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I’m not a big fan of the Music app for the iPhone. The user interface feels too linear and lacking in features. But where Apple may come up short in its mobile music player, there are plenty of third-party developers who have produced some creative alternatives for browsing album covers and playing track selections.
We all know how easy it is to do Google searches and get bios, lyrics, photos, videos, interviews and much more about our favorite music artists. But for us iPhone users, there’s a cool little app called iAlbums that pulls together all in one place pertinent information about a selected artist, song, and album.
iAlbums scans your music library and creates a showcase of your album covers. This display arguably provides a better browsing experience than the native Music app. Also, any missing album covers in your library are automatically downloaded and added.
When you tap to play a song, iAlbums searches information from over twenty different sources across the web, and presents a collection of stories, bios, quotes, reviews, etc. related to the current selection.
The iAlbums feature that grabbed my attention the most is its ability to download lyrics for selected songs (just tap on the quill pen icon at the bottom menu bar). This one little feature saves you the trouble of manually searching titles and locating the lyrics yourself. Admittedly, iAlbums was unable to find lyrics for a few of my songs, but if it works even half the time I’m satisfied.
Tactile Music Controller ($1.99)
While the native Music app of the iPhone includes Cover Flow for browsing albums, you have to turn your iPhone to landscape position in order to access this feature. And if you use the orientation lock, it requires another tab in order to access Cover Flow. But if you like browsing your albums to locate music, you might find an app called Tactile Music Controller, a fun alternative way to pick around and select an album to play.
In this app, your album covers get randomly spread out over a “wooden table” on which you flick them around and double-tap one to play. With another tap you can flip a cover over and get the track listings, and also play selections from within the app.
The only annoying part of Tactile Music Controller is that you have to manually add albums to the player. It does not scan your entire library and do the job for you.
Music Stats (free)
If you’re a true iTunes music lover, you probably get a geeky kick out of bragging about how many songs you have in your collection; how many times you’ve played a favorite artist, and what are your all-time top 25 hits are. Well, for us music aficionados, an app called Music Stats does exactly what its title says it does.
Music Stats scans your iPhone music library and gives you stats on the total play count, total skip count, and the total number songs, albums, artists, genres, and much more.
The app reports your most listened to song, as well your least listened to selections. Your stats can be emailed and pasted to your Facebook account. While the app doesn’t create Smart Playlists based on your listening habits, it’s still a handy little app to have in your music app folder.
Musiconizer is another alternative way to access your music and quickly get at your favorite albums in your music library. It also creates a display of your album covers for browsing and in-app music playing, but it’s unique in that it enables you to turn any album into an app that you can tap and play from your iPhone home screen.
All you have to do is select an album and tap the Install Webclip button. From there it will take you through the steps of saving the webclip link to the homepage of your iPhone. You will probably want to create and save several of your most favorite albums and put them into a folder for quick access.
If you’re looking for other iPhone apps, check out these articles:
Let us know what you what you think of these and similar apps.