directly with Apple’s iTunes Radio, Google launched the iOS version of their branded music player, complete with All Access. Users can listen to custom radio stations with no limits that they can create from any song, artist or album. Or, they can let the curators do the dirty work and listen to playlists created by Google’s music experts. Of course, you can also listen to up to 20,000 of your own songs from your personal music collection after you’ve uploaded them to your Google Play account. This app is available for free.

Auria LE

Auria LE

When I first found out that there was an iPad app that was capable of recording 48 different tracks, my first thought was, “the what now?” I don’t think I’ve ever recorded on 48 tracks in real life. However, the price tag was a little gut wrenching at about one dollar per track. This year, WaveMachine Labs made it possible to take advantage of all of the same features as the full version, but at half the cost (and half the tracks). This “lite” version features 24 tracks of simultaneous playback (with a 24-bit recording) and eight tracks of simultaneous recording. The app features a waveform editor with cut, copy, paste, crossfade, duplicated, reverse, and more. It supports DropBox and SoundCloud uploading, inter-app audio support, full automation on controls, and more. This app is available for $24.99.

Traktor DJ

Traktor DJThe runner-up for this year’s App Store Editor’s Choice for app of the year was awarded to this deejay app. It is specially designed for interactive touch-based gestures on the iPad. The app features a deejay mixer layout with crossfader, 3-band EQ, and filters for each channel. You can easily load your music into the app from your iTunes music library and sync tracks based on tempo, beatgrids, and cue points. The waveform display makes it much easier to set up tracks and loop samples. This app is available for $19.99. The iPhone version is available for $4.99.

Listen: The Gesture Music Player

Listen 1If Stezza is the music player for driving, then Listen is the music player for riding your bike. It is fully gesture based, so you don’t even have to look at the screen to perform certain actions. You can swipe left or right to skip or replay songs, swipe up to add music to your favorites list, swipe down to access your music library and tap to play or pause a song. Drag the center button to the upper right corner to share music tracks on Facebook and Twitter. Drag it to the upper left corner to send your audio to AirPlay or a Bluetooth connected speaker. This app is available for free.

TNR-e – US

TNR-e - USAbout a decade ago, a group of artists created a digital musical instrument solely for the purpose of creating a live, visual performance of sound. The Yamaha Tenori-on has gone on to win awards for its innovative use of mixing art and music. In 2011, Yamaha launched an iOS version called TNR-I that was a perfect fit for touch screen devices. This year, the company came out with its newest version of the music programing software that includes a whole new set of tones dedicated to house, electro, dub step, and other dance music. If you’ve ever heard a Tenori-on before, you will understand why dance is so important. What makes this music instrument app so fun is that anyone can use it. You don’t have to be a professional musician. This app is available for $19.99.

Cast your vote

We are taking a poll from our readers on the top apps in each category. Out of the 10 apps we presented today, please cast your vote on which one is the very best. The winning app will be included on a list of the top 10 readers’ choice apps for 2013. Please take a moment to make your voice heard and tell us which music app from the list above is your favorite.

Make sure to check out and vote for our other best apps of the year:

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  • Jamie Tilden

    I dunno about this list. Ecoute is missing and it recently got an amazing iOS 7 makeover.

    • Ecoute was first released in 2012. This was just an app update, not a new app per say. That’s is why it’s not here. We only listed apps that were first released in 2013.

      • Jamie Tilden

        Well alright then. Fair enough, sweetheart.

      • Kenrick Fernandes

        sweetheart

      • mav3rick

        Auria: Jul 16 ’12 New App, v1.01

      • You are right. I was supposed to have Auria LE on the list instead of the full version. The article has been updated to reflect the 2013 release of the “lite” version of Auria. Thanks for catching that.

  • ✪ aidan harris ✪

    what about Splyce? itunes.apple .com/us/app/splyce-fancy-music-player/id648339800?mt=8

    I first heard about it on iDB and think it’s by far one of the best music apps of 2013. Out of the ones on the list though my vote strangely goes to Google their music app is a fantastic piece of design.

  • dan bacon

    If they made the music player the default screen instead of the social crap, Tunewiki is easily the best music player/app available. It looks clean and is nice to navigate, but what takes the cake is Livelyrics. And it is also FREE.

  • Ornile Anderson

    I think Miblii is a great new one as well. You should do a review on that.

  • noaaahh

    ‘Beat’ has never worked for me. Installed multiple times. Running 7.0.4 on iPod

  • Dieter Luypaert

    Not many seems to know Groove. It’s pretty, usable, got scrobbling, pre-mixes a bunch of party playlists for you based on Last.FM tags. It’s my favourite.

  • Shazam

  • rosssimpson

    People looking for an alternative to the Native Music App should also look at SmartPlayer, I’d sat it’s a combo of Ecoute and Listen! Great one handed control or when you’re just wanting to skip a few tracks and has the UI “feel” of ecoute 🙂 It’s a great buy! 🙂 It was released in 2012 but Check it out now as it’s got a new iOS 7 update with iTunes Match support and everything!

  • sleeperjoe

    You know the apps listed are sucky when the best app is still Google Play Music.

  • With which one of the players can I pick a song and select “playe next”? Similar to iTunes, but for some reason is missing on the iOS app.

  • Michael Di Gennaro

    groove is by far the best, and it’s not even here.

  • Sam Kinison the 69th

    “amazing iOS 7 makeover”

    Why is this phrase always an oxymoron?