Better Business Through Computer Technology – Part 2: The Best of Apps
The last issue of Mobile Beat (May, #149) featured my rundown of some great web-based tools you might want to check out for your DJ business. This article focuses on mobile apps for your DJ business. Every app in this article was available for iOS and many were also available for Android. More and more apps are being provided in versions for both mobile platforms, so if you are on the fence about what platform to choose for your next phone or tablet, either iOS or Android should allow you to utilize many of the following apps.
Founded by Jack Dorsey, who also created Twitter, Square launched in 2010 to accept payments on mobile devices. I started using Square not long after it was launched simply because I was familiar with Dorsey and trusted a company he was behind to handle my payments. I liked that I could swipe a client’s card in person for a flat rate of 2.75% without any other fees. Square recently did a deal to handle transactions for Starbucks and is continuing to grow in popularity in the small business market. Platforms: iOS, Android. Cost: 2.75% per transaction when swiped or 3.5% + $.15 for manually-entered transactions.
A great tool for sharing files among multiple computers/devices, Dropbox is also very helpful for sharing files with clients. For instance, I have had clients send me their slideshow pictures via Dropbox. I also use Dropbox to sync all my devices with the special songs and requests for my weddings. It syncs with my iPad as well as my Android phone. The only drawback with the iPad app is the files will only play if you are connected to the internet, or have “favorited” the file while connected to the internet. I also use Dropbox to give me quick access to files on my phone, such as a cheat sheet for the most common color codes I use for uplighting and music charts. Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry. Cost: Free for 2GB, but you can get up to 18GB free through referrals and other bonus offers. Paid plans start at $9.99 a month (or $99 a year) for 100GB.
If you’re like me and put music for your events into Dropbox, Boxytunes is a nice app that can play any music in your Dropbox account. I have used Boxytunes a few times to play cocktail music from my iPad and it’s nice to know I can use it in a pinch if I need to use my iPad for backup at an event. The interface is very simple and easy to use. Platform: iOS. Price: $1.99
If you have post-it notes all over your office, or a lot of little scraps of paper with important information on them, Evernote is for you. The concept is pretty simple—create a note and access it anytime, anywhere from any device. I use Evernote to save important information I need to access on a regular basis: to-do lists, ideas, or anything else I may want to access from my phone or computer. I pretty much use it just for notes, but it can also store web pages, pictures and document attachments. The premise behind Evernote is to “remember everything” and it really does help you do that. Platforms: iOS, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile. Cost: Free for most features. Premium service is available for $5 a month (or $45 a year) which is faster and includes more convenience features.
Video Loop Presenter
This is a great app for running slideshows from your iPad. You can import your slideshow into the app and it will run it on a loop until you stop it. All you need is a Lightning or 30-pin-to-HDMI adapter. Then you just run the HDMI to your projector or TV and you’re good to go. There are even options in the app to choose how you’d like to scale the video. Platform: iOS. Cost: Free, but you need to either import the slideshow via the iPad’s camera roll (with a compatible file) or through Box.com. If you chose Box.com, you will need to pay to import the file ($.99).
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention one or two apps for actually DJing, since DJing IS your business. First up is djay from Algoriddim. This app was originally released for the iPad in December of 2010. Since that time it has gained a reputation as the top app for iPad DJing. An interesting feature of djay comes through using a DJ cable made by Griffin. When used with the djay app, this splitter cable allows the DJ to play and cue music at the same time. It’s nearly impossible to DJ without being able to cue, so this is a nice feature. Platform: iOS. Cost: Regular price is $19.99, but has been put on sale for $4.99 in the past.
No stranger to the DJ software scene, Native Instruments released their iPad app in February 2013. The app received rave reviews right out of the gate and it seems like it is giving djay some competition in the iOS market. One such indication might be the fact that djay was on sale for 75% off when I was writing this, which was just a couple months after Traktor DJ was launched. The interface is very different from djay, as it uses two large waveforms instead of virtual turntables. Several features allow you to manipulate the waveforms, such as creating cue points. Traktor DJ will even suggest songs in your iTunes library that are of similar tempo or key to what you are currently playing. Platform: iOS. Cost: $19.99.
This app is actually targeted at brides and grooms, but it’s a very useful app for DJs too. Fun Wedding utilizes the top request charts from DJ Intelligence, and allows you to quickly see the most-requested songs based on decade or type of wedding song (i.e. father-daughter dance, garter removal, etc.). The app will prompt you to update your lists every so often so they are current. Platform: iOS. Cost: Regular price is $1.99.
Filed Under: Business, Issue #150
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