Handy Apps for Musicians

Handy Apps
The words “organised” and “musician” are not everyone’s idea of a natural pairing. That needs to change. The music industry is fast-paced and multifaceted, so having your ducks in a row can put you a step above the rest. There are definite challenges involved in managing all the different aspects of your project, especially when you most likely have a team of people to stay on track with. So, whether you’re a musician or more on the business side of things, we’ve compiled a list of some helpful apps that will give your project a boost.

Best Apps for…Project Management

Staying action-oriented and task-focused is an important key towards kicking goals in your career – as Guilherme Ferreira writes in this great article,

Getting Things Done (GTD) is about clearing your mind, and putting everything you need to do in one place first.

1. Trello
Ideal for: Any project likely to be complex or ongoing. It’s a great way to have everyone involved and checking off goals as they go.
Trello’s motto is ‘Organize anything’, and it really is quite a versatile powerhouse. The app uses the Japanese ‘Kanban‘ organisational concept (think the clean, digital version of a post-it note frenzy on your whiteboard). Trello is also the project management app of choice here at Music Industry Inside Out central, so it comes highly recommended by us!
Click for a vid on how to use Trello.

Pros: Easy to sign up with, easy to use, cross-platform, highly interactive.
Cons: File size limits of 10MB, and board designs are not entirely customizable (unless you upgrade to the paid version). No private messaging feature (although you can tag other members in notes and cards).


2. Private Facebook Group
Ideal for: Bands, or projects with people who are on Facebook often already.
Did you know you can create a ‘secret’ group on Facebook that only members can see?
There’s actually quite a lot of functionality in Facebook groups – you can upload images, customize your header, link sites, and even upload document and audio files (although there are file size limits of 25mb, so your .wav files are out).

Pros: Easy to set up, most people already have a Facebook, interactive.
Cons: There are file size limits of 25MB, it’s on Facebook (it may be easy to get distracted by your Facebook feed while using this).


3. Slack
Ideal for: Teams working in the same space, or teams who need to communicate often throughout the day.
This app’s motto is “Be less busy”, and it’s aptly named, with ‘slack’ meaning the time lapse between the end of one activity and start of the next dependent activity. As Laura Blackwell from PC World writes,

Slack could be the answer to the splintered state of most teams’ communications…it’s cross-platform. It’s searchable and very customizable. And you can attach files for sharing, or move files seamlessly between Slack and a cloud service. Slack makes it easier to work without feeling like work itself.

Check out this video on how to use Slack.

Pros: Supports private messaging, use of fun emojis, searchable files, able to be integrated with almost every app and site you can think of, fairly big file size limits of 1GB.
Cons: A cost of $8 per user to upgrade to Slack Pro.


Best Apps for…File Sharing

It’s important to have files like your music, album art, high quality photos and press releases readily available. Not to mention your notes, documents and spreadsheets! We have you covered below with some of the best apps around.

1. Dropbox
Ideal for: The casual file sharer needing to share any kind of file under the sun.
Pros: Simple to use, no restrictions on file types uploaded, 3GB of free space, able to make and share folders for easy organisation of files.
Cons: Not as much space as some other file sharing apps on the market (unless you upgrade to the paid version).


2. Google Drive
Ideal for: The more advanced file sharer, and/or those who are big Google Account or Gmail users.

Google Drive
Pros: 15GB of free space, access to unique Google Drive features (spreadsheets, a word processor, and presentations features), its pro version is cheaper than Dropbox’s pro version.
Cons: Can’t upload files and photos from your phone straight into the cloud, and space used in Google Drive will be added to the space from your Gmail account.


3. WeTransfer
Ideal for: One off sharing of large files, eg .wav and audio files.

Pros: Send file sizes of up to 10GB to up to 20 recipients at once, able to be used unlimited times with no pressure to sign up for a paid version.
Cons: Not a permanent file housing service (your recipient will have two weeks to get the file; after that, the file is automatically deleted).


4. Soundcloud
Ideal for: Easily sharing your completed music with the music industry and the press.
If you’re in a band, you probably already have a Soundcloud. If not – get on it!

Pros: Discoverable (if you set your uploads to ‘public’), able to be used privately (just set a song to ‘private’ and share the private link), already used by many in the music industry.
Cons: Only able to be used for audio files, data limits of 180 minutes apply for free accounts.


Other handy apps

1. Song Keeper
Ideal for: Musicians in bands.
Song Keeper App
Song Keeper is a fun app designed to help you get audio and notes of your song ideas down on the go, and easily share them (privately!) with others. This article provides a good how-to on getting started.


2. Master Tour
Ideal for: Event managers, bands with busy tour schedules.
Master Tour    Master Tour
The app of choice of Firestarter’s Adam Weston, this is a great all-in-one tour manager that also comes in a smartphone app, so you can never lose your tour schedule on the go. Its extremely functional tour management software does need to be purchased after your free trial expires, though.


3. Tape A Call
Ideal for: Music journalists.
Tape A Call
This app may just be a lifesaver for music journalist doing a phone interview. Using the ‘merge call’ function in this app, you can tape a phone call and listen back later (with your other party’s permission, of course!). This is a lot easier than furiously typing whilst trying to have a conversation. The only drawback is that you will need to have your phone provider’s 3-way calling function activated, and you will probably need to upgrade to the $10.99 paid version (the free version only lets you listen to 3 minutes of a recording, before prompting you to upgrade).

We hope you’ve found these suggestions helpful. What sites and apps do you find essential? Head over to our forums to discuss, or post a comment below!

And if you want to learn even more about organising your career and managing your music, check out our premium course content on Artist Development and Management.

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