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How far off are we from carrying a recording studio and full set of instruments everywhere we go – in our pockets?

First, we were impressed with being able to take a digital album anywhere; now, we can carry all the music we’d ever care about on an iPod or any other music player (or all the music in the world if you’ve got a Rhapsody subscription and an internet connection). Now, it seems we’re starting to take the next step towards portability of everything music related with the proliferation of a ton of innovative mobile applications for iPhones and Android devices that give you everything you need – everywhere.

For $10, you can download FourTrack, which lets you record CD quality audio on your iPhone. Earlier this year, The 88 released a single using FourTrack that was of surprisingly good quality – and it’s only going to get better. Smule’s Ocarina app lets you turn the iPhone into a beautiful instrument simply by blowing into the phone. At San Fran Music Tech Summit in May, Ge Wang, the Co-Founder of Smule, gave an amazing demonstration of Ocarina that had to be seen to be believed. Smule also released “I Am T-Pain” last month, a portable Auto-Tune app which lets anyone record songs in a voice like T-Pain. It was purchased over 300,000 times (currently at $2.99) in the first three weeks, and it ranks as the #4 overall app – and #10 in gross revenue. Users have recorded millions of tracks with it.

And it’s not just recording. You can get half a million guitar chords with GuitarToolkit. Need the lyrics? Download the LyricFind app (free or paid) and get the lyrics to over a million tracks on your phone, all licensed and quality controlled.  Looking for different instruments? The top music apps are filled with options, such as PocketGuitar, Drum Kit, FingerPiano, and Pocket Trumpet. There are even three different didgeridoo apps for the iPhone!

As sound quality increases and apps become more and more advanced, how far off are we from creating an iPhone orchestra? Am I the only one that thinks it would be awesome to see John Williams conducting a stage full of people blowing into, shaking and tapping on their phones?

Digital technology has eliminated the barriers to distribution, it’s now empowering the masses to fully express themselves, opening up new avenues for music creation.


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