One of the many unique synths that have been cropping up on Apple’s mobile devices, (CC) Beanbag Amerika.

Rounding up my catch-up-on-iPod/iPhone-stories, here’s one from the developer perspective – one that could face music creation developers on the entire platform.

The Apple iTunes App Store now faces the risk of becoming a victim of its own success. Music applications could be a big part of that, without some adjustments on Apple’s part. The problem is this: incoming music “fan” apps could flood out the music production apps that had enriched the mobile software platform since its debut. I think the need could be really urgent. Consider that part of the appeal of Apple’s mobile platform – yes, even in stark contrast to the Google Android on which I’ve been developing myself – is its spectacular real-time audio tools. Combine that with a disproportionately large number of Mac-using musicians, lots of ingenious apps build on Apple’s Core Audio platform, and we’ve seen a mobile platform with an extraordinary number of tools for music creation.

The problem now is that that unique set of powerful apps could get overwhelmed by essentially unrelated “music” apps. A developer who has asked to remain anonymous is already campaigning for a change. He does a good job of explaining the issue, and what might need to happen to fix it. If you’re a developer, you can add your support and feedback to the idea.

Here’s the full explanation:

Hi Peter,
I am writing you with this email I have been sending other developers on the Apple App Store. Although you probably cannot go visit the apple developer connection website because you dont have a membership, I thought you should be informed about the discussion brewing there. Here it is:

Recently the Music section of the App store has gotten very busy with a new type of app, lets call them Artist Apps or Fan Apps. Some of these Apps are great resources for fans and artists reaching out to their fans and potential fans, and some don’t live up to their potential.

However, they are joining a category that previously moved a lot slower, as the apps that had been populating this category were apps with a lot of development put into them and therefore sold at a higher tier usually- but were released at a slower pace. A look at the top 100 paid music apps illustrates this nicely.

Customers perusing the music section to catch that next great sound generating tool (for example), could check in on the new releases section perhaps once a week or even once a month and have the opportunity to check out all the great new apps that had been released, without worrying that one was missed.

Now however, these newer Artist apps have flooded this category, and great apps are getting lost in the shuffle. On one day last week, there were 21 pages of Artist or Fan apps, with a few “other” apps strewn in the mix here and there, very hard to pick out of the jumble.

I understand that this may be happening in other categories for other reasons, but I only concentrate on the Music section since I am a music producer and music App writer.

I propose that we all get together to come up with some suggested sub-category names for the music category. I will start the list off and hopefully some of you will chime in and give suggestions for other categories or add more definition to a sub-category that is alredy here.

Once enough input is received, I will compile it into one bug report for Apple. i will then post the bug# for everyone to include with any correspondance with Apple on this issue.

New sub-categories for the Music section of the App store.

Music Creation:
Synthesizers, drum machines, sound generators, scoring and notation, sequencers, DJ apps, recorders (multi track)

Music Utilities:
Lyrics apps, iPod interfaces, visualizers, iPod controllers, song recognizers, concert finders,

Metronomes, guitar and voice tuners, music slow downers, guitar tutors, chord apps,

Artist Apps/Fan Apps:
iLike apps, Deadmou5 app, PVD App, Underworld App, NIN, etc.

Radio Tuners:

AOL Radio, Pandora,, individual radio stations

Please visit the Apple iPhone developer forums and voice your opinion/support!

Definitely voice your thoughts to Apple, but I’d love to hear what you think here on CDM, too (especially since I know some folks at Apple do read this site).

  • I could not agree more that Apple needs to rethink the categorization of the App Store. I usually search for my music apps by category/release date and found it very frustrating to see the 21 pages of iLike apps. Please Apple make a change!

  • Yes there needs to be either a subcatagory for fan/band apps or one for music creation apps.

    But the interesting thing is that the band apps generally don't end up in the music app charts because they are each a very, very small niche market.

    Clearly the App Store is bursting at the seams.

  • Michael Coelho

    I think this is a fantastic idea. Making intelligent categories will make it much easier to find the apps which are relevant to your interest. I'm shopping for a synth app right now and find it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. I think the addition of filters to the iTunes store interface would make the experience much more striaght forward and rewarding.

  • This is a long time complaint from me and the other iPhone App developers. There's no distinguishing between promotional iPhone materials, like those from iLike, radio streamers (like my WFMU Radio), instruments (like my other stuff) or educational musical material. You can go to third party sites and search there with some more precision. For instance, you can search for "best rated music instrument".

    Also, the App Store recently put in a keywords feature which might be exposed in the next version of the OS and iTunes. So they might be doing it at some point.

  • Count me in. Those ilike apps are on the verge of becoming spam as far as I'm concerned.

    We definitely need a music creation/utility section. Just like how games is broken up. Then again, I bet they are working on this right now.

  • Keywords sound like an intelligent feature. Of course, you really need *both* keywords and better categorization.

    I should hasten to add that this can be a problem with app stores in general. The Android Store suffers from some of the same issues. But, then, that's a disadvantage of having a single store – no one can very easily step up with alternatives. I think Apple can make a better argument for the quality of their store if they continue to iterate and make it better.

  • Yeah, I was actually just thinking about this today. Having music creation apps competing against radio tuners like Pandora seems strange, and makes it hard for users to find what they are looking for. Those categories look very good!

  • I would add instrument emulation sub-category in the Music Creation category. There are plenty of piano, drum and guitar apps that emulate their real world counterparts.

    I wouldn't include any instruments that allow you to alter or shape the sound in any way since this starts to fall into the synth category.

