If there’s one thing American Idol and The Voice have taught us, it’s that singing talent is not a big deal. Apparently, just about anyone can sing very well provided they’ve got largely irrelevant vocalists picking their songs for them. And for those who can’t sing, there’s autotune. For those of us without any of that, there’s Jam for iPhone…provided you’ve at least got a Facebook account.
What is it?
Jam for iPhone is a “songwriting” app for the social media age. You select the style of music you want, then just sing into the phone. Whether your original lyrics or a song we already know, Jam generates a music track based on your singing, then makes it available for all the world to hear. Finally, that song my daughter wrote about a blimp explosion can become the hit it as always bound to be.
How does it work?
As described above, the whole process is quite easy. Launch the app, connect with Facebook, head to…wait; connect with Facebook? Well, you don’t have to, but you lose the majority of the app’s functionality if you don’t. I’ll rant about that throughout this article.
In the meantime, launch the app, skip connecting the Facebook, then head into the studio by tapping the record button. You then pick your style. Pop Rock is offered free, and you can purchase other styles individually or in packs. But even though you have to pay for the new styles, you still have to connect with Facebook in order to make the purchase.
So, skip that, you’re stuck with just Pop Rock. With that, you can adjust the level of autotune required (the app doesn’t set this automatically based on your singing skills, but after a few tries you’ll pretty know where it needs to be) and the beats per minute (the tempo of the song). Hit record, and hold the phone to your ear like you’re making a call. A metronome lays out the beat, and you lay out the track.
When you’re done singing, the app generates the music behind it, and you’ve now got your song that you can share with the Jam universe…provide you have a Facebook account.
Is it contagious?
You know who would find this app contagious? My daughter. Know what she doesn’t have? A Facebook account. Tying the core functionality into Facebook is invasive and unforgivable. It’s a deal killer, which is unfortunate because Jam for iPhone is otherwise quite fun and is built on some pretty impressive technology (provided you’re able to follow a beat…the app can’t compensate if you can’t stay on 2 and 4).
Without Facebook, you can still listen to other users’ recordings, but you’re not allowed to vote for them, and honestly, how many versions of “Call Me Maybe” does one person want to hear in a day? And isn’t that what YouTube is for, anyway?
Or am I thinking of American Idol? I get the two confused. Which one has “Son of a Preacher Man” and which one has the sneezing panda bears?