With the return of Apple’s annual iTunes Festival for 2013, the company has once again added a dedicated Apple TV section allowing users to access and stream content directly onto the Apple TV. An update to the free iTunes Festival universal iOS app has also just been released, refreshing the design and allowing users to stream live and on-demand content directly to their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Content can also be streamed directly to a Mac or Windows PC via the iTunes Festival Page in the iTunes Store.
The Festival will feature 30 nights of free, live music from more than 50 artists performing at the Roundhouse in London from September 1 to September 30, 2013. Previous shows are expected to be available for a limited time via iTunes, the Apple TV, and the iOS app, and it is unclear for how long the iTunes Festival section will remain available on the Apple TV following the conclusion of the event on September 30th.
Amazon has announced its MP3 store has been optimized for iPhone and iPod touch. Users can now buy digital music from Amazon’s catalog of more than 22 million songs, directly from Amazon’s store through mobile Safari — the Amazon MP3 mobile website is built on HTML5. Purchases are saved to customers’ Amazon Cloud Player libraries for instant access and playback using the Cloud Player mobile apps. Amazon first launched an iPhone-optimized Kindle Store in 2009; the company has traditionally avoided integrating its store features directly into its iOS apps due to the large amount of content available and to avoid paying a 30 percent cut of sales to Apple.
IK Multimedia has released DJ Rig for the iPhone and iPod touch, a new pro-quality DJ mixing app designed to complement the company’s iRig Mix mobile mixer. Debuted at CES 2012, DJ Rig provides a full-featured double-deck DJ mixing app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows users to instantly play and mix songs from the device’s music library. Features include automatic tempo sync and beat matching, sample-based pads and performance recording and a comprehensive set of high-quality DJ effects.
DJ Mix is designed to provide an intuitive and flexible mixing solution for both the professional and novice DJ alike with a collection of easily accessible creative tools and synchronization of beats between songs to allow quick mixing at the tap of a button. Users can also add real-time effects with an XY touch interface and take advantage of the built-in sampler to quickly capture source audio for instant playback and looping. A unique X-Sync function also allows users to sync music from an external source in addition to the music on their iOS device when used in conjunction with the iRig Mix portable mixer, automatically matching tempo and providing seamless transitions. Mixes can also be recorded and exported via iTunes File Sharing. DJ Rig requires iOS 4.3 or later and is available from the App Store for $2. The basic app includes six DJ effects and eight built-in sound banks along with one adjustable queue point. A Pro Bundle is available via in-app purchase for $5 which adds six additional effects, seven extra sound banks, three more cue points and a digital deck interface.
Apple updated a handful of its iOS apps today alongside the introduction of the new iPad. The iWork suite—Pages, Numbers, and Keynote—have received unspecified updates while GarageBand now features Smart Strings, Note Editor, iCloud syncing, and sharing over multiple devices. The new iMovie adds outlining and storyboarding features, along with the ability to record video with the new iPad’s 1080p rear camera. All of the updates are free, and available today.
Startup music discovery service Herd.fm has launched a new iOS application designed to deliver a new standard for music sharing and discovery for mobile devices. Based on the idea that many users’ music listening is now centered around mobile phones rather than traditional media players and desktop PCs, Herd.fm is customized for the iPhone and iPod touch to provide a streamlined and user-friendly way of connecting people through songs and playlists. The app leverages a user’s iTunes listening history and Facebook sharing activity to provide a snapshot of recent favourites and as a basis for intelligent music recommendations from Last.fm combined with Herd.fm’s own matching algorithms. Users can share their favourite music at any given moment or manually select songs from their device’s music library to create shareable mini-mixes.
Herd.fm allows users to broadcast recommendations via Facebook and Twitter but is primarily designed for person-to-person sharing, encouraging users to post recommendations directly to their friends on a personal level rather than merely posting to a feed. The app also integrates SoundCloud and YouTube APIs to provide direct in-app streaming of recommended tracks and provides links to song purchases via the iTunes Store. Artist tour dates are provided when available via the Songkick concert API and Herd.fm also incorporates a geo-location feature to display a visualization of where your shared songs are being listened to around the world by other Herd.fm users. Herd.fm requires iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.