Music - Mobile App Holiday Gift Guide 2012

Tools

Our three favorites:

MadPadMadPad--Remix Your Life 
(Developed by Smule)
Available for: iOS
Release: 2011
Price: 99 cents

MadPad transforms the everyday sights and sounds of the modern world into songs in the key of life. The app is a virtual percussion smorgasbord, bringing together a multitude of commonplace noises and found sounds like car doors slamming, dogs barking and coffee percolating to enable iOS users to create, record and share their own homemade rhythms and loops. It's the music of trashcans, frying pans and cargo vans, suburban symphonies orchestrated from the distractions most of us have learned to ignore, and the end results are uniquely compelling and even oddly beautiful. If you've ever quietly tapped out a rhythm on a tabletop or pounded out a monster air drum solo to the tune of "In the Air Tonight," then MadPad is the app for you.

TimbreTimbre 
(Developed by Intrepid Pursuits)
Available for: iOS
Release: September
Price: Free

If live music is essential to your existence, then Timbre is a must-have on par with earplugs and comfortable shoes. More than just a location-targeted interactive concert calendar, it's a conduit for connecting bands with potential new fans. Timbre determines your whereabouts and shows you all the performers playing your area--click an artist's name and the app dials up a clip of their most popular iTunes track and corresponding link to the storefront, as well as venue information, ticketing options and Facebook and Twitter sharing. If you're on the fence, you can listen to additional songs from the group's catalog or swipe the screen to see what other shows might float your boat instead.

Who SampledWhoSampled 
(Developed by WhoSampled.com)
Available for: iOS
Release: June
Price: $2.99

In an anything-goes culture where Kanye West digs deep enough into the crates to sample everything from King Crimson to Tony Joe White, even the most encyclopedic music enthusiast may find it impossible to pinpoint the original source of a repurposed beat or break. The invaluable WhoSampled.com database has connected the dots between about 50,000 recording artists and 150,000 tracks, and its iPhone app goes one better, scanning the user's personal iTunes library to highlight which songs were sampled, which other songs sampled them and whether they've been covered or remixed. Users also can identify which part of a recording was sampled and where it's incorporated into another track, even comparing the two side-by-side via YouTube streaming. It's mapping the DNA of your personal music collection.