  • yes when i search for music apps most are not music apps ๐Ÿ™

    the music apps should have atleast a synth and drum sub catagory

    – i just how the new itablet will let you scale your apps to fill the larger screen :)joy

    and i hope apple will let other platforms run these apps – my dell axim x51v is 624mhz and 720mhz when overclocked it has some great music apps — i would love to buy apps for it from apple

  • UTM

    I agree that there should be better differentiation between apps for making music and apps for being entertained by music. Amidio is a developer who blogged about this recently. Heck, the App Store still doesn't even have a category for art or design tools (thought it does have Photography). Of course, the future will likely bring us apps that completely blur the line between any sub categories we care to create…

  • CharlieH

    Just adding my voice to the masses … just want to be able to sift through the many great music creation tools without having to touch the even larges numbers of artist/band/radio/lyrics apps.

  • gary

    Yes, I agree. I find it much easier to find my apps by links on other websites than by browsing or searching through the app store.

    It could use categories for: mini DAWs, guitar tuners, guitar chord apps, synths, drum machines, dj apps, audio editors, etc.

    I have literally wasted hours trying to find a good DJ/Mixer app and still can't find one. (there are a lot of useless ones)

    I would spend a lot more money at the app store if I could find what I am looking for quickly.

  • aaron m

    I think it could be done rather simply.

    Make a "Create" category, then have different categories for the different subsections;








    They could also pimp-sell such a 'Create' category and market it quite fantastically. Not only can you use your Iphone/Touch, but you can Create.

  • Yonyoh

    Yes, please change! and another thing is that I would like to do this on my own phone… Create categories for all the apps we buy, sort them in proper order with folders. My phone is a mess right now!

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music ยป Does Music Creation Needs Its Own iPhone … | Wildtonemusic()

  • Jonathan

    Definitely a great idea. As a producer, it's becoming increasingly frustrating to dig through 100+ pages of applications to find the music utilities that I'm looking for.

    Apple should incorporate some kind of tagging/keyword architecture in the app store to make it easier for their customers to find what they're really after. Or, at the very least, add a "Multimedia" section for all of the audio/video/graphic utilities that are available on that platform.

    If this goes to a petition, I'd definitely sign it.



    I am also trying to find a usable DJ/Scratch app.

    But eithers is a awful GUI (Virtual DJ Deck) or is content locked (Touch Mix)

    The onyl thing came so far near to what I am lokking for is LP Player, which is -ironically- just a mp3 player.

    At least you scratch with it but no BPM detection or Pitch Control.

    Another workaround solution for now to the Music App Problem are SnipersApps like Pandora Box or App Miner etc.

    With the "New App" and "Sales" Funktion I have managed to filter out the most decent Music Apps from the AppStore and got them for cheap, in the train of it.


    There a 1000 ways to categorize that stuff, but I´d like to see a cut between 'sample content locked' music creation like iDrum, IKM, Beatboxes (becaus this stuff is really flooding the Music App section) and 'user custom content' for SunVox, Beatmaker, Jasuto, Curtis etc., in the Future.

    And one for Recorders and one for all that nerdy guitar stuff.

    Amongst the already mentions Categories.

  • Too many categorys! ie "was that app I was looking for under 'minidaws' or 'synths'? Was it under 'Music Creation' or 'Music Utilitys'?"

    I say keep it simple. "Music" for ilikes artist stuff and internet radio tuners, "Music Tools" for the rest.

  • addendum: This isn't really a problem for me, since I rarely add new tools into my collection, least of all iphone apps. Not to shit on them since I'm sure there are tons of amazing tools out there, I just like to work with the stuff I've got already rather than looking for new stuff all the time. Just some perspective on my opinion.

  • dyscode

    I´d like to emphasize the my "There a 1000 ways to categorize that stuff" was meant in the way

    Birds Use Stars elaborated it, that is.

    I like iPhones gaming too, and wished for a cat. for shoot em up, puzzler FPS, etc. But then…

    I think than rather taking the work to Apple again and screw up an essentially working system, it´s the Authors who need to learn to describe their apps within under 10 keywords- and other keywords other then "best", "first", "innovativ" "addictive" or other self praise in general.

  • jimmie

    Mail this to Techcrunch and hopefully they'll write another app store article which might reach Phill Schiller or new PR div somehow.

  • I think the whole App store needs to be revamped. There are thousands of apps in the store, and you can only easily view the top 10 or latest 10 for each category? You can't even sort by ratings. They should have a tagging system (possibly user submitted) like wordpress, slashdot or apple loops.

  • Ezmyrelda

    Yes, Absolutely.

  • Chad

    What is the app shown in the picture?

    – c

  • Chad

    Never mind, answered my own question.

    – c

  • +1

  • vjfranzk

    Yes, very agreed.

    Does anyone have an ALTERNATE list / database of the names of these ACTUAL music creation apps, so we can search for them?

  • iamseamonster

    absolutely one of my biggest gripes with the app store! so many radio station and band apps, and i may be making things up but i think music games show up in the music section too? its very hard to find new music creation apps with all the other crap stuffing up the app store. Also, how many fart and burp and animal sound pianos do we need? Music apps should be categorized just as games are, separate sections for radio apps, novelty (farts, burps, etc), bands/labels/etc, and music creation apps. There are a lot of things wrong with the app store, especially the in-iphone version, that by this point really should have been addressed and fixed.

  • iamseamonster

    actually, aaron m's suggestion is a lot better! Having a create category with music, photo, video, drawing etc sections would be fantastic. Would be best, again, to have a novelty section in each one for those 'joke apps' that no one interested in creating music, photos, art, whatever would ever actually use.