5 Musicians’ apps worth downloading

Blur – The Blur App (free) - After more than two decades together, Blur have a lot of lot of history behind them. Now you can hold the bulk of it in the palm of your hand. For free. Modern life’s not so rubbish after all, is it? The app promises interviews, demos, remixes and archive performances. itun.es/i6JV8c9

Björk – Biophilia (£8.99) - The mother of all band apps, this is one of music’s most innovative artists using the most innovative technology in the most innovative way. Suffice to say, there’s a hefty price tag (for an app), but it’s worth it – as much for a sign of what’s to come as for the app itself. itun.es/i6JV8w2

The Rolling Stones – The Rolling Stones Official App (free) - Given the iconic band have been around five times as long as the first ever iPod, their adoption of new technology is as impressive and surprising as their longevity. The app offers video content and the chance to vote songs into the band’s set lists. itun.es/i6JV9Qs

Nine Inch Nails – nin: access (free) - Trent Reznor and co’s official app gives fans a community through which they can interact with each other, as well as gain access to music, videos and image – hence the app’s name, presumably – and keep up with news and blogs from the band. itun.es/i6Jk5J3

T-Pain – I Am T-Pain (£1.99) - The American rapper’s music might not be to everyone’s taste, but his app – which lets fans sing along to his songs and have their voices Auto-Tuned – is the epitome of interaction. itun.es/i6Jk5JS

The iTunes hold-outs

Better late...

Not every musician has eagerly embraced Apple’s new digital music ecosystem. Here are some notable long-term refuseniks.

The Beatles: joined iTunes in November 2010

Despite Steve Jobs’ well-known admiration, the biggest band of the 20th century could not be found on iTunes until 2010. Shortly after Apple’s inception, the similarly named Apple Corps (the Beatles’ own business venture) sued it for trademark infringement. The firms settled a few years later, with Apple agreeing to stay out of the music business, but when Apple launched a Mac that could synthesise music (in 1989), Apple Corps sued once again.

“We love the Beatles and are honoured to welcome them to iTunes,” a relieved Jobs said when the mess was finally cleared up.

AC/DC: November 2012

For many people, the Beatles’ arrival in iTunes sealed the deal – the iTunes Store was the place to find all the digital music you desired. “Not so,” said others. “For iTunes to rock, it must have AC/DC.” They had to wait another two years.

Like Metallica before them, AC/DC firmly believe their music should be consumed in album form rather than as scattered singles.

Def Leppard: intermittent, limited availability

Surprisingly tech-savvy for a bunch of rock dinosaurs, Def Leppard came up with a unique response when a record label dispute saw their music disappear from iTunes. Last summer, the band took matters into their own hands and re-recorded covers of their own hits – they referred to them as “forgeries” – in an attempt to score some digital revenue. The current range of Leppard material on iTunes remains distinctly limited.

...than never

At press time the following bands are still not available on iTunes. 

Tool

Maynard James Keenan and his confrontational art-metal collective are yet another group that don’t wish to have their music splintered into mixtape-ready pieces. Though you can purchase the band’s CDs just about anywhere you like, digital downloads are off limits.

Garth Brooks

The 1990s country star feels much the same way about digital downloads as he does about fancy-pants city folk.

King Crimson

A seminal progressive rock band of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, King Crimson aren’t very progressive about digital downloads.

Miscellaneous holes

No, that’s not the name of a new indie band. Instead, we’re referring to the numerous gaps in popular artists’ digitally available back catalogues. 

Aside from albums that have simply gone out of print, many are available on CD but not in downloadable form. Captain Beefheart’s astonishing Trout Mask Replica can’t be found. As for Bob Welch-era Fleetwood Mac, sorry: the Stevie Nicks line-up is well represented, but not the early stuff. And well-loved material from near the start of the Kinks’ career is not to be had on iTunes.