The Broke Music Fan's Guide to Denver: Phone Apps

Rockstar Aaron shows off his phone.
Rockstar Aaron shows off his phone.
Anthony Camera

Music fan or not, it seems like everybody in the civilized world is becoming increasingly reliant on their phones, with the iPhone still firmly atop the “hip and techy” tree. And those of you addicted to your iPhone don’t need to be told about the countless apps, but there’s a whole section of apps dedicated to music, and many of those are free. The services vary wildly: Some apps allow you to stream music, others help you manipulate it. Some are for learning to play an instrument, others are for recording your voice. Here are some of our faves:

8. Genius
This app is ridiculously useful. If you can remember a segment of lyrics but don’t know what song they’re from, as has happened to the very best of us, just type a line into Genius, and it will pull the result for you. And it’s not just lyrics; any factoid that’s nagging at you can be straightened out with Genius. We tried typing in “Denver” and, as well as getting a lot of stuff about John Denver, we pulled these lyrics from K Camp’s “Comfortable”: “Money making mission she just steady chasin’ duckets, Shawty she ain’t playin’ she just ballin’, Denver Nugget.”

7. CoachGuitar
This great app is free, at least initially. You can choose your level at the start (we went with “beginner”), and then the app guides you through popular songs that you might want to learn to play. It’s easy to use, and more convenient than trying to read a book while strumming and fiddling, and much more affordable than in-person lessons. It’s at least worth a try if you’ve had a guitar sitting in your living room for years gathering dust.

6. Shimmeo
This one can be super-cute when kids use it, but a bit awkward for grownups. Basically, you get to record and edit your own music video for a song that you already love. Cue little ones lip-synching to Ariana Grande. Adult men dancing to Katy Perry is less adorable, though.

David Jones discovering some new music, no doubt.
David Jones discovering some new music, no doubt.
Anthony Camera

5. Shazam
One of the originals, and still a great resource for discovering new music. According to the Wall Street Journal, “Shazam counts hundreds of millions of active users and an app that has been downloaded 1 billion times.” The app is, after fifteen years, making a profit for the first time, and if you want to stream a new single or watch a brand-new video, it’s still the best place to go.

4. Getitlive
If you’re into hip-hop and/or EDM and you want to hear what the world’s best DJs are mixing live, this is a great resource for mixtapes. A lot of the names might be unfamiliar, but you can just turn the volume up and let it go, and more often than not you’ll hear some great tunes.

3. Soundhound
Simply hum a song into your phone, and Soundhound will help you identify it. If it’s been nagging at you all day, this app can be a lifesaver.

2. Music Maker JAM
This thing isn’t necessarily easy to grasp, but once you’ve got into the swing of it, magic can be made. Choose your style, choose some beats and melodies, and manipulate away. And like the others on this list, it’s FREE!

1. Check out these cheap live shows for a deal IRL.
When you're done with free music apps, here are a few options happening this week in Denver:

Josh Trinidad and John Wirtz, Friday, October 7, Syntax Physic Opera, free.

Soul 4 You, Saturday, October 8, Meadowlark, free.

Quigley Hall Dedication Concert, Sunday, October 9, Jon and Georgie Kincaid Concert Hall, free.


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